TORONTO, ON–There was no shortage of excitement at the 35th Annual George Brown Huskies Invitational which featured CCAA defending champions, the Mohawk Mountaineers, George Brown Huskies, Fanshawe Falcons, Georgian Grizzlies, Durham Lords, Dawson Blues, St. Lawrence Vikings, and lastly the youngest team in the tournament which is made up of high school prospects, REDA. The first and third games of the night both went into overtime as the Falcons refused to go down in game one, battling back from a 19 point deficit, and REDA’s misery was ended by a buzzer beating baseline three point shot from Ted Johnson of the Huskies.
No one had expected that a team that is 1-9 in the OCAA (Georgian) would put up such a strong fight and actually control the lead for most of the game against a 9-1 Fanshawe. For a majority of the game, the Griz dominated the boards by doing a good job finding bodies and boxing out on shot attempts by Fanshawe.
From an offensive standpoint Brandon Seales (22) and Jevon Francis (13) contributed in major ways, while producing from above the rim and connecting from outside. As a unit, the Grizzlies played a solid first three quarters until they were shut down in the fourth when Coach Tony Marcotullio called a 1-2-2 press, causing many turnovers for the Grizzlies and converted into points for the Falcons. Fanshawe allowed only 13 points to be scored on them between the fourth quarter and overtime, but the Falcons however came back big pouring in 40 points.
Bryan McDonald (23), Troy Barnes (21) and Chavaun Miller-Bennett (18) were key pieces in this win due to their efficient shooting and shot selection; they combined for 25 of 48 from the field. McDonald also had 14 rebounds to go with his 23 points.
Georgian let the game slip away and Fanshawe came out with a 90-81 win in OT.
Mohawk’s play in the second half had them looking like defending champs. St. Lawrence held their own throughout the first half, keeping the game tight and going into halftime only down one, 28-27.
The third quarter was Xzennis Brereton’s official coming out party and his best game yet; as described by Mountaineers Head Coach, Brian Jonker.
“We need him to be aggressive at all times. He’s too athletic and skilled not to be helping us out in more than one category.”
Just as he did last year in high school at St. Thomas More (Hamilton, ON), Brereton is being called on to play at the shooting guard and small forward positions. His length and athleticism and length enable him to guard up two three positions from PG’s to SF’s.
Overall the Mountaineers have a well balanced squad and every positioned filled, plus replacements if necessary on the bench. The speed and ball handling of Manny Campbell and Richard Kyungu are great elements that allow for Mohawk to go on scoring surges in transition. In fact, this may be a style of play that is under utilized or maybe overlooked.
Big man for the Mountaineers, 6’9 Taylor Dowhaniuk put in 15 points and 11 rebounds on 6/9. Considering their second hand fluidity and speed carries on to tomorrow, they should come out as tournament champions.
REDA came out aggressive against the home team Huskies, playing like they had something to prove among their older opponents. This would not be a game where they would get bullied since they had the size of Abednego Lufile and Connor Gilmore to battle in the paint. REDA maintained a six point lead throughout the beginning of the first half, but went into halftime down six, 37-31.
Huskies’ G/SF, Sal Abdoulkader went on a rampage in this game and attacked the hoop at will and finished with some jams and a few tough attempts maneuvering around the defense. He went off for 32 points, nine rebounds, two assists, three blocked shots and 6 steals.
What impressed the most about Abdoulkader is that he has a very high motor, playing 45 minutes and showing no signs of fatigue. In addition, he played hard on both ends of the floor and lead by example.
The fourth quarter motors for REDA were Myles Charvis who pushed the ball in transition and found his guys running their lanes; as well as Lufile who had got to the line seven times in the final frame and finished with 31 points and 16 rebounds.
It came down to one shot in the final seconds; three, two, one…Ted Johnson catches and nails a three from the corner to give the Huskies the win, 89-88 and put them into the semi-finals of this single elimination style tournament.
After the loss, a few REDA players had no control over their emotions and showed no sense of composure, kicking and throwing chairs against the wall. The reason I am mentioning this is because these are the kind of acts that would cost a prospect their scholarship if a scout or recruiter is watching. It’s extremely important that every player has their emotions in check regardless of circumstances.
The final game of the night was between Dawson and Durham however I was unable to stay for this late game however will have results for you via Twitter tomorrow. Follow me at @Elias_NPH.