HAMILTON,ON–McMaster’s Burridge gymnasium hosted Hamilton-Wentworth’s D1 Junior and Senior level city championships where the Sir Allan MacNab Lions came out victorious at both age groups in a convincing fashion.
MacNab is a program that will continue to rise in the coming years as a result of the commitment to develop by players and coaches. I have had the opportunity to watch this group play year round, witnessing the stages and growth in their game.
The Junior MacNab Lions blew out their opponents, the Westdale Warriors by a final of 70-40. This win would give the team a 36-2 record. Their last two games will be played at SOSSA on February 19. MacNab didn’t allow any easy possessions for the Warriors, defending full court in a 1-3-1 formation and falling back into a fluid 2-3 in half court.
“We rebound well out of the 2-3, we’re very active, we’re not on there to rest; it’s about creating challenges. It gets our guys in position to rebound properly and break out from there,” explained Head Coach Tim Francis.
Off the outlet it was Sam “Snipe Show” Jenkins’ who started the roar, all part of a productive night. The game started with a barrage of threes by Jenkins and from there, one could tell that the demeanour of the Westdale Warriors team had changed. Jenkins finished the half with 15 points and then the game with a high of 22 points.
There were scoring flashes from Westdale’s Steven Levnaic and Liam Hindle who combined for 19 in the game but MacNab was steam rolling by then.
With Jenkins and Rueadale Williams heating up and the rest starting to spark, this called for operation dominate to take place.
A major factor on this young MacNab team was and has been all season, Khaleem Bennett. His rebounding numbers are growing and creating a lot more offense after the pact that he made with the coaching staff which he agreed would make his overall game better.
“He’s more of a complete player when he’s working the offensive glass and it’s showing in his production and energy levels that the rest of the team feeds off.”
The bright spot for the Westdale Warriors Levnaic, found his way to the rim and took advantage of the bonus situation in the first half.
Tenth grade sharpshooter, Sam Jenkins is quickly earning a reputation as possibly the deadliest sniper in the country. Rarely do we see his shots rattle, instead; cfff, cfff, cfff that nothing but net sound.
Things went very much the same for the Senior MacNab team as they took on the young, inexperienced Saltfleet Storm. The older Lions were able to exploit the inexperience by controlling the tempo and keeping pressure on defense. Every bucket that Saltfleet made in this game was truly earned.
There were two big matchup issues for Saltfleet that were Nolan Norain and Sheldon McIntosh. No Saltfleet defenders could manage to stay in front of McIntosh as he beat them off the dribble and went coast to coast on a few possessions.
MacNab Head Coach Dwayne Washington gave praise to his star guard McIntosh, who has had a tremendous season as a leader on this team as explained above.
“Sheldon mentally wants to be the best, but he doesn’t feel like he needs to let you know it. Every drill, every session, every practice, his arms are out and his eyes are open and he’s communicating. He’s an extension of me on the floor so he and a guy like Matt Trpcic make my job easier.”
In the post, Nolan Norain used his signature spin with the baby hook that was throwing defenders off balance and forcing them to foul.
MacNab would go on to win it 57-41 after gaining complete control of the second half.
This Saltfleet team should be near the top of the Eastern Conference of Hamilton-Wentworth next year as well. Their guards Woods Brown and Nikola Djogo will need to immerge into leaders in order to have a shot at taking their team all the way.
We, at @NorthPoleHoops have been saying it all season and it was echoed by Coach Washington in post-game as he looked ahead to next week’s practices as the Lions prepare for OFSAA.
“Any team can beat any team and most games at OFSAA are going to come down to the last three minutes. I feel like there’s 12 teams that can win it and we’re one of those 12 teams.”
The direction of the talent level in the city of Hamilton and the surrounding area was evident in last night’s games. At many points of the game all 10 guys on the court would be considered serviceable next level players whether in the CIS or NCAA.
Hang tight as we jump from gym to gym next week to bring you the next qualifiers for 2014 OFSAA.
#NPHShowcase Coming to Hamilton
Hamilton prospects - Stay tuned, the #NPHShowcase is coming to the city this summer!