Nelson Kaputo MVP Status, St. Mike’s Takes FHC Early Bird Championship

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St. Michael’s vs Thornlea. Nelson Kaputo vs Jaaden Lewis.

St. Mike’s takes the first tournament of the year and Nelson “Nelly” Kaputo walks away earning MVP after a 62-50 win for the SMC Blue Raiders.

St. Michael's - Father Henry Carr Early Bird Champions

St. Michael’s – Father Henry Carr Early Bird Champions | Courtesy: @RonnieMexx

Kaputo finished the game with 21 points and five assists, while keeping the crowd fired up with an onslaught of three balls.

He came out with a stellar first half performance shooting 3/4 from beyond the arc. Nelly had a remarkable sense of composure last night and was in the zone the entire game.

Nelson Kaputo

Nelson Kaputo

There’s a fury that’s been raging inside of him since St. Mike’s was eliminated earlier than expected in last year’s provincial championships.

“This is the start of the process towards reaching that championship game at OFSAA finals. We just got to take it step by step and stay composed.”

He comes across as very authentic in the way he approaches the game.

“I don’t have to score 30, I could score two and still be happy as long as we keep coming up with wins. I’m looked at as a leader on this team and I’m in a position to mentor for the guys after me.”

Answering back on the other end was 2016 combo guard Jaaden Lewis, who’s stock is rising after showing an expanded skill set and added strength in a very productive weekend at the Early  Bird.

Jaaden Lewis from mid-range

Jaaden Lewis from mid-range

Every opponent fell for his patented pump fake, pivot into a turnaround jumper.

And it would go back and forth for the majority of the game with flashes from other key pieces for both teams.

It wasn’t until a timeout was called in the second half by Thornlea that Lewis was assigned to Kaputo.

Even after Lewis neutralized Kaputo to the best of his ability, scoring came from elsewhere for the Blue Raiders.

Sophomore, Marcus Carr hit some big shots to get St. Mike’s lead up by as much as 15. Carr showed that he could be a reliable perimeter threat and poured in 19 points.

In the second half, Coach Shane James of Thornlea tried multiple match-ups on Kaputo which slowed him down from scoring, so instead he set his teammates up for high percentage situations.

That’s really all it came down to, shot selection. St. Michael’s spreads the floor well to allow for their guards to penetrate and suck in the defence before a kick out.

The half court set for Thornlea was successful because of their patience on offense.

If Thornlea can learn to control tempos and make better decisions in transition they are a real problem for any team.

It all starts with Kimberl Saint-Felix who often relies on his jets to get him out of a jam.

Role players like Niroshan Surendran were excellent on the glass,, deterring St. Mike’s from having second chance opportunities.

Overall, Thornlea was well put together and performed at a high level on the big stage, but when a team misses 14 free throws it makes it tough to win games.

These two teams, along with Vaughan were the most prepared coming into this tournament. If they can continue building from here, they would fit between the 1-5 spots in NPH National High School rankings.

At the top of the mountain, at the start of the season are the St. Michael’ s Blue Raiders– Father Henry Carr Early Bird Champs.

Something tells me we’ll be seeing more MVP performances from Kaputo in the near future.

For now St. Mike’s prepares for their trip to Texas next weekend.

The action continues with the high school season under way and tournament play almost every weekend.

Next up…Humber Classic.

Stay tuned on @NorthPoleHoops for the latest in Canadian Basketball from high school to the PROS!

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