Oakwood Barons Surpass Runnymede, Make it 7 Titles at Court Heinbuch
The usual suspects.
Toronto’s Oakwood Barons made the trip to Kitchener for the 32nd Court Heinbuch Classic, to claim their seventh tournament championship in eight years, overtaking Runnymede’s six.
Tri-City Curse Still in Tact
In the process, “the tri-city curse” remains in tact, as no team from the Kitchener-Waterloo region has won the Court Heinbuch Classic in its 32-year existence.
This year, it was Sir John A. MacDonald (SJAM) who was looked upon to break through, featuring the trio of highly recruited Nedim Hodzic, Simon Petrov and Justin Hardy.
SJAM gave everything Oakwood could handle in the semi-finals, as the Barons squeezed through on an overtime buzzer beater by Alexander Comanita.
Nedim Hodzic – Real Deal
After catching up with Oakwood’s Head Coach Anthony Miller, it was obvious that Nedim Hodzic left his imprint.
“He’s the real deal,” said Miller. “Teams that go up against SJAM are going to have a long night.”
Hodzic registered a game-high 35 points–the best individual performance against Oakwood since Kevin Pangos, according to Miller.
MacNab Showing Promise
In the finals, it was the young MacNab Lions that got a shot against Oakwood.
MacNab features a plethora of next level talent including lead guard Isaiah Bujdoso, who balanced the floor, and created opportunities for his teammates, finishing with eight points and a handful of assists.
First-team tournament all-star Sam Jenkins finished with 14 points and displayed an expanded game. Fellow tournament all-star Kevaughan Ellis added eight points.
6’7 Matt Grace was a pleasant surprise–10 points, including a couple threes. Last but not least, young Tre Edwards (2019) is getting his taste of senior basketball this season and looked very comfortable.
MacNab had an impressive tournament, drawing praise from coaches and observers alike, however came up short against a more experienced and physical team, after controlling the first half of the championship game.
Oakwood Finishes Strong
The second half belonged to the Toronto contingent.
“We had poor body language to start the game, and at halftime it was preaching Oakwood basketball, we defend the basketball, that’s no secret,” Miller told NPH.
Defense, second chance opportunities and ball movement got it done.
As a team, Oakwood did a tremendous job in the second half of finding the cracks, moving off the ball, while circulating the rock for easy buckets.
Kadre Gray continued to produce at a high level, putting in a game-high 19 points and picking up MVP honours.
Dequan Cascart added 14 points, and scored crucial buckets down the stretch.
Matey Juric set the table for Oakwood, distributing the basketball, drawing double teams and putting teammates in scoring position. He also put in 12 points–all of which came in the second half.
Coach Miller spoke about the growth opportunity that the Court Heinbuch tournament provides for his team each year.
“We love coming up here to the Heinbuch, it allows us to see different styles of play,” said Miller.
“It shows that there are good teams outside of Toronto as well.”
Special thanks to Bill Hadley, Craig Nickel, Mike Mack and the entire tournament committee on a first-class event.