I arrived to Winnipeg for semi-final action where I was treated to two high level games at the 17U level–British Columbia VS Nova Scotia and Manitoba VS Ontario.

A developing trend I’m noticing over the years is Nova Scotia contending for medals on a yearly basis, and particularly for GOLD.

The defending champions at the 17U level are back in contention to repeat, but will have to go through Ontario (again). At the 15U level, they took care of a LOADED Team O roster, that featured Addison Patterson, Luka Sahota, Josh Hemmings, Matthew Moncreiffe to name a few.

It will be the first time EVER that the 15U Ontario team is not in the finals, as they have won gold every year with an exception of one in 2007–this will be the second time.

This 15U victory is the most notable of the tournament thus far, considering the amount of talent on Ontario…which leads me to believe there is some big time talent on Nova Scotia as well.

Caleb Johnson, younger brother of St Bonaventure alum Chris Johnson is on Scotia as well as Kellen Tynes, sibling of Chase on the 17U Scotia team which you will read about shortly.

The talent does not stop there either. I will be learning more about this team today in the finals.


Nova Scotia 17U Finds Redemption

British Columbia took game one early in the tournament, however Scotia came prepared in game two when it mattered most. Scotia simply outworked BC, best illustrated by countless second, third and fourth chance opportunities on the offensive glass.

Nova Scotia’s top performers were Alex Muise, Ben Stevens, Eli Kraushar, and Chase Tynes. Muise was fantastic, efficiently registering a game-high 29 points–composed, tough, skilled and confident, Muise can’t be rattled and as one of the leaders of this team, he impacts the rest of his troops with approach.

Eli Kraushar is similar to Muise in terms of composure; he set the tone early hitting seven straight point to start the game. A high I.Q player that was always a plus on the floor, and defended multiple positions, which included battling with 6’9 Grant Shepherd. 6’7 Ben Stevens, who was a BREAK OUT performer at the East Coast NPH Showcase in March, is a live body, with a good nose for the ball–he blocked shots, tipped in rebounds and provided a quality interior presence for Scotia. We can’t forget Chase Tynes, Scotia’s designate “athlete” as he attacks the rim at will and finished above the rim quite often. Tynes provides Scotia with another dimension to their attack–his play will be important against Ontario on both ends of the floor.

For British Columbia, Mason Bourcier and Grant Shephard are the heavy hitters, as a lot of action goes through them, and particularly with Bourcier making plays. The PG is a playmaker with high IQ, good athleticism and feel for the game–as he moves forward in his career, he will begin to understand how to utilize his abilities at a higher level and “bite into games” as he was clearly BC’s best playmaker. 

Sam Bailey and Jaden Touchie also stood out to me. Bailey came up big particularly late in the game, hitting big shots to keep it close. Touchie wasn’t a major offensive force, however I liked his non-stop motor and effort level–he was a spark plug for BC.

Nova Scotia was tested on multiple occasions, as British Columbia didn’t go down without a fight, yet the group never folded. The team has a championship pedigree as defending champs (four returners) along with a silent swagger. They are playing the best team ball from what I’ve seen thus far, and I’m not surprised that they are back in the gold medal game with a rematch of 2015 nationals.

The match up between Scotia and Ontario is going to be a war.

Rising Stars Shine Between Ontario & Manitoba

NCAA talent all over the field between Ontario and Manitoba, starting with Khaleem Bennett, Daniel Sackey and Emmanuel Akot.

This was a fast paced, high level game with a great home crowd at the University of Winnipeg. It went down to the wire, but MB couldn’t get over the hump that was Khaleem Bennett and Ontario, despite major efforts from Emmanuel Akot (32 points, 10 rebounds) Daniel Sackey (27 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists) and 21 points from Wyatt Tait.

I like to call Sackey “Roadrunner” attributed to his blinding speed. In addition, his confidence and big time shot making ability separate him from most in the country. Ultimate competitor with a chip on his should—he made huge shots late in the game to keep things very close. Akot showed why he is arguably the top prospect in the entire tournament, with his break down ability at 6’7, perimeter skill set and length on defense. As for Tait, he brought great energy and was able to be productive with and without the ball in his hands.

Bennett lead Ontario with 28 points, while the big fellas Owen Boisvert and Jaden Bediako added 20 and 14 points respectively.

Khaleem was cookin’ from deep and hit multiple back breakers that kept MB at bay. The 6’4 lefty adding a consistent jump shot takes his game to a whole new level, as he already thrives both in the land and in transition. Bennett’s confidence is at an ALL-TIME high and his stock is rising quickly.

Owen Boisvert is a silent assassin laced with skill, patience and footwork–an Ottawa product that continues to improve–expect him to be a factor against Nova Scotia.

The 17 finals will provide us with contrasting styles of play–Ontario will look to run up and down, (which Scotia can also do) however they will likely try and slow it down into half court basketball, aiming to pick apart Team O.

On the flipside, Ontario could utilize its length particularly on the defensive end, and for Scotia to speed it up—easier said than done as Scotia’s collective Team I.Q will player counter.

The entire Nova Scotia basketball program is rollin’ right now and they would make yet another major statement if they can pull this one off.

Nova Scotia the new Basketball Powerhouse in Canada?

Tariq Sbiet

Written by Tariq Sbiet

NPH National Scout, tracking Canada's TOP prospects from high school to the NBA. With a genuine passion for the game, you will find Sbiet in the bleachers of most major tournaments and events across Canada & the United States -- Discovering talent from coast-to-coast, while absorbing knowledge at every opportunity. Sbiet has covered the game at every level, combining a basketball and media background with a degree in Media & Journalism from the University of Guelph-Humber. *Inspiration is the spark plug to success*


8 thoughts on “Nova Scotia the new Basketball Powerhouse in Canada?

  1. Josh Hemmings broke his foot did not play .. Josh Morgan and a few other at Hoop Group.. Shemar Rathan-Mayes not in attendance left for Huntington , Cashius not in attendance, Jordan Persad playing at Jane & Finch Tourney .. U15 with Addi should have still won please mention the talent we could have had also to give the right perspective.

    1. Keith Gough says:

      If you lace them up and put on a uniform then that’s all that matters. Missing talent shouldn’t diminish the success of Team Nova Scotia. Most often the best of the best do not play in every tournament and I’m sure many teams can say that their rosters didn’t field all of their best players in the province. Saying that certain players from Team Ontario didn’t play and it factored into them losing to Nova Scotia is in essence putting an astrix beside their win. Nova Scotia has been competing for medals for a few years now so I’m pretty certain that this was no fluke no matter who did or didn’t play!!!

      1. GS-Shooter says:

        The Nats no offense is an almost meaningless tournament everyone but 10 provinces know this .. top talent unavailable and some teams sending underage kids .. check the roster ages and get a perspective.. then you can count scholarships of those who “won” and then get another perspective of what your watching .. maybe its better if Quebec and Ontario don’t attend until they can get a hold on convincing the top guys to play.

  2. b_dogg says:

    jane & Finch tourney bigger than Nats?

  3. Scotia_ Proud says:

    Scotia has been producing hard core ballers for decades….Halifax just doesn’t get the hype a Montreal or a T dot does and due to size you are more likely to hear about the Toronto/ Montreal players anyway!! Halifax has always been the basketball capitol of Canada and reason for that is that there are more purist of the game here.From being a former college player in the late 80’s early nineties I played against some of the best College and street ball players T dot,Montreal and Vancity have ever produces, Phil Dixon(arguably the best high schooler ever out of tdot), Roham Barret and Trevor Turbo Williams to name a few and even back then the PLAYERS knew that scotia produces crazy ballers every year. They will all tell you there are no guarantees in scotia!!!You have to work for your wins here!!!!As we all witnessed today!!!Double gold!!!!I will say this to GS SHOOTER. Dont make excuses for Ontario losing today. If Chase Tynes had not played or Millner we would have not cried if we lost.And for the record Hemmins dad and I played together when he played here in Scotia!

  4. big ball says:

    Here we come ready or not

  5. truth says:

    Hats off and congratulations to Nova Scotia players, coaches and province. Shame on Ontario 15’s coaches tolerating individual selfish play.

  6. Tri-City-Hoops says:

    Ontario needs new direction if they want to be serious about competing in this tournament. Other provinces had selected their teams several weeks before the Nationals, allowing for their squads to develop team chemistry and the dynamics of Team play. Meanwhile Ontario goes through a lengthy selection process based on their concepts of skill development only to forsake their own program and select a team of players of which not all were involved in the entire process. Furthermore, Team O coaches and directors fullfil their own personal mandates when it comes to selecting players. Why else would so many deserving 1999’s be left off the squad in favour of 2000’s? Why promote leagues like the OSBA if you aren’t going to use it to feed the provincial team? End result is Team O shoots under 25% from the 3 PT line and under 60% from the stripe. Team O needs to follow through on its development plans and process and remove the biased, personal and political agendas currently in place in their team selection. Next year? That is becoming a common refrain.

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