London Basketball Academy Emerging as Favourites in NPA Western Conference
The London Basketball Academy put the National Preparatory Association on notice after a high-octane performance during the NPA Western Conference session this weekend.
London finished the weekend with a 2-0 record, beating Notre Dame 103-72 and BC Christian 96-69. Both wins are part of an incredible run of offensive showings for LBA, who have averaged 104.5 points per game over their last four outings in the NPA.
Despite their offensive prowess, Head Coach Angelo Provenzano knows that it all starts at the other end. When asked about how his team has found this hot streak, his first answer was defence.
“I would say the majority of that is defence. We just have eight guys that play hard, and we capitalize on turnovers, and we try to get easy baskets,” said Provenzano.
“We don’t talk about offence a lot, because that just normally comes with great defence.”
Provenzano has gotten his players and their families to buy into the program, and it has started to pay off for all involved.
“He’s a really good coach, at times he can be tough, but it’s all love and you know he’s just trying to do the best for you,” said Jackson Mayers, a London native who stayed in town to join with Provenzano, and has found success with his new team. “When he gives you pointers, it’s not because he’s mad at you, but because he wants you to do better.”
“At the beginning of the year everyone was being a bit more selfish, but we’ve all bought in to our coach and what he has planned for us, and now we are moving the ball around and getting more open shots.”
The entire team has bought into Provenzano’s program, evident in the 96-69 win against BC Christian Academy, a team with tremendous length and athleticism. After a hot shooting start for the LBA, Keenan Dowell lead BC back into the game with some tough shots, and at half London’s lead had been cut to 11.
Coming out of the break LBA went back to work defensively, which led to a flurry of easy buckets for the team, who extended their lead with 13 unanswered points to start the 3rd. Despite Dowell leading all scorers with 29 points, London continued to share the ball and found open shots all over the court. Dowell was a lone bright spot in the loss for BC, who was creating tough shots for himself and sharing the ball effectively.
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Cameron Deitzel caught fire coming out of the break, connecting on 17 of his 22 points in the second half. Deitzel found a good rhythm with his shooting, but his teammates were also making great passes to give him wide open shots.
With a strong showing this weekend, the London squad have emerged as front runners in the Western Conference this season. However, Provenzano knows there is a lot of work to do, noting tough losses early in the year to some Eastern Conference teams.
“I would say [us as favourites] is not quite accurate yet, because TBA beat us by 30, Central Tech also got us pretty good, so we got a couple of outstanding issues there still. But in a national tournament, anything can happen, it’s a one shot deal.”
For Provenzano, it all starts with protecting their own rim, and if they can do that against the best, the scoring will come easy.
“I think we gotta prepare for nights when we’re not shooting the ball this well, and that always comes with defence. That’s something you can do well every single night. We gotta get better defensively, there are a lot of situations we can still improve on.”
Western Canada Players making Waves
The West Coast squads of the NPA have been turning heads this season, bringing to light the serious talent Canada has to offer coast to coast.
A player that was flying under the radar before the season is Jashon Henry, a 6’5” forward from Saskatchewan’s Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, but that has quickly changed for the young talent.
After a strong showing at the NPA’s Holiday Challenge, where he garnered his first NCAA D1 offer from St. Bonaventure, Henry has continued to produce at a high level for the Hounds.
Jashon plays with a great strength inside the paint, and finished under contact with a nice touch, consistently heading to the line for 3 point plays. His vertical is one of his most impressive attributes, getting up to the rim very easily on both sides of the court.
The Saskatchewan product finished the Western Conference session averaging 22 points per game, and is expected to gain more interest from CIS & NCAA programs as the season progresses.
Another talent hailing from the West Side of Canada is 6’5” Point Guard Keenan Dowell from BC Christian Academy. Dowell is an incredible talent and is the clear leader for his team every time he steps on the court. The former NPH Showcase MVP averaged 20.5 points per game over the weekend.
Dowell uses his length at the guard spot to make plays, particularly his sharp passes in traffic, setting up teammates for easy buckets. Dowell also has an impressive shooting stroke and won’t hesitate to take control of a game for his team, creating opportunities for himself readily.
New wave of St. Michael’s leaders emerging
The opening game of the Western Conference session proved to be the introduction to the next generation of playmakers to dawn the Blue and White of St. Michael’s College. Inaki Alvarez and Sam Rautins combined for 47 points in their game against Notre Dame on Friday night, over half of their teams points that night.
With a core trio of veterans missing for the Blue Raiders in Danilo Djuricic, Atik Gilao and Kobey Lam, 2019 prospects Alvarez and Rautins showed out for their team, fueling the offence for St. Mike’s.
Top 5 Scorers from Western Conference Session
- Cameron Dietzel (LBA) 23.5ppg
- Jashon Henry (ND) 22ppg
- Keenan Dowell (BC) 20.5ppg
- Jaden Campbell (GTA) 20ppg
- Ezeoha Santiago (3K) 18.5ppg