Hello Canadian Girls Basketball Family, 

The 5th annual Canletes Sports Shoot For A Cure Showcase is a wrap, and the early showings of prep level basketball in Canada are impressive. The level of talent, athleticism and competitiveness in the girls game is continuing to prove itself, and the youth of the athletes foreshadows a continued steady increase in Canadian basketball.

Shoot For A Cure is an event orchestrated by Kareem Griffin in honor of his mother’s passing to cancer a decade ago. The proceeds from this tournament are donated to the Canadian Cancer Society.

This year’s games were live broadcasted by North Pole Hoops, available to watch on our YouTube channel.

Game 1: #1 St-Laurent 82 v. Central Tech 76

Central Tech came into this game with an underdog mentality and a readiness to compete against the #1 ranked Canadian team, St-Laurent. 

Tech’s bigs 2020 6’0 F Jenny Nkrutah and 2019 5’9 F Marley Bonnick established early that rebounds were theirs to take. The frontcourt duo’s presence in the paint was a challenge for St-Laurent, and Bonnick’s ability to score at will from beyond the arc, off the bounce and at the rim proved that she is a force to be reckoned with this season.

St-Laurent’s guard lineup of speed and athleticism, combined with centers 2020 6’0 Kiandra Browne and 2021 6’0 Phoenix Gedeon were able to tame Tech’s offensive production.

Offensively, 2021 5’9 PG Sandrine Clesca led her squad in their first win. Her ability to set up her defense and get to the rim combined with her length and touch around the basket created an initial scoring threat. Once stopped, she showed accuracy delivering the ball after drawing a second defender, feeding her open cutters and shooters for assists. Clesca cleared up any doubt in her shooting ability after knocking down a few 3 balls and showing off her jump shot.

Game 2: #10 Bill Crothers 74  v. #9 Southwest Academy 73

After getting an early look at both of these squads, I was excited to see the matchup between Crothers, led by 2019 5’9 PG Ahriahna Grizzle take on Southwest’s length and athleticism.

Crothers’ Ahriahna Grizzle established an assertive offensive and defensive presence early on. The PG showed off her own scoring versatility, as well as smoothness in her ability to facilitate offensively, creating open looks for her teammates and delivering beautiful, timely, accurate passes. Defensive steals translated into offensive production in transition for Crothers. The front court combination of 2021 6’3 F Isaline Alexander and 2020 6’1 F Callie Wright posed a presence on the offensive boards and produced quality hi-lo basketball, both players demonstrating their passing skills from inside.

Southwest Academy’s youthful lengthy athleticism in 2022’s 6’0 G Lemayah Hylton, 6’2 F Cheyenne Rowe, 5’8 PG Shantavia Dawkins was nicely balanced with veteran leadership from 2019’s 5’8 PG’s Laurin Moro and Hofstra commit Piper Doo, as well as sniper shooter 5’10 G Maggie Denys and Northeastern commit 6’3 F Sammie Martin. Southwest was able to score at the rim, using length and athleticism finishing in traffic and getting to the line, as well as from beyond the arc with quality looks from multiple shooting threats. 

Game 3: #8 J Addison 79 v. #5 King’s Christian 63

2019 5’10 Maddie Anderson’s seven 3 balls were each nails in King’s coffin for this matchup. J Addison’s 2019 5’6 PG Shaunae Brown facilitated offensively as well as established herself as a scorer from the 3 line, on the pullup and at the rim, finishing well and earning free throws. 2022 5’8 G Mary Asare used her athleticism getting to the paint in the half court as well as off steals in transition. Her rebounding ability and physical presence on both ends of the floor will continue to be a weapon for J Addison.

King’s Christian was missing veteran leadership and scoring in #1 ranked 2019 6’3 F Laeticia Amihere and #7 ranked 5’10 G Mide Oriyomi, but the squad’s 2020 5’10 G Alexis Stewart and 2019 5’11 PG Tiena Neale brought leadership and facilitated the game. This lengthy duo along with quick, explosive, bouncy 2020 5’5 PG Tahmala Thorpe, the fundamentally solid 2022 6’0 G Lilia Skumatova and 2020 5’10 shooter Margaret Lovtsova showed an exciting early showing for King’s. 2021 6’0 F Teah Stupar held her own and continued to show improvement, and NPH Showcase Alum 2022 5’7 G Alarice Gooden got a feel for a new level and quicker pace of the game.

Game 4: #1 St-Laurent 77 v. #4 Lincoln Prep 73

The action between these two teams was thrilling late into the game! Lead changes and big time plays kept both teams on their toes.

St-Laurent’s 2020 6’1 F Kiandra Browne established her presence inside finishing with power at the rim, working from the high post, and catching and finishing well on the move. Athletic duo of 2021 forwards 5’9 Angelica Juste-Jean and 5’11 Ornella Niankan Ahou dominated rim penetration, attacking relentlessly and creating offensive production from finishing, getting to the line and dishing for assists. 

Lincoln’s 2019 class provided leadership, poise and production throughout this matchup. 5’7 G Keturah Balabyekkubo continued to prove herself as an offensive threat and defensive force. 5’10 G Emily Martindale and 5’9 G Taite Cleland produced from beyond the arc and facilitated offensively. UCLA commit 6’3 F Brynn Masikewich brought experience along with her production, and 5’9 G Kaillie Hall handled the rock against full court pressure from St-Laurent’s athletes. 

Game 5: #8 J Addison 85 v. Central Tech 67

J Addison’s lineup came ready to battle for this matchup! Brown commit 2019 5’7 PG Hennessey Luu-Brown showed off impressive playmaking abilities against the longer backcourt of Central Tech. 2020 5’9 G Alexis Ellis-Daley established her presence getting to the rim, knocking down some 3 balls and getting stops on defense. 2020 6’2 F Eszter Madar made a statement knocking down shots from beyond the arc, catching and finishing nicely inside, rebounding, as well as providing a defensive presence with her length in passing lanes.

Tech’s 2019 Marley Bonnick continued her trend of being almost unstoppable from just about every space on the floor. Production inside at the rim was topped off nicely with 4/5 shooting from beyond the arc. 

Game 6: #2 Crestwood 83 v. #1 St-Laurent 65

This was hands down the best high school level basketball I’ve ever watched. The competitiveness, hunger, and grit as well as depth, athleticism and skill from both squads was impressive. Crestwood’s quality of looks offensively, ball movement, and defensive rim protection sealed the win.

Crestwood’s three-headed-monster frontcourt of game MVP 2020 6’1 F Kayla Drummond, 2020 6’2 F Aaliyah Edwards, and 2021 6’5 F Latasha Lattimore produced on both ends of the floor. Lattimore’s soft hands and face up game behind the defense got her constant looks from the short corner and off of offensive rebounds. Drummond established herself inside, sealing defenders throughout the possession and finishing with power and touch. Edwards held a block party on the defensive end, as well as drew offensive fouls and handled her fair share of the rebounding. 

 

Leading Crestwood is the #1 ranked player in the class of 2021, 5’7 PG Shayeann Day-Wilson. Aside of her ability to score at will, her vision and passing ability guarantees offensive production; her physical strength and athleticism combined with her skillset promises she will set up the defense as she wishes; and her mental edge and savage switch set her head and shoulders above whoever is defending her.

St-Laurent’s 2021 5’9 PG Sandrine Clesca proved that her skillset and production can be replicated successfully against the best defense in the country. She handled the rock under pressure, finished at the rim in traffic, and dished out dimes with the poise she demonstrated in the previous two games. 

Undersized yet relentless in the frontcourt were 2020 6’0 Kiandra Browne and 2021 6’0 Phoenix Gedeon. The two showed character and grit against Crestwood’s height and athleticism. Browne scored through contact off the bounce and in the paint, knocked down jumpers and snatched her boards. Gideon established her physicality inside on both ends and scored through contact.

2021 5’9 F Angelica Juste-Jean was impressive finishing at the rim, proving her blow by ability and athleticism was a force to be reckoned with. Her 15ft baseline jumper and 3 ball were effective, and her length and bounce on the defensive end was impactful.

 

This year’s Shoot For A Cure showing established the baseline for the direction of Canadian girl’s basketball.

micaella

Written by micaella

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