TORONTO,ON–In Day One of round-robin action for the U17 Nationals from Humber College, a stacked Team Ontario thoroughly overmatched a determined team from Newfoundland by a final score of 88-52. Ontario featured such household names as Henry Tan, Mikyle McIntosh, Kaza Keane and Duane Notice, and their mix of depth and non-stop hustle was simply too much for the team from Newfoundland to handle. But there is another factor that makes the team from Ontario so impressive.
“There is a sense of togetherness on this team. They have a common purpose and play as more of a family than as a team,” said coach Chris Cheng.
Ontario jumped out to a 20-7 lead after the first quarter, and despite a surge late in the second quarter by Newfoundland, the host Team Ontario took a 38-22 lead into halftime. They were led by Duance Notice who put up 15 points and a pair of dimes in the first twenty minutes and finished the game with 22 points and 6 steals.
Notice was a piranha on the defensive end, stifling Newfoundland guards and making it uncomfortable on every posession.
Big man, 6’8 Marko Pirovic had a hot start with six points and five boards in half, and finished the game with an efficient nine and seven on 4/7 from the field.
The powerhouse Ontario team was able to move the ball effectively all over the court, and did not suffer from any foul trouble as they were able to go to the bench without suffering any drop off in skill in the court. They attacked the hoop relentlessly, and if they did not finish, they got to the line and knocked down the freebies.
The final score of 88-52 is somewhat deceptive, as it was clear that Coach Chris Cheng was trying to keep some of his stars fresh for the games later in the tournament.
“I let everyone get out there and run and blow off some steam. They were excited, so if they were forced to play in the half court, they would have ended up getting too aggressive,” said Coach Cheng.
Newfoundland had solid second and third quarters, and did not bow down to their more talented opponents. This bodes well for the often overlooked team from the east coast, as they continue to develop a competitive program on the national scale.
Daniel Foo and Mitchell Hearn paced Newfoundland with 12 points apiece.
Ontario now moves on to play one of the dark horse teams of the tournament in upstart Team Alberta. They took it to New Brunswick 103-83, with several rising stars serving up a balanced attack. Big man Deiter Posein also had an impressive first game for the team from the prairies, despite having just met up with the team after playing with his club team in Vegas. Alberta is exceptionally well coached by Mike Stevens, and they were one of the most polished teams in their first game.
“Alberta runs a good four out, so we have to keep track of where they are with the ball at all times,” said the Ontario Head Coach. “Defence will be huge for us against them.”
Alberta and Ontario face off tomorrow at 8:15pm in Gym 1 at Humber College North Campus.