Toronto, ON – The Manitoba U15 boys squad won the bronze medal Saturday afternoon in an entertaining, hard-fought game against the talented Quebec team.
Quebec was in attack mode all day, and came out determined to get to the rim. James Tyrrell led the charge, and Quebec seemed like it was destined to wear down the smaller Manitoba team. Manitoba managed to weather the storm, however, and a couple three-pointers by guard Benjamin Miller helped his team carry a slim 19-17 lead into the second quarter.
Quebec’s Abdulaziz Atta displayed the true force of his game in the second frame, and went to work down low, dominating the boards and putting away numerous close looks. Abdulaziz finished the game with 18 points and pulled down 17 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. Despite being badly beaten down low, Manitoba made some timely three-pointers to respond, and managed to force turnovers, helping them end the half tied at 28.
“Going into the half, we knew we had to do a better job on the interior,” said Manitoba coach Jonathan Lundgren. “We had to do a better job of getting in front of the Quebec players, and limiting them to one shot if we wanted to win the game.”
Manitoba made some noticeable improvements on the defensive glass in the second half, and managed to use their quickness to keep Quebec off balance. Guard Joseph Medrano, who finished with a game-high 19 points, provided hot shooting and quick drives to the hoop that gave his team the extra push they needed, while Ivan Paskvalin and Benjamin Miller chipped in with 13 and 14 points, respectively. Paskvalin and Miller also sparked their team’s defence by recording an astounding seven steals a piece, many of which came during their second half surge. Manitoba led 45-40 after three quarters, and pulled away for the 63-54 win after Quebec couldn’t solve their opponents’ hot shooting or their own turnover problems.
“We did a much better job on the interior and hitting some tough shots in the second half,” said Lundgren, “and we worked really well as a team.”
Despite having a big 54-32 rebounding edge, Quebec didn’t hit a three-pointer all game, and committed seven more turnovers than Manitoba, which ended up being the difference in their fairly close contest. Manitoba, on the other hand, knocked down eight triples, and committed fewer turnovers as the game progressed. Quebec’s James Tyrrell finished with eight points, nine rebounds and five steals, while Harvey Marmen chipped in with eight points as well.
It was a nice way to finish the tournament for Manitoba, who certainly showed that they have some nice talent on the rise and have come a long way on a national scale.
“I think we had a really successful tournament,” said Lundgren. “I thought we played well, and it was a great experience to play against numerous elite teams. We battled hard against them all week, and we are excited to come away from here with a medal.”
- Joseph Medrano: 19 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
- Benjamin Miller: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 7 steals
- Ivan Paskvalin: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 7 steals
- William Yaworsky: 13 points, 4 rebonds, 2 blocks
- Abdulaziz Atta: 18 points, 17 rebounds
- James Tyrell: 8 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals