TORONTO,ON–After cruising their way into the U17 finals, Team Ontario looked poised to continue their dominance and earn themselves the national title in convincing fashion over an upstart team from Nova Scotia. Yet, the fiesty Scotians gave Ontario their biggest test of the tournament, with a final score of 82-68, the closest point margin against against Team O.
The team representing Atlantic Canada was in no hurry to lay down and let the host province capture the title. Ontario crushed every team that got in their way en route to the finals, and many expected to see another blowout on championship Saturday from Humber College. But this was not the case.
AJ Simmonds & Taurus Smith led the attack for NS posting 19 and 15 respectively. At 5`10, Smith played like he was 6`5, relentlessly attacking the hoop and scoring off the dribble.
For Ontario, it was Agunwa Okolie and Duane Notice who led the team offensively with 17 and 14. However, the Team Ontario glue would be Marko Pirovic, who has been taking care of business from the beginning of the week.
Pirovic recorded a beastly 25 rebounds, along with eight points!
The stands at Humber were packed, as friends, family and players filled the rafters to take in the final game of the week. The larger bleachers were comprised of Ontario Supporters, while the other side had Atlantic Canada written all over it with PEI, New Brunswick and Newfoundland cheering on their neighbour, Nova Scotia.
The Nova Scotia contingent made themselves heard throughout the game, and were constantly jeering the Ontario players into missing shots. Nova Scotia cut the lead to one point in the second quarter, but a late surge by Ontario proved to be the necessary cushion that they needed to win the game. The first half ended on a thrilling note, as Kaza Keane dropped a long range bomb to extend Ontario’s lead to double digits.
In the second half, Ontario had their lead hovering around 10 points and were able to sustain it for the 82-68 victory en route to Gold!
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Kaza Keane dribbled the ball and screamed out in joy. When the game ended, he collapsed to the court in a mix of exhaustion and joy. All of the hard work had paid off for Ontario, as the final horn sounded and the entire team rushed the court and celebrated the victory.
- Agunwa Okolie: 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks
- Marko Pirovic: 8 points, 25 rebounds
- Duane Notice: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 6 steals
- AJ Simmonds: 19 points, 3 assists, 3 steals
- Taurus Smith: 15 points, 3 rebounds