Winnipeg—The first Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg Invitational Tournament sponsored by Johnson Waste Management took place over the weekend and included Western, Windsor, Winnipeg and the host Manitoba. Each team played two games. This marks the first time that Manitoba has held a preseason tournament since 2006.
Windsor came out on top in both games going 2-0 defeating Winnipeg and Manitoba, Manitoba and Winnipeg both finished 1-1 while Western ended the tournament at 0-2.
Even though it is the preseason, there is still a lot to be learned from these games that some may consider meaningless. Windsor’s experience showed throughout the weekend as they had to come from behind against a Manitoba team that was charging late in the game. The trio of Enrico Di Loreto, Josh Collins and Lien Phillip for Windsor was crucial during these two games, logging good minutes and stuffing the stat sheet with points and rebounds, accounting for a large percentage of the team’s buckets.
Windsor head coach spoke about the weekend and what can be extracted.
“The mentality is about a process and us trying to find a way to improve as a basketball team, all teams are looking for ways to get better and we didn’t play particularly well in stretches of both games, and that’s great because its gives us a lot of teachable moments. I’ve learned what we knew with this group for years; we’ve got to show up mentally and we didn’t show up mentally to start this game, from missed layups to rotations on defense, those things are obvious. Mentally you’ve got to show up and anyone can beat you in this country if you’re not prepared on any given day.”
Despite their youth, Manitoba showed a lot of promise from game one to game two as they battled tough with Windsor, the one team that beat Carleton last season. Justus Alleyn and Andre Arruda both showed good composure as freshman against stiff experienced competition from the OUA. If these two preseason games are any indication as to what to expect for the season, AJ Basi should be getting more meaningful minutes this year as he came off the bench in both games to be the leading scorer for the Bisons. Basi was able to provide a major spark for the Bisons as they started to come back against Windsor, but fell just short. Former player at Valdosta State, Mike Holloway looked good in the minutes he got. Manitoba was also without their leading point guard, Stephan Walton, CIS NPH Top 50 ranked.
Leading scorer for Manitoba this weekend, AJ Basi spoke to NPH about what the preseason meant for his team.
“It’s a learning experience and you can say its preseason and exhibition and that it doesn’t count but I think it’s an opportunity for the rest of the team to come together without Stephan available, it gave a lot of guys opportunities that might have not gotten before. It is a baby step in the right direction, obviously we only got one win in the last five games, obviously we’re still building its only October, going forward we’ve got next week off so we’re going to watch lots of video and tape and see the mistakes we made.”
Winnipeg was battling tough with Windsor for three quarters, but a costly second quarter where they were outscored 22-9, were unable to keep pace and lost 71-83. Winnipeg came off a successful preseason tournament the past weekend with wins against Lakehead and Algoma. However was unable to cash in defeating another top OUA opponent. This weekend showed that Winnipeg has some depth at the forward position with Steven Wesley and Jelane Pryce leading the way. Andrew Cunningham was up to his old ways, cutting up defenses, creating exciting passes and racking up assists, 13 in two games. Winnipeg also had to pull off some late game heroics against Western as the Mustangs jumped out to a large first half lead, but the Wesmen chipped away and pulled it out in a thriller.
The Western Mustangs were the only team to go winless this weekend but, went down to the wire with Winnipeg in the final game of the tournament. Gabe Soicher and Quinn Henderson were the standouts for the Mustangs this weekend and showed good poise as leaders for the young Western team. Freshmen Rashayne Case and Marcus Calloo showed growth in their games but will still need to develop to continue to earn minutes in games.
This preseason tournament was more than a tournament as it was sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg who do a great job of supporting youth as a place for kids to go, play basketball and have a place to hang out in a safe environment. The Manitoba Bison’s guard Amir Ali is a former member of the Boys and Girls Club who still goes back to volunteer for the club that gave him so much.
Windsor 83 – Winnipeg 71
Manitoba 69 – Western 54
Windsor 68 – Manitoba 62
Winnipeg 71 – Western 68
NPH Top Performers (averages over 2 games):
- Enrico Diloreto – Windsor – 16pts, 6rebs, 3asts, 4stls
- Lien Phillip – Windsor – 9.5pts, 13rebs
- Josh Collins – Windsor – 11pts, 4asts, 4stls
- AJ Basi – Manitoba – 13.5pts
- Yigit Ozsayiner – Manitoba – 12pts, 6rebs, 4.5asts, 2stls
- Steven Wesley – Winnipeg – 12.5pts, 5rebs
- Andrew Cunningham – Winnipeg – 6.5pts, 5rebs, 6.5asts
- Gabe Soicher – Western – 11pts, 5.5rebs