A common statement from coaches in the pre-season has been, “these games don’t matter, it’s Novmeber.”
True. It is only November and there is a ton of room for improvement for each team. Then there’s the team that is well ahead of the curve and has been consistently playing as if it’s March. The only team to fit the description is St. Michael’s College, a young yet experienced group that is having their way at the Humber Classic, moving on to the Championship game against Oakwood today at 3pm. St. Mike’s are defending OFSAA Champions and the best Canadian high school basketball team until proven otherwise.
It comes down to execution and consistency. These are two important pillars that have built the team into what they are today. From here on out we will refer to them as the young guns. The crazy part about the young guns being number one is that they have the same guys coming back next year.
Their young back court of Godwin Boahen, Nelson Kaputo and Parker Joyce have been able to score from all over the floor and showed a high level of discipline in pressure situations. In the semifinals against Eastern Commerce they allowed only three points in the first quarter and had 15 themselves. It was surprising to see such a poor turnout from the EC Saints since they had come out with a dominant game over Campion.
Oakwood, a preseason favourite in some basketball circles, snuck out a one point win over the Father Henry Carr Crusaders. St. Mike’s will be their toughest challenge yet, especially considering the fatigue that could kick in because of their two previous battles that went down to the wire.
We caught up with Oakwood Head Coach, Anthony Miller after their win over FHC to get his thoughts on the challenge ahead.
“They do a lot of good things, pushing the ball, really competing and don’t make a lot of mistakes. It’s going to be a big test for us, especially with our big guy Brody (Clarke) being really sore, let’s see how he feels tomorrow. We feel, with him and Calvin on the floor we can beat anyone.”
St. Mike’s power forward Rayshawn Smith has been a powerful presence in the post and will undoubtedly give Clarke a tough fight.
A potential match up problem for the St. Mike’s Blue Raiders will be 2015 slasher Russell Baker. He often gets to the rim at will and finishes three point plays. Expect the Blue Raiders to try a few different options on him.
As for a defender on Boahen, up to this point no one has been able to stay in front of him or stop the 2016 PG from creating plays for teammates. He rises under pressure and this will be another one of those moments.
It will come down to who is able to execute better and control the tempo. For the entirety of the tournament and from the history under Coach Jeff Zownir, the young guns should be in control.
The action at Humber College (North Campus) starts at 12:00pm with consolation championships, followed by the bronze medal game at 1:30 and the championships at 3:00.
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