WINDSOR, ON–Last season’s AAAA OFSAA Champions (St. Michael’s) and AAA OFSAA Champions (Catholic Central) met in the finals at the 27th annual Freed’s Invitational. Both squads went perfect in their brackets beating teams with convincing blowouts. The finals was no different, St. Michael’s put their foot on the gas and took it home.
For the fourth straight year, the St. Michael’s Blue Raiders have taken home gold medals at Catholic Central’s Freed’s tournament; this year they did it with the youngest group to win it. The final score was 87-60 and that pretty much tells the story of how dominant the Blue Raiders were in this tournament. Last year’s MVP, Nelson Kaputo was hot to start, only missing one of his first six shots taken. MVP for 2013, Godwin Boahen was busy setting the floor plan and getting teammates open looks. Boahen finished with a triple-double of 10 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds in the victory.
Mid-way through the second quarter a barrage of threes from Catholic Central guards Eriq Jenkins, Isaiah Familia and Nyong James signaled a come back. James had four first half makes from beyond the arc, so the Catholic Central fans are cooling in the bleachers at this point thinking, “don’t call it a comeback.”
The full court pressure of the 1-2-1-1 set up that the Blue Raiders had put on was too much to handle. Catholic Central was coughing out the pill regardless of who was handling it.
Parker Joyce’s defensive activity with seven steals while sneaking in the passing lanes didn’t help the home team Catholic Central either.
When CCH tried to reciprocate by applying pressure of their own, it did not end up positive for them. Boahen and Kaputo were able to single handily weave through and hit an open man on the other end for an easy finish. These two young PGs were setting teammates up all night.
“We wanted to spread the floor and utilize our guards’ quickness and ability to penetrate to get open looks. Godwin and Nelson did a great job of getting into the paint and finding open shooters,” commented Head Coach, Jeff Zownir of the Blue Raiders.
Danilo Djuricic received many of these open looks and shot close to 75% on the night, finishing with a season-high 28 points, to go aong with eight rebounds. The 6’6 Small Forward, Djuricic was very effective on both ends of the floor, adding energy to the team with exciting plays like pins on the glass and dunking on defenders. He scored from every angle and was a treat to watch.
Coach Zownir had nothing but praise for this versatile youngster, only a ninth grader.
“I think he has excellent potential at the next level. He is learning to play on the perimeter which will make him an even better prospect. His basketball IQ is high and he listens very carefully to instruction. At the same time he is always asking very good questions and trying to get better, very coachable.”
Djuricic is making a case for top prospect in the 2018 Canadian class, although still early in the discussion. His upside is incredible, especially considering he is already a very intelligent player.
Time is on the side of both of these teams as they continue to develop together. Catholic Central will undoubtedly be able to compete with some of the best teams in the country with a few more games under their belts. They will be looking to vindicate their efforts from last night at the Mark Walton tournament next week, hosted by Cathedral High School.
St Mikes will have league game to attend to, and will be off all tournmanet duties until the new year.
NPH Top Performers
Godwin Boahen – 10 pts, 13 assists, 13 rebounds
Nelson Kaputo – 27 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
Danilo Djuricic – 28 points, 8 rebounds
Nyong James – 18 points, 7 rebounds
Eriq Jenkins – 13 points
Tournament All Star Teams
MVP – Godwin Boehen – St. Michals
1st Team All Stars
Nelson Kaputo – St. Michaels
Eriq Jenkins – Catholic Central
Bruedon Brown – Cathedral
Deandre Brown – Forster
Moses Orosco – Beal
2nd Team All Stars
Isaiah Familia – Catholic Central
Kareem Collins – Cathedral
Will Caston – Forster
Karl Derech – St. Patrick
Omar Terrance Hayes Williams – Massey