There’s a new number one in Canada – the St. Michael’s Blue Raiders.
After getting out of a strong pool that included the Vaughan Voyageurs and the Bishop Reding Royals, they went on to claim the Father Henry Carr Early Bird Championship this past weekend.
The first edition of the #NPHTop25 had a major shake up at the conclusion of this pre-season action.
St Mary’s Wake Up Call
There’s no doubt we were wrong about the St. Mary’s Eagles (Kitchener, ON) at the number one spot in pre-season. They came into this tournament with no idea that the target was on their back.
St. Mary’s is a team that returns nearly their entire roster and all key pieces, however, last weekend they came out looking way too comfortable.
A tough, hard-nosed Eastern Commerce Saints took full advantage of St. Mary’s comfort level and gave the Eagles a strong taste of what Toronto basketball is like, beating them 82-53.
The Kitchener, Ontario representatives go back to the drawing board and work to grow throughout the season, with hopes of making it back to OFSAA in March.
Most Prepared Squads
St. Michael’s, Thornlea, Eastern Commerce and Vaughan were the most ready.
These four teams showed execution on offense and clean rotations for help on defense to give a clear indication of the most prepared teams.
Three of these four teams will be back at it in The Humber Classic this weekend..
St. Mike’s has role guys coming off the bench who can knock down shots under pressure on the big stage. The demeanor of the team sets them apart.
Returning to number one from the 2013-2014 season, they don’t feel any pressure and their rank will not affect their play. This is a very focused squad with one goal in mind – OFSAA gold.
This weekend they’re off to play American competition in Houston, Texas at the St. Thomas Classic. If they win their first game against St. Thomas they will be matched with Victory Prep, which features #1 ranked small forward in the U. S, Jarred Vanderbilt.
Thornlea came out very strong with a dominating win over Father Henry Carr, holding them to only 27 points in the game. Jaaden Lewis was tremendous all weekend long, with other contributors like the speedy Kimberl Saint-Felix, and rock steady forwards Niroshan Surendran and Brandan Persaud pitching in.
Coach Shane James kept accountability at the forefront of his coaching mantra and it paid off, getting them to the finals.
You know a team is ready when they lose their starting guard Kadre Gray yet continue to fight back into games against other top teams.
A resilient team with a never quit mentality.
One guy goes down, another steps up. Narcisse Ambanza, a 2015 combo guard lit up the score board and kept the crowd raving in applause. Yea, he’s on the come up.
Eastern picked up a statement victory over St Mary’s and a win over D’Youville, proving to never underestimate their will.
Leadership on the bench and on the floor are on the same page. Vaughan executed their sets through their stud freshman Andrew Nembhard, who you’ll be hearing much more about for years to come, he’s something special!
This team is especially good at getting their go-to shooters open. Fowzi Mohamoud and Chris Barrett hit consistently to build leads and keep games close when they were down.
St. Edmund Campion
St. Edmund Campion is just scratching the surface. Lead guard Marcus Anderson sets the tone on both ends; he created offense and averaged three steals. Anderson set a good example for freshman PG Joel Brown who has the skill set and vision to run point and allow for Anderson to do more scoring.
Coach Omar Miles is providing Brown with the minutes necessary to gain confidence and learn how to lead against older competition.
Quinton Hamilton and CJ Bennett were big on the boards and will be key to giving Campion extra possessions moving forward.
There are other raw pieces in the mix that make this team arguably Brampton’s top high school squad.
Small Setbacks Mean Big Comebacks
Father Henry Carr and D’Youville have a lot of soul searching to do. Their performances in the Early Bird was far below expectation.
The depth on these teams outweigh some of the other teams, so it really came down to poor shot selection and lack of trust in one another.
As the season progresses we expect to see a lot more poise and control without letting go of their intense nature.
Growing pains of the early season.
Welcome St. Francis Into Top 25
A team from St. Catherine’s, Ontario–the St. Francis Phoenix have cracked the top 25 after taking down noteworthy opponent Saltfleet; who has Cadet National Team member, Nikola Djogo.
St. Francis is a team that has been growing together for the last several years, earning respect at the St. Michael’s Blue Raider Invitational. A young, gritty and well organized team with a couple of key pieces in developing swingman Abu Kigab and big man Lucas Olsthoorn.
A team on the rise. The Phoenix still await a few role players who are finishing up the football season at St. Francis. We’ll have the lenses on them this weekend when they compete in the Pinky Lewis tournament at McMaster University.
#NPHTop25 National Rankings – Release #2
- St Mikes (Toronto, ON)
- Thornlea (Thornhill, ON)
- Campion (Brampton, ON)
- Eastern Commerce (Toronto, ON)
- D’Youville (Brampton, ON)
- SJK (Kitchener, ON)
- Vaughan (Vaughan, ON)
- Oakwood (Toronto, ON)
- Henry Carr (Toronto, ON)
- Pine Ridge (Pickering, ON)
- Cameron Heights (Kitchener, ON)
- Saltfleet (Hamilton, ON)
- Bishop Reding (Milton, ON)
- Oak Park (Winnipeg, MB)
- Holy Trinity (Oakville, ON)
- St Francis (St. Catharines, ON)
- St Marys (Kitchener, ON)
- MacNab (Hamilton, ON)
- Leboldus (Regina, SK)
- Harry Ainlay (Edmonton, AB)
- Nelson (Burlington, ON)
- Notre Dame (Welland, ON)
- Auburn (Halifax, NS)
- Fredericton (Fredericton, NB)
- Catholic Central (Windsor, ON)
Outside Looking In
The teams listed below are well capable of cracking a top 25 spot throughout the season.
We will learn more about these teams as the season progresses.
- Kitsilano (Vancouver, BC)
- Blessed Mother Teresa (Scarborough,ON)
- Archbishop O’Leary (Edmonton, AB)
- Sir Winston Churchill (Vancouver, BC)
- Horton (NS)
- Bishop MacNally (Calgary, AB)
- Martingrove (Toronto, ON)
- A.N Myer (Niagara, ON)
- Father Goetz (Mississauga, ON)
- Terry Fox (Port Coquitlam, BC)
- St Patrick’s (Ottawa, ON)
- Citadel (Halifax, NS)
- Burnaby South (Burnaby, BC)
- Ross Sheppard (Edmonton, AB)
- LCI (Lethbridge, Alberta)
- Cardinal Newman (Hamilton, ON)
- Notre Dame (Brampton, ON)
- West Humber (Rexdale, ON)
- Castlebrook (Brampton, ON)
- Merivale (Ottawa, ON)
- St Patrick’s (Sarnia, ON)