The CYBL’s second session was a big one this past weekend as the support from the crowd only got bigger, teams were showing vast improvements, and the new acquisition of the Vaughan Panthers has only strengthened the already talented eighth grade division.
First and foremost, the crowd that filed into Centennial College throughout the last few days really helped create a dynamic environment.
With the kids playing at such a great facility and also gaining huge support, encouragement, and enthusiasm from fans and parents in the crowd, the session was a very successful one.
The most impressive squads were the ones that were able to put aside individual accolades and goals, come together, and play for the greater good of the team.
This was refreshing, as it highlighted exactly what basketball is really about; being one piece to a very complex and selfless puzzle, where no one player is above the team, and all players work together to achieve a common goal.
Though there is great individual play that is brought out in basketball through the structure of the team, it must never be overshadowed by the fact that the team is like a family.
Thus, like a family there must be respect, a sense of belonging, and a greater responsibility to your team that is bigger than any one individual.
Game of the Weekend
Behind the strong play of Addison Patterson, Shemar Rathan-Mayes and Kobe Elvis, CIA Bounce was able to defeat the Vaughan Panthers 75-68 in a tight battle.
Addison Patterson led all scorers in the game with 25 points, 17 of which came in the second half.
Patterson seemed to be playing more of a facilitator in the first half getting his teammates involved and letting the offense flow naturally.
But don’t have any doubt about it, when Patterson wanted to attack, he used his length, size and speed to consistently get to the rim and finish using either hand.
Patterson was also able to hold his own down low against the big men on the Panthers–rebounding, defending, and also showing his competitive edge with a little trash talking that would have made Gary Payton proud.
Kobe Elvis and Shemar Rathan-Mayes also lifted CIA Bounce, as they were able to contribute with 17 and 16 points respectively.
Elvis, who I believe is the best in game shooter at the CYBL, displayed his great touch from the outside making three triples, two in second half.
Elvis also played well defensively deflecting numerous balls and even picking up a few steals.
Shamar Rathan-Mayes, (younger brother to Florida States Xavier) also had a fantastic game as his super speed and athleticism was key to his production.
What makes the younger sibling so hard to handle is his ability to change speeds and direction without losing balance, playmaking on the go.
But what really separates Rathan-Mayes from everyone else at the CYBL is that he has a fire in his eyes that brought out his fierce competitiveness, similarly shared with his older brother.
CIA Bounce, who had defeated their opponents by an average of 47 points a game, were in a dog fight late but were able to pull through defensively at the end and keep there undefeated streak alive.
The newly instated Vaughan Panthers on the other hand, look like they will be a force in the league.
The Panthers point guard Nick K led his team with 24 points in the contest and is a problem to say the least.
The speedy lead guard is not only able to change speeds and directions at will, he is also able to find angles and finish in traffic over much bigger opponents. Plays bigger than he is.
Nick consistently was able to blow past his man and finish at the rim with a series of floaters, runners, and one handed layups that kissed the glass before falling through the hoop.
The Panthers also sported a very dominant low post presence in Paris Shand, who was able to score 15 points.
Shand is a big mobile body with a massive wingspan and a great touch from the outside, even purposely banking in a fifteen footer ala Tim Duncan during the second half.
The matchup was a great one to end the day off, however there were other teams that really showed up this session as well.
IBSA plays the game of basketball the right way and they were a perfect 4 and 0 during this session.
Under the tutelage of Brent Strucke, Burlington plays a team first oriented style of ball that gets all players involved and going.
With Burlington yet to play either Canada Elite or the Vaughan Panthers yet, it will be interesting to see how they progress as they are fully capable of competing with the best.
After losing three of their first four games in the first session of the CYBL, Coach Rami Arabi has revamped YAAACE’s defense, going to a much more trapping system thus helping them go undefeated in the second session of the CYBL.
YAAACE sports very talented players such as Jordan Carty, Inyaki Alvarez, Marcus Wang and Javon Morin to name a few.
YAAACE will be looking to keep their winning ways going into the third session of the CYBL.
I cannot say enough about the great work that is going on out in Hamilton with the evolution of the UPLAY program.
They sported one of the toughest schedules in the CYBL landing both Burlington and CIA Bounce in the same weekend.
UPLAY went 2-2 during the second session picking up an impressive win against Bayan who has been one of the stronger teams in the league.
Bayan had a very impressive weekend going 3-1, including a hard nose 65-55 victory against Canada Elite.
Bayan’s coach Cedric Carter has the young guys buying into his brand of team basketball that is most recognizable by their ability to move and share the ball without any of the players caring who actually scores the basket.
Bayan is ruthlessly efficient on both defense and offense, and look to be top-notch competition for sessions to come.
Corey Niles and his grade seven YAAACE team has been completely unstoppable going a perfect 8-0 after both CYBL sessions.
Niles has his team playing a very selfless brand of basketball, all the while still teaching the kids the intricacies of the game.
They are looking like they might be running away with the CYBL championship before the playoffs even begin.