I would like to preface the third session of the Canadian Youth Basketball League by giving a major shout out to all coaches on every level of the CYBL.
These dedicated volunteers have committed countless hours of their time to developing their kids not only into great basketball players, but also respectful, hardworking individuals.
Although I exclusively deal with the grade 8 division, that does not mean that the participants in the lower divisions should get overlooked or feel unappreciated as they are the foundation to what has led to a great basketball community and environment at the CYBL.
Furthermore, to the youngsters in the lower grade divisions I’d just like to say continue to work hard and stay humble.
Your time will come as you get older and you will become the torch carriers and leaders of the CYBL.
Games of the Weekend
Last session there was only one game that garnered a big crowd at Centennial College and it was the epic show down between the Vaughan Panthers and CIA Bounce.
However, this weekend at Holy Trinity in Richmond Hill, two games culminated equally big crowds as Bayan’s upset of Burington and YAAACE’s close win over CAN Elite had the gyms rocking.
Bayan Stuns Burlington 73-66
Bayan coach Cedric Carter refuses to call Bayan’s 73-66 win over Burlington an upset as he is supremely confident in his team’s ability to win games at the CYBL.
However, to everyone watching, this game was, in the purest definition of the word, an upset.
With the entire crowd expecting to see a Burlington win, Bayan stuck to their guns throughout the entire game and after trailing by two points, 32-30, after the first half, no one expected the Scarborough team to stick around in the second half.
But stick around they did as behind Danzel Faraon’s 24 points and Jan Andrada’s 16, including two three pointers, Bayan outscored Burlington 43-34 in the second half.
The key to Bayan’s victory had to be their full court pressure as it had Burlington swinging the ball side to side and never allowed them to calm the game down and run their system.
Coach Cedric Carter also pointed to the fact that he wanted to force Burlington’s Kobe Antwi to become a playmaker instead of his natural position as a scorer.
Bayan’s defensive prowess also led UPlay coach Andre Smith to explain to me that it looked as if Bayan had seven, not five, players on the court.
On the other side, Burlington scored evenly led by Luka Sakota who had 13 points, and Robert Mannella, Kobe Antwi and Coleman Stucke who all chipped in with 12 points apiece.
Burlington was never really able to use their massive height advantage as the sped up tempo of the game had IBSA take a ton of three point shots.
The win for Bayan definitely thrust them from a middle of the pack team into the upper echelon of the CYBL hierarchy.
YAAACE Edges Canada Elite 76-74
After a disappointing second half in YAAACE’s Saturday match up against CIA Bounce, coach Rami Arabi was pleased to see his team close out a surging CAN Elite team taking the game 76-74.
The affair was a tight one as neither team could fully gain control over the other as they combatted each other with big time runs.
YAAACE would gain a five to ten point lead only to see CAN Elite push back and cut the deficit.
The biggest run by CAN Elite would take place in the final two minutes as they fought back from down ten to give themselves a chance to tie or win the game on the last possession.
Justice Prentice, who led CAN Elite with 26 points in the game, decided to try and win the game with a three point attempt that he ended up overshooting, hitting the back rim as the buzzer sounded.
Jaden Burke and Jordan Persad, who scored 14 and 11 points respectively, were the only other players in double figures for CAN Elite who fell to 2-2 at session three and 8-4 overall at the CYBL.
YAAACE finished session three with a 3-1 overall record, as Inyaki Alavarez put on a deadly shooting display.
Against CAN Elite Alvarez scored 28 points, including hitting six triples, and was the focal point of the offense throughout the game.
Jordan Carty put in 14 points and Mert Ozuak helped with 10 as YAAACE now also saw their overall record increase to 8-4.
Overall, YAAACE was able to control the game with their solid zone defense, which confused the CAN Elite players and caused them into timely turnovers.
Comeback Teams of the Week
After getting whacked 91-36 by the Vaughan Panthers in their first game of session three, UPLAY Canada responded in a big way.
They finished off the session going a perfect 3-0, including a 77-68 overtime win against regional opponent Ancaster.
UPLAY now is situated in a three way tie with CAN Elite and YAAACE for fourth in the CYBL standings.
With Justus Salmon returning to the team, the Wolverines were back at full strength and it showed as they went 2-2 during session three.
The ever-evolving Wolverines showed their competitive spirit, fighting Bayan down the stretch, eventually falling 77-69.
However, the session proved to be a learning experience as the Wolverines, like every club, is looking to steadily improve every day.
CYBL session #4 takes place FEB 21-22 at the beautiful Markham Pan Am Center…stay tuned for more coverage on NorthPoleHoops.com!