What a weekend.
I spent three full days in Hamilton, watching some quality high school basketball at the 44th Annual Silver Fox.
Hamilton is a unique basketball space in that it has people that are really engaged in the game at the high school level.
I caught up with Joe Raso, a big name in the city that has been attending the tournament as a high school coach (St Mary’s), university coach (McMaster), and now as an enthusiast of the game.
Raso points to the fact that Hamilton spectators have been attending high school games for years, and when the Silver Fox tournament comes around, it’s an exciting time for the community– a tournament that prepares teams coming off of exam week and into playoff action.
“Our fan base for the most part is very knowledgable and older, you’ll see a group of 50-year old man, four guys will go to a game together,” said Raso.
“People have been around basketball, there has been a solid history, the Fox is one of the few tournaments that has been consistent.”
St Mary’s Rising, Claim Silver Fox Title
Remember these guys? St Mary’s was the NPH #1-ranked team in the nation in the pre-season #NPHTop25.
They entered the Henry Carr Early Bird, and got smacked upside the head, losing in a blowout to Eastern Commerce.
But things have changed.
On their way to the Silver Fox title, the #17-ranked Kitchener contingent picked up four quality victories over #NPHTop25 members, defeating #18 Bishop Reding 58-50, #6 St Francis 70-61, #15 Saltfleet 61-47 and #10 D’Youville 58-56.
I have always held firm to the fact that this St Mary’s squad is one of the most talented teams in the country.
In the championship game, first team all-star Tesloth Simon who carried his team to the championships, cooled off after putting up 30 and 27-point performances.
However, teammates Adham Eleeda, MVP Jamari Stephenson and Nathan Riley picked it up, playing a key role in the W.
Eleeda came off the bench to do what he does best– knock down threes. Riley kept multiple balls alive down the stretch to provide extra possessions, while Stephenson scored the game winning lay up to seal the deal.
D’Youville Battles with Seven Players
The D’Youville Panthers had an interesting weekend.
After ejections were made in the quarter-final game, the Panthers displayed resilience and togetherness on their way to the championship game.
The seven players simply ran out of gas in the championship. The coaching staff was pleased with their teams showing and they should be.
The biggest take a way for me on D’Youville? Keshon Montague is playing the best basketball that I’ve seen from him in two years.
Stronger, faster, better–playing with a high level of confidence.
Brebeuf Coming Out Party
Brebeuf went 3-1 on the weekend, defeating #11 Corpus Christi, #14 Oak Park 76-62, #19 MacNab with their only loss coming at the hands of #10 D’Youville.
SJB has a solid group, lead by a fundamentally sound PG in JR Calura, who impressed all weekend. Also in the back court is Mark Douglin and Michael Hamilton. Inside, Veron Kalonji is a defensive presence with his size and length at 6’7, while also contributing offensively in a number of ways.
Brebeuf is a well coached, competitive group with talent that is not to be underestimated.
Abu Kigab, Shai Alexander Pick up NCAA Offers
Canadian Coaches Jay McNeilly (Virginia Tech) and Nate Philippe (American) were in town to evaluate talent at the Silver Fox.
- Virginia Tech offered Abu Kigab of St Francis.
- American University offered Shai Alexander of McNab
2nd Team All Stars
J.R. Calura – St. Jean de Brebeuf (Hamilton)
Abu Kigab – St. Francis (St. Catharines)
Nick Pett – Saltfleet (Stoney Creek)
Nevell Provo – Pine Ridge (Pickering)
William Sesay – Oak Park (Winnipeg)
1st Team All Stars
Keshon Montague – St. Marguerite D’Youville (Brampton)
DamiAnn Prehay – St. Marguerite D’Youville (Brampton)
Tesloth Simon – St. Mary’s (Kitchener)
Chase Vassell – Pine Ridge (Pickering)
M.V.P. and 1st Team All Star
Jamari Stephenson – St. Mary’s (Kitchener)