Grade 8 Division Heats up Going into Third Session This Weekend
The grade 8 division at the signature league continues to develop as teams are starting to come alive, and the entire landscape for the division is starting to take place.
With many fierce battles, and competitive match-ups, here is what I took from the second session.
The game of the session belonged to Halton Basketball and Scarborough Blues, as Halton were able to stay a perfect 4-0 handing the Scarborough Blues their first loss of the season.
Andrew Loyluk, a NPH Showcase alumni and 2023 PG out of Windsor, Ontario, led Halton with 27 points en route to a 93-86 victory over SBA.
The first quarter was a tough one for Scarborough as they found themselves trailing 30-11. Halton was first to the punch and to were able to convert on crisp ball movement and playmaking converting on four early three pointers.
The rest of the second quarter went much the same as Halton found themselves going into the half with a 53 to 36 lead.
Scarborough was able to claw and battle back as they managed their own run this time, outscoring Halton 30 to 18 in the third.
This push was led by Jaiden Cole who put up 12 of his 24 in the quarter converting in the lane as well as hitting on two threes.
Cole is an impressive prospect in the class as he stands at 6’3, has the ability to handle the ball, with solid shooting mechanics and is tough defensively.
However, the fourth belong to the aforementioned Loyluk.
The herky-jerky PG put up 13, as he attacked the rim restlessly with a mix of fierce aggression and poetic grace, showing off his ability to consistently beat his man off of the dribble and finish inside.
Max Voorpool of SBA, and Jalen Albano of Halton also played well, putting up 25 and 11 respectively.
Voorpool is fourth in the league in scoring at 21.8 and did most of his damage in the latter end of the halves, scoring 18 points in the 2nd and 4th quarters combined.
A crafty guard, Max is a silent assassin often lighting up the score sheet without flash or flare, he just simply, and efficiently, gets the job done.
Albano is 13th in the league in scoring at 14.5 PPG, and is a knock down shooter canning all three of his threes in the first quarter.
The game was a pleasure to watch as both team put up a combined 179 points on the board, the highest combined scoring match-up of the season
The highlight of the weekend came from another NPH Showcase Alumni in London, Ontario stud Dominic Kanters.
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Dominic Kanters (c/o 2023) @d.kanters of @compassbball buries @vaughanbasketball with the buzzer beater @signatureleague – 51-50. Kanters, a NPH Showcase Alum, is a rising prospect in the class. Tough shot maker who is sneaky athletic. With improvement in his handle, and court vision he will be a force in HS. #gamespeaks #maximizepotential #NCAA #london @northpolehoops #buzzerbeater
The mad scramble at the end saw the lose ball land perfectly in Kanters hands before he was able to score the basket just as the final buzzer sounded.
Compass, led by Kanters 21 points, were able to escape with a 51-50 victory over the Vaughn Panthers.
For Vaughan it was truly a heartbreaker as they just narrowly missed their opportunity to capture their first victory of the season. Julius Joseph-Brown led the Panthers with 20.
Other action from the league included a Grassroots team who were able to remain undefeated despite the fact that they were missing their key players in Elijah Fisher, Mikkel Tynes, and Alijah Canning.
Others like Darrius Sylvester Talbot, Junior Poyser and Terry Ofori stepped up for the club as Grassroots completed the second session a perfect 2-0, winning their games by an average of 28.5 PPG.
The Waterloo Wildhawks are off to a 3-1 start as Jacob Theodosiou continues to impress. The 2024 prospect (playing one year up) is currently leading the league in scoring at 29.3 PPG.
His teammate, Nate Chan, also isn’t too far in the scoring race currently ranking 6th at 21 PPG.
Two other prospects that really stuck out this weekend were Jahsemar Olembe from UPlay and Dawson Matsell from Blessed Sacrement.
This was my first time seeing Olembe since the CNIT and boy was he impressive. Adding more aggression and explosion into his game, this 6’3 PG looks like he is ready to start dunking everything.
Matsell was also very fun to watch as the 6’3 guard netted 26 points in the Yellow Jackets win over Compass. Matsell combines a very smooth shooting stroke, with a great off the dribble package, and is always looking to get his teammates involved.
This weekend will mark the third session of the Signature League and al information can be found at the Signature Leagues website, here.