Canada Topflight Academy win a thriller 83-78 over GTA Prep to become the 2018 NPA National Champions!
CTA capture back to back national titles after winning the inaugural NPA season last year when they defeated London Basketball Academy.
Aiden Warnholtz took home Finals MVP with his 21 point outburst for CTA. Warnholtz was a consistent killer all game, making important shots from all over the floor. The 6’2 point guard had four made threes and was also able to get into the lane. Warnholtz finished the game grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out an assist. Earlier in the tournament, he was honoured with the NPA Academic Player of the Year, holding a 97% average in the classroom.
AJ Lawson led the way for GTA Prep, with 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Dondre Reddick scored 15 points of his own and Tristan Lindo added 13 points, all coming in the first half.
After the lineups were announced, Brampton City Councillor, Gurpreet Dhillon was honoured to throw the ceremonial opening tip off.
@NPACanada finals took place this evening and I was honoured to throw the ball up for the ceremonial tip off, as well an opportunity to welcome fans from across Canada to #Brampton! #brampoli #BallisLife @NorthPoleHoops pic.twitter.com/vz387xku5v
— Gurpreet Singh Dhillon (@gurpreetdhillon) March 4, 2018
The National Championship game got off to a very energetic start and that set the pace for the rest of this amazing battle.
CTA jumped out to an early 14-10 lead in the first quarter with their two guards, Warnholtz and Harris, getting into the lane and finishing.
GTA Prep guard, Tristan Lindo, with his team down by seven went on a personal 6-0 run at the end of the first with back to back and-1 plays.
Lindo continued to provide scoring for GTA Prep and even give them the lead late in the second quarter. The 6’3 guard attacked CTA down low and finished an easy lay up past Atik Gilao and on the next possession, Lawson found the hot hand behind the arc and Lindo splashed another three. GTA Prep up six over the defending champs.
The combination of Warnholtz and Harris did it all for CTA in the first half making sure they went into the break tied at 39.
A back and forth third quarter was highlighted when Lawson came down the floor and so effortlessly hit a three ball. CTA immediately came down the floor and found Muon Reath open in the corner and he answered with a three himself.
At the end of the third, Warnholtz became the standout performer. He got into the lane with his quick dribble moves and make shots from distance. With both Lawson and Ezeagu out of the game for the final two minutes of the third, CTA took advantage and held a 65-61 lead at the end of the quarter.
GTA Prep started going cold on the offesnive end of the floor and if it wasn’t for Ezeagu’s huge defensive plays and rebounds, CTA could have really pulled away.
Then came the hottest hand in the NPA tournament, Jevon Westcarth. Westcarth wasn’t making his shots early but came up big when CTA needed him. He hit a three that gave Tony House’s team an 11 point lead with 4:30 remaining. Then with two minutes left, Westcarth put a dagger into the hearts of GTA Prep when he knocked down another huge three to give his team a 79-69 lead.
Joshua Haughton gave GTA Prep a lifeline when he hit from beyond the arc to make it a seven point game with 30 seconds left and then off a steal, Lawson was fouled driving to the basket and made both free throws. 79-74 with 18 seconds.
GTA Prep just ran out of time. Westcarth made his shots at the charity stripe and then with 2.5 second left David Muila was fouled. He missed the first but is good on the second and the celebrations began!
— Devon Imrie (@devonimrie10) March 5, 2018
Canada Topflight Academy are back to back National Champions and take the hardware back to the 613 riding shotgun.
Thrilled to have my co-pilot join me for a return trip to the Capital. So proud of our @CanadaTopflight players and staff! #BackToBack #OttawaProud #Respect @NPACanada @ottawahoops pic.twitter.com/CvRzkXh7QO
— Tony House (@Tisinthehouse) March 5, 2018
Battle of the Bigs
Ezeagu was awarded as the NPA Defensive Player of the Year and the 6’10 center did not disappoint. Late in the second half, Ezeagu chased Muon Reath down in transition and blocked his lay up attempt off the backboard, and when Westcarth grabbed the rebound and went to take the ball to rim, Ezeagu stepped up in the lane and took a big time charge.
The two big men were battling for position and loose balls all game. A true heavyweight fight between two of the best centers in the NPA. Muila and Ezeagu both finished with multiple blocks and altering almost every shot around the rim.
Muila finished the game with ten points and 12 rebounds while Ezeagu scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds.
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Central Tech Claim 3rd Place
The Central Tech Blues dug deep and found the motivation to finish with the bronze medal. The Blues defeated the Notre Dame Hounds 89-80.
Raheim Sullivan was awarded the player of the game thanks to his 25 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
This is a wrap on NPA Season Two! An incredible year was topped off by an amazing National Championship weekend at Sheridan College.