Bballnationals Boys: Day 2

10:00am Games

Split Second U13 vs Vancouver Selects Green

Split Second led 10-5 with just under 10 minutes to go. The SS boys showed their strengths early on, including great passing rotation to keep the squad fresh on their feet--which translated well on the scoreboard, as they led by a huge 42-17 over Vancouver Selects Green after the first half.

In the second half, Split Second continued to show us their sheer grit by dominating defensively while also racking up the points. They put up 10 before Van Selects could sink just 1 point.

Split Second’s squad was nothing short of tenacious on the court; they took the win by a long shot with a final score of 86-32.

# 53 Grant Hill credits his team for moving the ball well in transition in order to take such a huge lead.

“I’m just excited to be here and watch other amaizng teams, too.”

Hill had 10 points for Split Second while Zach Zapanta had 20 for Vancouver Selects Green.

Northern Bounce vs Westshore Dawgs

The Dawgs broke out of the pound this morning, etching the first points on the board with a nice 4-0 run. But this game would prove to be fast-paced; Bounce stormed down the court with a flawless layup to follow. Much of the opening minutes showcased a tight battle between two energetic U13 teams. And oh boy, can these dudes steal!

Westshore stayed up 28-22 to finish the half.

The second saw a hungry Northern Bounce, who despite trailing the Dawgs, they stepped it up defensively and were able to make a run for points. Fortunately for Westshore, Northern Bounce could not ‘bounce’ back.

Westshore Dawgs claimed their first win of the day with a final score of 55-41 over Northern Bounce.

Live2Give vs Vancouver Selects Purple

This tightly contested game featured two teams who had fire in their eyes this morning! With much back-and-forth on the courts, Vancouver Selects Purple led slightly 28-24 at the half over Live2Give.

The rest of the game continued in Van Selects’ favour, UNTIL the very end where Live2Give played with intensity and heart. They nearly made the comeback of the morning with a run on the board, but sadly, it wasn’t enough.

Vancouver Selects Purple got the W with a final score of 58-55.

Dynamite U13 vs VanCity Basketball

VanCity and Dynamite faced off in the first game of the day. VanCity — the home team — raced out to an early 8-0 lead, and played gritty defence the rest of the first half. There was so much grit you would think there was sandpaper in their pockets. Dynamite got with within six early in the second half, but the handles from Kai Gibbons had his opponents on skates.

VanCity won 60-44 over the Dynamite in the end.

“Our team had really good teamwork” said Gibbons afterwards on how his team pulled off the ‘dub. “We had good passing, good ball movement, and really ran the floor.”

Northern Bounce U16 vs IEM Spartans

Northern Bounce kept it close to start, rebounding well on the defensive glass to limit the Spartans second chances. That seemed to spark the team from Prince George, as they trailed by just four points heading into the second half.

In the second half, the Spartans pushed the pace and really tried to blow the game wide open. But Northern Bounce was having nothing of it, trailing by just two points and on the verge of pulling off a huge win. It wasn’t to be however, as the Spartans got plenty of turnovers and turned them into points down the stretch. They took this one 64-48 in hard fought fashion.

“At first we started of kind of rusty” said the Spartans Keison Robinson. “[. . .] We just really needed to start to focus and buckle down. We went through a lot of troubles in the game, we just needed to focus and get it done.”

Edmonton StormHawks vs WolfPack

The StormHawks seemed overwhelmed to start, as the WolfPack quickly got out to an 19 point lead. It extended to 30 at halftime, and in the second half it was more of the same. The WolfPack chewed up the StormHawks 63-27.

“I feel like we played better defence today” said the WolfPack’s Abdi Osman afterwards. “We executed all our plays well. We played hard, we fought hard, and we all did good.”

11:15am Games

Spotters vs NexGen

This matchup proved to be closer than some would have imagined, with Spotters keeping a close trail to NexGen--who led 37-34 at the end of the first half.

Though NexGen kept the lead in the second, Spotters were determined to catch up. They trailed by just 5 points with under 10 minutes remaining in the game. Both teams wanted the win; but in the end, NexGen was too hot to handle! They defeated Spotters 79-62.

NexGen’s Matt Ogie put up 23 massive points for his team.

MacHoops Basketball U15 vs Red Rush

Red Rush came out strong in the first, leading 13-8 in the first five minutes of play. They continued to pressure and add points to the board, up 33-25 over MacHoops by the end of the half.

The second half boosted Rush well above their opponent, defeating MacHoops by a final score of 81-42.

Standout players include Red Rush’s # 10 and # 11, with a combined 23 points; while Van’s # 26 dropped 10 points of his own.

Northwest Basketball vs Grassroots Elite

Grassroots Elite completely owned the ball in the opening minutes. They boxed out Northwest on nearly every one of their possessions, going on a 23-0 run. Three dunks on the game already, by the way.

Northwest gained a bit of speed and finally dropped in 2, but the domination continued as Grassroots went rogue on the court. They put up another 20 points before the Spartans grabbed another 2. After a total spanking in the first half, Elite led 51-4.

In hopes of turning this ship around, Northwest gained a bit of traction with # 8 Kevin Hunter making another layup to start the second. Most of the opening minutes were defensively strong on both ends of the court; the Spartans only allowed 4 points from their opponent in the first five minutes of play.

Despite a bashing in the first, Northwest kept their cool and held Grassroots to far less points in the final half. The Spartans showed up to this battle in the end, clutching up on their FGs and defending well against some scary dunk attempts, too.

Grassroots Elite claimed their first win of the day with a final score of 76-14.

Northwest’s Hunter says despite the loss, it was fun to play against a team like Grassroots.

“Literally, even though we lost a lot, it was actually quite fun to know what’s in the higher level and what’s awaiting for when we progress in our basketball career.”

Hunter had 11 points for Northwest while # 22 Elijah Fisher popped in 16 points for the Elite.

Shooting Stars vs Doggpound Hoops

Two great teams faced off in this one, as both were coming off convincing wins in day one of bballnationals. Doggpound managed to get a three point lead midway through the first half, and played tenacious defence to force the Shooting Stars into a few shot clock violations. They went on a run to close it out.

The second half saw the Doggpound pound the boards and dominate the glass. The Shooting Stars were able to counteract this by getting quick buckets off the fast break. This strategy — mixed in with the occasional three — got them to within two points with 5:30 to play.

Both teams traded baskets for a few minutes, before the Doggpound really keyed in on this strategy and started neutralizing it. At one point, Doggpound players were almost acting like safeties. Final score was 66-61 and the Doggpound move to 2-0.

“We forced [Salal Sandhu] and doubled him, made sure he didn’t get the ball” said the Doggpound’s Jonathan Barnett on his team’s strategy. “We forced a lot of turnovers that way.”

Isaac Simon of the Doggpound had 19 points, while Sandhu had 18 for the Shooting Stars.

Dynamite U14 vs Northern Bounce U15

Northern Bounce took the initiative to start, scoring 8 unanswered off the opening tip-off and playing tough defence — the Dynamite managed to score just 15 points in the opening half. The second half saw more of the same, as Northern Bounce executed well on offence and forced what seemed like turnover after turnover. Northern Bounce took this one 61-29.

“After a big loss last time we came in with the mindset that we have to win this game” said Northern Bounce’s Emmanuel Adefisayo, referencing his team’s loss to GrassRoots. “To be able to be in the top eight in Canada, that’s pretty big for us especially coming from a small city like Prince George.”

Edmonton Stormhawks vs Dynamite U15 Red

The Dynamite scored 17 points in the first six minutes, and continued to push the pace throughout the first half. The StormHawks simply couldn’t keep up with the speed of all the Dynamite players.

It was 38-14 after the first half, but the StormHawks went on a 14-2 run to give themselves a chance going down the stretch. They got their deficit to just nine late, and it looked as if the StormHawks were going to pull off the huge upset. A quick 7-2 run for the Dynamite quickly erased that notion, and they ended up winning 63-46.

“They started pressing in the second half” said the Dynamite’s How Wu on the changes from the StormHawks. “But we managed to break it every time and got some easy buckets.”

Wu also says he and his teammates are looking forward to play GrassRoots at some point during the tournament.

12:30pm Games

Split Second vs Vancouver Selects Purple

In this first pool matchup between Split Second and Vancouver Selects Purple, both teams played a fairly equal game early in the half. That’s before the Cobras sank their teeth into the heart and soul of the boys in Purple. They charged ahead 39-18 at the end of the half.

Despite a hard-fought battle in the paint, Split Second handed the Vancouver Selects--Purple this time around--another L on the day. The final digits: 78-44.

VanCity Basketball vs Vancouver Selects Green

Alright, on the cuteness level, VanCity definitely takes the cake. Though (mostly) smaller than Vancouver Selects Green, these little dudes were like rockets on the floor! They shot ahead of their opponents early on, but the Selects did not back down from a challenge. They rocked the floor to come back to within just 2 points, with VanCity leading 28-26.

Vancouver Selects Green went HAM this half! They blasted points onto the board, taking the lead for the first time over VanCity early in the second. Selects showed promising ball control while utilizing a strong zone D in order to stay up.

After flipping the switch and avoiding a near loss, Vancouver Selects Green defeated VanCity Basketball 63-58.

Zach Zapanta had another phenomenal game, scoring 18 points for his team.

“Well, we worked harder, worked more in the press, found our guys and continued to move the ball quickly,” Zapanta said about Van’s epic comeback.

Live2Give vs Westshore Dawgs

It was another hot start for the Westshore U13s, as they got out to a 19-6 lead halfway through the game. But Live2Give would not go down without a fight, going on a 22-10 run and getting right back in it — they were only down by three at the half-time break.

It was a nail biting finish — both teams were tied at 57 with just two and a half to play. Westshore took the lead via two clutch free throws, and Westshore drove to the hoop for the layup. The Drama wasn’t done there as Live2Give drained a deep three to tie the game up at 63.

It all came down to free throws from Live2Give. With 14 seconds on the clock and with two shots from the line, they couldn’t convert. Westshore would ice it at the line themselves, and win 67-63.

“We did really good at the end” said Westshore’s Aman Parmar. We were doing well at the start, and we kind of slowed down. We started to scream defence, get the team motivated, and pulled out the ‘dub.”

Dynamite vs Northern Bounce

The Mini Dynamite’s had it tough against Northern Bounce, as it was close early on. Dynamite used a fast break offence to take the lead however by the end of the first half.

To start the second, 5 from Northern Bounce had a brilliant coast to coast effort. But that was probably the only highlight of the half for his team, as the Dynamite converted plenty of turnovers into easy layups.

“We just tried our best” said the Dynamite’s Christiaan Oosthuizen, who had a three at the end that sent his teammates into a frenzy. “We got rebounds, we just did everything.”

1:45pm Games

NexGen vs StormHawks A Johnson

These NexGen U17s meant business this afternoon! They opened up the game with a massive 17-0 run over the StormHawks. Eventually the Hawks found their stride and broke the run; although, exhaustion seemed to plague them late in the first. NexGen went on that NexLevel shiz and locked in a solid 46-9 heading into the second.

With a whole lot of boards and seemingly effortless layups, NexGen won their 3rd match of the tourney with a final score of 76-26.

Player of the Game # 1 Christian Liwanag says his team focused on transition to insure a win. He’s not scared of the competition at hand, either:

“Elijah Fisher, we comin’!”

Salmon Arm Synergy vs VanCity Basketball

It was a battle of the U17s in the South as Salmon Arm Synergy looked to take out VanCity Basketball. The boys in green put up 3 points first, but VanCity clapped back with 3 of their own--making it look as though this would be a tight game. Which near the midway point of the half, Synergy kiboshed that notion. They led 18-4 with 10 minutes remaining--which improved to 37-24 to close out the half.

VanCity must have drank some hot sauce during halftime, because they were on fuego in the second! They even tied it all up with a life-saving 3 late in the half. The rest of the game drew an audience, sparking “ooo’s” and “ahh’s” from all over the court.

With under one minute remaining and 1 point separating the two teams, VanCity had a shot at the foul line for two--which they made both and took a slight lead over Synergy.

After a final time out call, Synergy took the ball into their end and went ahead, again (and one). The score was 61-59 with 17.8 seconds left on the clock.

VanCity found the basket and BOOM this game was heading into OT!

With a dynamic crowd that seemed to grow larger with every play, this fierce battle saw both teams claw for points with moments of joy and despair felt on each end of the court. Dubbed as the game of the day (on the North/South side, at least), VanCity climbed back on top and defeated Synergy 71-64 in thrilling OT fashion.

# 20 Jan Mirabel had this to say about VanCity’s clutch comeback win:

“We just had to hustle, face-guard them, and play tight on them. We made them think a lot, so they were bound to mess up.”

Dynamite U16 vs North Stars

Both team’s strategy was to spread the floor, and both teams traded deep threes to start this contest. North Stars battled back from an early hole to lead 22-19, and from then on it was possession to possession basketball — highlighted by the battle between Dima Gadashev and Tre Gibson.

It was still a three point game in the second half when Dima put in work. He grabbed a rebound hanging from the top of the rim, then went down the floor for two points. That started a run for his team that appeared to give his team breathing room, and down the stretch the Dynamite simply let their bigs go to work. Dynamite would take this one 85-74.

“Bigs running up and down the floor is really important” said the Dynamite Ethan Fung. “If bigs get down the floor, get offensive rebounds, puts back buckets, that really elevates the team mentality. We just want to keep playing like that.”

Fung had 25 points for his team, while Gadashev had 16, 15 of which came in the second half.

Northern Bounce U17 vs Calgary Storm

The Storm’s size advantage was apparent early, as they bullied their way inside against Northern Bounce for second chance opportunities. Although both teams certainly tried to score, it ended up being a low scoring, 26-21 first half.

Calgary came out to play after the break, going on a 16-8 run that really started to separate them from their opponents. Their bigs continued to dictate their will on the game — as a result, the Storm ended up winning 55-39.

“[We] started the game lacking on defence” said the Storm’s Jansen Ranas. “But then we picked that up and that’s what started getting our shots.”

The Calgary Storm will next play GrassRoots in an exhibition game.

3:00pm Games

MacHoops vs Bata Sports

In a tight game to start, MacHoops went neck-and-neck with Bata, somehow keeping a tiny lead over their opponent right up until the final seconds flew off the clock. BUT slow your roll peeps--this half was going to Bata Sports who surpassed their opponent by 2 points to finish the opening 16 minutes.

Bata went into beast mode and eventually took a nearly impassable lead; however, MacHoops went into overdrive and came to within just 2 points after being down almost 20! With 15 seconds to go, Bata led 73-71.

And that would be the final score of the game, as MacHoops missed their last shot at redemption.

Bata’s # 8 hit 5 treys in second, finishing the match with 20 points for his team.

Westshore Dawgs vs IEM Spartans

Lots of energy to start this game: IEM Spartans began the game with a 5-0 run; Westshore Dawgs barked back, though. But their bark just wasn’t as big as their bite. The Spartans led the half 38-22.

Though Westshore had a hype morning game, they just didn’t seem to show up in this one. The IEM Spartans were victorious with a final score of 76-50 over the Dawgs.

For the second time today, Keisaun Robertson was named Player of the Game.

“Really, today we came in with a mindset of we have to destroy everyone we play because this competition is. We [came] from Toronto and we don’t know anyone. So we’re really just looking to push the pace and kill everytime we step on the court.”

North Stars vs Shooting Stars

Liam Rietschin started the game with two alley-oops, which jolted up his teammates like a can of Red Bull. Not only that, but it seemed to drive them the rest of the half, as the North Stars constantly pushed the ball up the floor against a beleaguered looking Shooting Stars side.

After a 44-18 first half, the North Stars just simply did what they did in the first half — their opponents simply had no answer for it. North Stars scored 35 unanswered and blew this game wide open, 101-31.

“At first, we were a bit rough” said North Star’s Marlon Valentine, who had 4 points and many highlight reel assists. “We kind of underestimated the other team, and let them get easy buckets. But coach made us smarten up and we got what we had to do done.”

Rietschin had 28 points, while his teammate Quinton McCarthy had 13.

WolfPack vs CBA Cobras

The WolfPack were coming off a very convincing win against the StormHawks, but that didn’t help much against CBA. The Albertans smacked the team from Whitehorse early, getting 40 points by the 3:30 mark. There wasn’t much relief in the second half, as continued to pound the paint and get buckets inside. CBA would take this one 79-32 and continue to prove that they are one of the best teams in the U17 division.

“It was a tough one” said CBA’s Matthias Alison after the game. “We were really focusing on our offence. We kind of scrambled a bit but we came together and ran our plays. It worked out for us in the end.”

4:15pm Games

Dynamite U15 Black vs Burnaby Knights

The Burnaby Knights came out in some shiny armour this half, defending extremely well off the jump and being the first to put up points against Dynamite U15 Black. Like a stick of Dynamite, the boys in red went off with a bang and pressured their opponents deep in the half to claim the lead--and keep it--for the duration of the half. They were up 31-19 looking onto the last half of the game.

After a humdinger of a second, Dynamite lit it up yet again. Though the Knights duked it out and played a mean-muggin’ O and D line, Dynamite blew up in points. They defeated the Knights 65-39.

“We stopped turning the ball over and just kept pushing the ball,” said POG # 16 Adrian Fong from dynamite U15 Black on the solid team win. “We’re playing the post and getting easy buckets.”

Northern Bounce vs Rock Elite

Northern Bounce hit the boards first with a sniper 2, but Rock Elite pounded back with 4 points, which only went WAY up from there. Well, not all the way up. But they stayed ahead of Bounce by 32-21 after the first half.

This game escalated quickly into that of a Rock-Paper-Scissors match: with Rock Elite obviously as Rock and Northern Bounce as Scissors (sorry for the punny analogy). In a way, Rock Elite smashed those Scissors senseless, to the point where Bounce could not bring it back. With too many field goals missed and too many defensive plays broken up, Northern Bounce fell short of the win.

Rock Elite were victorious for third time overall at bballnationals! The final digits: 60-42.

# 24 Ethan Vey had an exceptional game for his team, with impressive communication and leadership on the floor.

“We’re all just staying positive,” he said about his teammates. “Fighting through everything that’s not going our way--there’s a lot of things not going our way, but we keep pushing through. Just staying together and not getting down on each other.”

Spotters vs MacHoops Basketball U15

In their final matchup of the day, both U15 teams wanted the W! Spotters came out guns blazin’ with a quick 6-0 run. As soon as MacHoops got hot, they went for 13 unanswered points right back at ‘em.

In fact, MacHoops never lost the lead for the duration of the game. They stayed a few steps ahead of Spotters, defending well and moving the ball with ease. Each player contributed to the win with a final score of 60-51.

MacHoops # 5 Marco Esteban had 17 points, while Spotters # 5 Eli Smith had 16.

Dynamite U16 vs StormHawks

The Dynamite started this one on a 17-8 run and then scored 16 straight to take a 33-8 lead late in the first half. The StormHawks players had some nice individual baskets, the Dynamite’s explosive offence still ran on all cylinders throughout the second half. Final score was 87-51.

“Our team just came out here to play” said the Dynamite’s Wilson Yu. “We just hit the shots and we came out aggressive.”

Yu had 16 points for the Dynamite, including four trey’s.

Red Rush vs NextGen U15

The Red Rush and NextGen were close early, but a 13-4 run by the team from Quebec gave them a 28-12 lead midway through the half. The second half saw the Red Rush play brilliant team basketball, moving the ball one could say at a rushed pace and setting themselves up for easy bucket after bucket. The Red Rush would clean up 82-49.

Afterwards, Red Rush’s Jalan Davis did not hold back when asked what chance he had against the team him and his teammates wanted to play, the mighty GrassRoots:

“100%” he simply said.

NextGen U17 vs VanCity

Two of the top teams in the bracket played a back and forth, super entertaining game. Although NextGen got out to an early lead, VanCity answered right back with a run of their own to take the lead right back. Both teams traded points the rest of the half which just flew by, as either side really pushed the pace.

VanCity started the second half on a small run and began to create some separation after that. A great pass from 5 to 15 on two straight possessions gave VanCity their first double digit leads of the night, and a brilliant spin move from 15 seemed to give their team all the momentum.

But don’t count this NextGen team out. They had one last push in them, cutting the lead down to six before VanCity finished the game off and won.

“It was just our energy from the start” said VanCity’s Hanz Paloma on how his team got the win.

Daniel Shokanayad had 14 second half points for VanCity.

5:30pm Games

Westshore Dawgs vs Northern Bounce U16

Right off the jump, this game was nearly on par with both teams hitting the 20s before the end of the first. Bounce, however, covered their men like orange on a basketball, giving Northern ample opportunities to turnover and lay it up. They led 38-24 after the half.

Coach Kevin Brown must have lit a fire under his Dawgs because they woke up in this half and kept control of the ball when needed, while also closing the point deficit to within just 5 of Northern Bounce. With time running out, the Dawgs let their climb slide as Bounce went further out of reach.

Taking their last W of Day 2 at Bballnationals, Northern Bounce defeated Westshore Dawgs 66-53.

Jordan Foster, who was named Player of the Game for the second time in this tourney, had 25 points for Bounce.

“I think our program focuses on ball movement and using the whole team instead of just a couple players.”

He says his squad is ready for redemption against the IEM Spartans, whom they lost to earlier today.

IEM Spartans vs MacHoops U17

Yet another close one with the Spartans holding just a tiny lead over MacHoops in the first. Literally, they inched ahead by 1 point at any given moment. Up until around the five-minute mark, where IEM crept ahead even more. Digits at the half: 29-22.

Though MacHoops kicked it up a notch in the final minutes of play, it ultimately was not enough. The IEM Spartans improved to 4-0 on the tournament by defeating MacHoops 65-49.

# 12 Lucas Ramagnano, who had 15 points for his team, had this to say post-game:

“Honestly, our defense has been crazy! This is a new group, so we got some nice shooting from everybody around. And I think everybody was just doing their part. Everybody came out there and kept up with the intensity of everybody else.”

Ramagnano says he awaits the chance to play North Stars, another team from Toronto who he’s played against with other clubs, too.

CBA Cobra U17 vs North Stars U17

With an icy first half by CBA, the Cobra’s speed and ability in the paint put them up real fast. # 6 Griffin Sharkey already punched in 10 of his own points for his team, allowing for them to lead 27-19 over the North Stars.

In the second half, CBA continued to lead, up until the final moments of the game where North Stars had a chance to take it all. But after foul trouble, they missed their 3 and lost the game to the Cobras.

CBA took the last win of the day with a final score of 56-54 over the North Stars.

North Stars vs StormHawks

A NextGen 14-3 run was the catalyst for a dominant first half from the Ontario team. They kept up the pressure in the second, and breezed to a comfortable win over the StormHawks from Edmonton.

“It was working together” said the North Star’s Ali Sheli on what the key to the game was. “Trusting each other, creating shots, and putting up defence.”

Shooting Stars vs StormHawks

This game was perhaps the closest of any of the games on day two — at least to start. The StormHawks took a two point lead late in the first frame via a Pawar fast break point and both teams decided to alternate between scoring the rest of the half, before the Stars went on a mini run to take a seven point lead.

Although the StormHawks looked like they could take this game in the first, the second half was a different story. The Shooting Stars forced tons of turnovers from their opponents — most of them in the opposition’s half. Final score was 86-59, as the Shooting Stars turned it on in the second half.

“Hit your shots” said Nicholas Berda on what was said at halftime to inspire the comeback. “Push the pace.”

Calgary Storm vs Dynamite

The Storm weathered the storm of Dynamite’s fast break offence, taking a 36-30 lead into the half. It ended with a bang from the Dynamite though, as Dima Gadashev threw down a monster slam that sent his bench into a roar.

It was a six point game just a few minutes into the second half before the Dynamite showed why they are one of the favourites in the U17 bracket. They got to within a single point, but the Storm proceeded to go on a 15-3 run to close this one out 70-57.

Written by: Nick Bondi and Crystal Scuor