Despite playing without stars Muctar Diaby and Tyrel Edwards, Team Braves almost squeaked out their first win of the season but came up short in the 64-63 outcome against the Halton Region Stars in one of five games played Friday in the North of the Border Basketball League.
The Braves got an outstanding 39-point performance from Terance Licorish (two assists, 14 rebounds, one steal). He was a dominant force throughout the entire game and the Halton Stars couldn’t find an answer for him. Licorish, who accounted for 62% of his teams points, began his dominate performance down low throughout the majority of the game before hitting three, three-point shots in a row in the second half of play.
Despite his thrilling performance the Braves let a five-point lead evaporate in the final minute of the game. Eric Weekes chipped in 10 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds for the Braves.
The Halton Stars got a boost from University of Ottawa guard Michael L’Africain, making his season debut. L’Africain nearly registered a triple-double tallying 12 points, 8 assists and 10 rebounds, to go along with 2 steals and a block. He controlled the tempo of the game, keeping his teammates involved throughout the contest and earned player of the game honours.
Halton’s star forward, Sean Nickel, was a force both inside and out. His ability to bang down long and stretch out to hit the three point shot is a huge asset for Halton. He topped all players in the five games with 15 rebounds to go along with 16 points. Teddy Tochev, of Spartak Pleven of the Bulgarian professional league, was on fire from long range and finished with 22 points, 3 rebounds and set the league record for three-pointers made in a game with 6.
Next up for Braves are the 2-1 Burlington Elite. The 2-0 Halton Region Stars will play the 1-2 Gaels.
The Gaels picked up their first win of the season, a convincing 68-48 performance over the Hamilton All-Stars. The Gaels seemed to find some team chemistry and were moving the ball extremely well. Every Gael playing on Friday was able to register a basket in the win.
The All-Stars came into the game looking to slow down Ryan Wright in the post and double-teammed him throughout the affair. Still, Wright was able to move the ball to find open shooters from the outside. Wright took player of the game honours with his 17 Points, 2 Assists and 14 Rebounds).
Malcolm Paul was hot from the field and registered 14 points. Kwbana Beckles had a strong all around game and chipped in with 12 points, 4 assists and 7 rebounds.
The Gaels knocked down a combined 7 three pointers in the win.
The Hamilton All-Stars received a strong contribution from University of Ottawa product Caleb Aganda (18 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks). The All-Stars struggled to find any rhythm on the offensive end. They depend heavily on the three-point shot, however, their accuracy was off and they couldn’t keep up with the Gaels fire power. Despite the strong play by Caleb, the All-Stars remain winless after three games.
The Hamilton All-Stars will have their hands full as they attempt to pick up their first win of the season against the undefeated 3-0 Crusaders.
In picking up their third win, a 79-58 decision over the Jayhawks, the Crusaders showed their brilliance from the tip and dominated the game.
The Crusaders charged from the starting gate, employing a full court press that was just too much for the young Jayhawks’ ball handlers to counter. The Crusaders also dominated in the rebounding department. The Crusaders were shooting hot from beyond the arch led by player of the week Victor Raso, who had 31 points, 5 assists and 7 rebounds) including 5 three-pointers.
The Jayhawks were lacking the defensive energy they displayed in their first game of the season. The team struggled to communicate and work as a team, leaving the Crusaders unguarded several times.
Daniel Williams had his coming out party of the season as he racked up 20 points. Xzennis Brereton continued his high light reel plays with another breathtaking dunk.
Player of the Game was Raso.
The 0-3 Jayhawks will have another tough game against the hot 2-1 Knights team. The Knights have won their last two games by 17-plus points.
The Knights latest victims were the Jaguars, who were mauled 78-40. The Knights got out to a quick start and never looked back. They are quickly becoming the best three-point shooting team in the league and are using that asset to their advantage. That, combined with an unselfishness to make the extra pass, provides them with countless clean looks from the field.
Arun Kumar was on fire for the Knights in the first half of play with five three pointers. Tyrell Vernon led all scorers with 25 points, to go along with 3 assists and 5 rebounds. Jerome Smith, in his debut, helped anchor a strong Knights’ backcourt with 12 points, 5 assists and 10 rebounds. Jermaine Decosta led all players this week with 9 assists. Zach Angelini, continued his strong in and out play with 11 points and 5 rebounds.
The Jaguars were without low post force Ryan Christie and were never able to find sustainable offense throughout the game. The Knights forced 11 turnovers which helped account for the Jaguars difficulties on the offensive end. The Jaguars shooting from the field struggled and with the Knights being too accurate, they were never able to gain traction in this contest.
Tresor Kalambay led the Jaguars players with 13 points and was the only player who could really get things going on the offensive end. Elvis Momat chipped in with 10 points, 3 assists and 7 rebounds and 2 steals.
Player of the Game was Tyrell Vernon (25 Points, 3 Assists and 5 Rebounds)
The (1-2) Jaguars will have their hands full against the (1-1) Mohawk team. This will be an exciting matchup as the Jaguars will look to find their stride against a Mohawk team that’s rested coming off of their bye week.
The most hard fought game of the night was between the Burlington Elite and the Badgers. After countless lead changes, highlight reel plays, several dunks and outstanding individuals performances the Badgers were able to edge the Burlington, 82-77, to remain undefeated on the season.
Burlington Elite continued its model of having several players filling up the box score. Jordan Clarke registered 17 points, 2 assists and 5 rebounds, Vadim Razenberg tallied 16 points 2 assists and 8 rebounds. Christian Coldea scored 16 points to go along with 7 rebounds and Malik Diaz chipped in with 10 points 2 assists and 4 rebounds, showing the overall team balance of Burlington Elite.
The Badgers received exceptional performances from their three stars, Cedric Kasongo, Tshing Kasamba and Meshack Lufile. Kasongo nearly registered a triple-double with 18 points, 8 assists and 11 rebounds. He controlled the floor for the Badgers and was able to set the tempo for the game.
Kasamba, after receiving player of the week accolades in Week 2, continued his strong play with 17 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds. Lufile was a commanding force down low and able to stretch his game out and hit a couple three-point baskets to really put pressure on the Burlington Elite defence. Lufile scored 24 points along with 1 assist, 8 rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks.
Player of the Game was Kasongo.
The 3-0 Badgers have a bye next week.
All games are played at Redeemer University College in Ancaster beginning at 5:45 p.m.