TORONTO – Jahvon Blair scored 31 points as Team White defeated Team Red 120-118 in the 2016 Biosteel All Canadian Basketball Game on Monday.
Blair, a native of Brampton, scored a remarkable 18 fourth quarter points to lead the White squad’s comeback. The class of 2017 guard was appropriately awarded the game’s MVP honours.
Matur Maker, brother of top prospect Thon Maker, and Isiaha Mike each chipped in with double-doubles in Team White’s victory. Maker had 13 points and 10 rebounds, while, Mike scored 18 points and collected 12 rebounds.
Team White overcame poor three-point shooting in the opening quarters, making only 26 per cent of their shots from deep in the first half. The second half was a different story where they shot the ball at a 47 per cent rate from beyond the arc. That proved to be the difference maker.
Despite leading for the majority of the game, Team Red struggled to put the opposition away at the charity stripe. The red side shot a measly 44 percent from the free throw line in the second half.
O’Shae Brissett and Kalif Young put together impressive scoring nights for Team Red, as both forwards reached the 20-plus point plateau. Jerome Desrosiers recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
In a gritty fourth quarter performance, both teams went shot for shot as the game drew down to its final seconds.
The Red team held the lead until the final minute of the game where a couple of clutch shots and a crucial steal sealed the win for Team White. However, Team Red had their opportunities with under 10 seconds to go, but after a couple of bricks at the foul line solidified their fate as the losing squad.
Whatever the coach told them in the locker room must’ve worked because Team White managed to get a lead for the first time since the early stages of the first half. A three by Godwin Boahen put White up by one, but the lead was short-lived as Anthony Longpre sank a jumper on the Red team’s next possession.
Team Red was able to restore an 89-84 lead with the strong quarter by Oakville native Ignas Brazdeikis, who had eight points in the frame.
The Red team came out of the gates on fire going on a 11-4 run, thanks in part to Brissett and Young who had five and four points during that stretch, respectively.
The White squad had a tough time generating any offense throughout the first frame shooting 34 per cent from the field, with highly touted prospect Maker failing to make an impact with the ball in his hands. The native of Australia had zero points on 0-for-2 shooting.
Team Red ended the first stanza with a slim 33-25 lead.
Team White opened the second quarter with some quality looks from Mike, who almost single handedly brought the White squad back even. They were able to get the score to within five points.
Mike scored nine points in the quarter and finished the half leading all players with 16 points.
The Red team managed to escape the half with a 60-53 lead, thanks to Brissett, Young, and Koby McEwen, who finished the half with a combined 31 first-half points. Team Red led for a total of 22:49 in the first half, while the White team led for only 00:10.
Team Red dominated the glass in the first half collecting 41 rebounds to Team White’s 30. Desrosiers, class of 2017 small forward, entered double figures with 10 rebounds to lead all players at half.