The 2019 BioSteel All Canadian Boys Game is meant to be an All-Star-type basketball event where each player showcases their high-level talent in order to stand out amongst the country’s elite.
In the competition’s fifth iteration, it did not disappoint.
Addison Patterson, who won his squad’s MVP award, scored 24 points as Team Red defeated Team White 131–120 in a highlight-filled contest at the Goldring Centre on Sunday night in Toronto.
“It was definitely just about having fun hooping with these guys,” Patterson said, afterwards. “You just have to soak up these moments. The MVP’s nice but the best part was just enjoying the time with my guys.”
It wasn’t difficult to see that joy in Patterson’s game. In the waning minutes of the final frame, he flew down the floor and delivered a crisp behind-the-back pass to Keon Ambrose-Hilton for a slam dunk that drew a deafening roar from the crowd.
“You know,” Patterson said with a smile, “I saw the dude guarding me and I saw Keon coming down the lane, his eyes were bright so I had to hit him. I knew he was gonna punch that.”
Team White wasn’t quite done yet, though, and managed to cut an 11-point lead to two on an Emanuel Miler and-one finish that capped off a 12–3 run with 1:11 to play.
Rahmir Moore, a key part of his squad’s third quarter run, came down the floor on the next possession and was immediately fouled, going to the line in the bonus to put up Team Red by four with a minute to go.
To seal the deal after a missed Jahcobi Neath triple, Taryn Todd drove hard in semi-transition, got fouled, and sank two dagger free throws to increase the lead to six with 42.5 remaining.
Todd, one of the lesser-talked-about players prior to the game, finished with 23 points of his own in a dominant display of athleticism and efficiency.
Despite the loss, Saturday’s Slam Dunk champ Neath posted 21 points and won the MVP for Team White. He showed off his raw leaping prowess, relentless rebounding skills, and slippery ability to get to the basket at will.
“I would say my downhill attacking,” Neath said, when asked about what parts of his game transfer well to a higher level. “I feel like I can beat guys off the dribble almost when I want to, create for others and create for myself.
“I would say getting to the rim and playmaking are probably my best ability that will work well in the NCAA.”
It was in the third quarter that momentum shifted for Neath and his team, with their 63–52 halftime lead evaporating as Team Red blew them away thanks to sudden outbursts from guys like Moore and Todd, outscoring them 45–27 in the frame to set things up for the tight finish down the stretch.
“The fourth quarter in any game,” Neath said, “the intensity definitely turns up and guys start playing harder. That’s what you saw tonight. It shows how composed everyone is.
“Some guys might get rattled under pressure, some guys might play well.”
Going into the half, the two teams displayed a quick pace, attempting to push the ball after every made basket to score on the other end, leading to a plethora of turnovers (10 for Team White; 11 for Team Red). Even so, Team White was able to pull away by virtue of strong rim protection and a relentless attack of the paint in the half-court.
Even through the first 24 minutes, it was Patterson who was most impressive, scoring an efficient 17 points on 6–11 shooting in 13 minutes.
“I have the highest level of respect for all these guys,” Patterson added after the game. “I know how much work they all put in, and we all respect each other. Jahcobi’s my brother and I’m happy for him.
“It’s a group effort, for sure. It’s definitely a group effort bringing up Canadian basketball, and I think we’re doing a great job.”
Notes: Neither Sabry Philip nor Cashius McNeilly were able to suit up to play, though they were initial invites to the event … Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe won the 2019 Boys Canadian Player of the Year award