When Cameron Brown received the Toronto District Secondary School Athletic Association (TDSSAA) East region championship trophy, he raised it with fervent enthusiasm.
The David & Mary Thomson Titans had just captured their third consecutive region title, dominating the Winston Churchill Bulldogs 82-42 last Thursday afternoon.
For Brown this victory meant something more.
He showed his energy, every time he stepped on the floor, which propelled the Titans to the city championship semi-finals.
“We put a lot of work over the season,” said Thomson, after the game. “From early mornings and late practices, we took care of business today and I am just proud we got it done.”
Brown’s basketball journey began playing for the Scarborough Blues. Since 1996, the Blues have provided kids an opportunity to develop their skills through their various house, select, and rep leagues.
Growing up in Scarborough, Brown turned to the Blues to get involved with basketball at a young age. It also allowed Brown to meet Jahziah Bell, who later became his teammate on the Thomson Titans.
The chemistry that Brown and Bell share on the floor is infectious.
“I got his back and he’s got mine,” said Brown. “We grew up together and it’s a brotherhood. We talk to each other, pass to each other, and share blood on the court.”
Brown relies on Bell’s basketball IQ in critical moments of games. In the East final, the Titans got down 12-5 early to the Bulldogs.
Brown was never worried. He and Bell both locked in defensively, employing the Titans’ “box and one” and “double team” schemes. Bell forced turnovers, where he found Brown wide-open in transition to score easy baskets.
In the second half, Bell often set up Brown in the paint, where he used his length and athleticism to dunk over the Bulldogs defenders. Brown’s 18 points, combined with Bell’s 30, allowed the Titans to overcome their early struggles to capture the three-peat.
It is Brown’s hustle, according to Titans co-coach Linda Manzo, that increases the confidence of the entire team in big games.
“Cameron is our energy guy,” said Manzo. “He’s found his niche on who he can be on the court. Last year, he was trying to force being a shooter. Now, he is the board man.”
While Brown’s jubilation was evident after the Titans beat the Bulldogs, his sights are set higher. For the last three seasons, Thomson has made it to the city semifinals, only to lose in that game.
In just two years with the Titans, Brown has gone from being a rookie to one of the most impactful players on the team.
As he awaits a matchup against the Oakwood Barons on Tuesday, the Titans forward believes in his squad’s ability to avenge last year’s semi-final loss.
So he can have the chance to hoist a different type of trophy.
“It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of effort, trust, and loyalty,” said Brown on what is required for the Titans to make the city finals. “From the jump, we have to get on the opposing team and attack.”