Jadyah Adams hit the game-winning shot with just under five seconds left to lead the Oakwood Barons to a comeback 72-70 victory over the David and Mary Thomson Titans in the city boys basketball semi-finals on Tuesday afternoon.
Barons found themselves down by nine points early in the fourth quarter at neutral Richview Collegiate when they battled back by scoring a series of points going to the rim for contested layups, as well as drawing fouls and converting on their free-throws.
They found themselves in a tie game with under 20 seconds to go, when Adam took matters into his own hands, taking an off-balance bank shot from the low block to score the winner with less than five seconds remaining.
“I always try to calm myself down … focus on myself, as if I was on the court by myself working on my finishing moves,” Adam said, of handling the pressure. “It’s just focus, it’s what my coaches and teammates tell me all the time, so I work on that a lot.”
With the victory, Oakwood advanced to the city final where they will take on the Richview Saints, on Thursday at Kerr Hall.
Adam clarified that despite the comeback, they were not satisfied with just advancing, and they want to win in the finals and advance to the OFSAA provincial tournament, in March.
“We’re not really done yet, and we’re ready to take the next step,” Adam said.
When speaking about the challenges they’ll face playing in the loud atmosphere of Kerr Hall, Adam pointed to taking everything stride by stride with his team.
“It’s gonna be crazy, a whole lot of noise, and we just got to play through that–me and my teammates, we do it together,” said Adam. “Everything is together.”
The comeback spoke to the mystique and culture of the Oakwood basketball program. The Barons had won the city championship just two seasons prior, and have a history of being one of the best teams year after year in Toronto.
In the regular season they had a +222 point differential, and were used to winning lopsided affairs. But then, in an unfamiliar situation down nine points in the fourth, they showed the resolve to bring the game back and win.
On the other side of the court, co-coach Jason Parsaud, of Thomson, was formerly with Oakwood. He went onto co-coach the Titans with Linda Manzo two seasons ago, and he came within less than a minute of upsetting his former team, when they were leading 68-67 thanks to Jahziah Bell’s three-point shot.
Oakwood plays again on Thursday for the city championship, when they take on the Richview Saints, who also came back from nine points down to win their semi-final match against the Northview Phoenix.
Richview lost to Central Toronto Academy (formerly Central Commerce) in the city final just a year ago, and will be looking for redemption.