The Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) kicked off their second official season this past week and already it has become clear that this will be one of the more competitive high school prep leagues in the country.
Opening night saw Athlete Institute’s two programs, A.I. Prep and Orangeville Prep, kick off their seasons against Bill Crothers and Thornlea S.S. respectively.
Orangeville Prep dominates Thornlea S.S. in home opener
Going into this season there were many questions surrounding Orangeville Prep after going through almost a complete roster shake up over the summer.
But with a brand new coaching staff headed up by Nathan Johnson, and the return of rising star Ignas Brazdeikis, all of those worries were put to rest after week one with a decisive 105-68 victory over Thornlea S.S.
Thornlea battled hard in the opening minutes and led by their star point guard, Jordan Henry, managed to build a 10-3 lead three minutes into the game. That, however, would be the only time Thornlea would hold a lead in the contest.
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Despite a herculean effort by the 5-foot-11 Henry, the Canadian junior national team point guard was never able to get Thornlea back within striking distance after the first quarter.
Meanwhile, Brazdeikis and the rest of Orangeville Prep managed to dominate the offensive glass and create tough matchups for the undersized Thornlea, outscoring the visiting team 57-28 in the second half.
A.I. Prep’s fourth quarter surge is enough to take out Bill Crothers
On a night that saw the first ever OSBA banner being risen to the rafters at Athlete Institute, Bill Crothers was looking to make a statement after a disappointing inaugural campaign in the OSBA last season.
What a statement they made.
Despite the loss, The Colts managed to lead almost wire-to-wire before some costly turnovers and timely buckets by A.I. Prep’s Jahvon Blair and Oshae Brissett in the fourth quarter, allowed A.I. Prep to eventually get the 86-80 win.
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Brissett was unquestionably the main reason A.I. got back into this game.
After going down 25-11 in the first quarter, Brissett used his athletic 6-foot-9 frame to get to the basket at will from the perimeter and managed to get most of his points from the line.
Bill Crothers wasn’t finished just yet though.
Despite A.I only being down by six at the half, the Colts were unfazed coming out of the break. With fantastic ball movement and led by Jayden Coke, Bill Crothers rebuilt a 17 point lead by the fourth quarter with just seven minutes left in the game.
That was when Brissett decided to flip the switch yet again, and along with the help of a couple Blair three’s and better overall defence, A.I. went on a 21-2 run to finish the game and steal the win.
Brissett finished with 28 points and eight rebounds, while Blair had 21 points along with three assists.
Despite the loss, Bill Crothers showed an amazing sense of composure throughout the entire game right to the end. Led by Jayden Coke and sharpshooter Jamal Mayali, expect this team to make some noise this year both in the regular season and in the showcase tournaments down south.
TRC Academy squeaks out an overtime win over Lincoln Prep
The final game of the week was yet another hotly contested tilt between Hamilton’s Lincoln Prep and Toronto’s TRC Academy.
Despite this being as close of a game as you can have, it is surprising to note that Lincoln Prep’s only lead in this game was 4-2 in the first quarter! From there on out, TRC Academy managed to hold the lead, but were far from in complete control.
By the half, TRC had built up a 52-39 lead and looked to build on that.
That was until Lincoln Prep, led by the white-hot shooting of Sam Jenkins and mid-range specialist Tafari Simms, managed to complete the comeback by the fourth quarter for the Hamilton Prep school.
With just 20 seconds to go, TRC Academy maintained possession with a chance for the last shot with the score tied at 88. Adong Makuoi managed to get to the basket with less than a second left, but Tafari Simms would manage to get the game saving block in a play that will be a very early candidate for play of the year.
In overtime, however, just like in regulation, Lincoln Prep was given chance after chance to take the lead, but was unable to do so. TRC Academy was finally able to put away their persistent opponents with the 102-98 victory.
Simms managed to show everyone that the mid-range jumper is not dead, hitting six consecutive jumpers in the face his defenders in the second half. Simms finished the night leading all scores with 33 points.
Meanwhile for TRC Academy, Brandon John was doing a little bit of everything with a number of crucial points, blocks, and rebounds down the stretch.
Other Scores from Week 1:
Southwest Academy def. King’s Christian Collegiate, 106-69
Thornlea S.S. def. Ridley College, 82-78
Other Notes Around the League:
- Orangeville Prep managed to capture the Father Henry Carr Early Bird Invitational title over the weekend. Ignas Brazdeikis led all scores averaging 29 PPG and collected tournament MVP honours.
- Thornlea almost exacted revenge on Orangeville Prep in the tournament final for their blowout loss earlier in the week, but fell 84-82 in double overtime.
- A.I. Prep announced the signing of 6-foot-7 point guard Addison Patterson to the team on Friday, he is now the only player on that team from the class of 2020.
All live streams, highlights, as well as player interviews are available on the OSBA TV channel on YouTube.