To kick off the third annual 5-week Crown League basketball tournament in Toronto, Northern Kings and ONE Love T.O were the first of six teams to face off at Kerr Hall at Ryerson University.
In the battle to “Claim the Crown,” the crowd was filling in as the game started behind schedule and video introductions were played on screens behind the stands, which were put up in the gym specifically for this event.
To show the city how it’s done, One Love T.O took the 69-58 win over Northern Kings. 2017 NBA G-League champion from the Raptors 905 Brady Heslip was the player to watch with 28 points, five boards, and two steals. Kevin Thomas also was a big help down low, grabbing 11 boards of his own. ONE Love outscored the Kings by 8 at the end of the first, and Heslip was on fire at the beginning of the second half hitting three big 3s which set the tone for the rest of the game.
Heslip earned the ‘Player of the Week’ honour for his performance.
Northern Kings tried everything to cut the lead, including forcing 18 turnovers and covered the floor well on defense, but to no avail. The Kings were unable to hit their shots and went 3-24 as a team from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the Kings’ poor attempt to capatlize on their shots had more of an impact than their good defense.
Unlike the past two editions, this year the Crown League is sanctioned by the NCAA, which allows Division I student-athletes eligibility to play. This allowed two players from Northern Kings to take the court; #10 Duane Notice – who took his South Carolina Gamecocks to the final four in the 2017 March Madness – finished Friday night with a team high 13 points and three assists. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who represented Canada earlier this year at the BioSteel All-Canadian Tournament and will be attending Virginia Tech in the Fall, added 10 points. – Lala Keshishian
6MAN trounce CIA Bounce 64-46
This game can be summed up by one word, defense. From the start of the game, 6MAN established their defensive presence early and frustrated CIA Bounce’s roster from an offensive standpoint. This was evident from the score at the half where Bounce mustered up a grand total of 12 points… 12 points. With that being said CIA Bounce was still in reach at the half. 6MAN failed to capitalize on their opportunities and was only up by 9 at recess.
However, the second half saw 6MAN break out of their offensive funk and were able to score 41 second half points on route to their 64-46 victory. A player to watch out for is 6 MAN’s Richard Amardi. The 6’9 big man had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals and after the game he spoke about the importance of defense and defense being the key to their victory.
“I think everybody on this 6MAN really takes a serious pride in playing defense. You can see we really got after it… and everyone is playing with pride, like you’re not going to get this bucket on us.”
Amardi and 6MAN will hope to keep the momentum going next week
M.A.D.E upset ACE 79-74
This was a rematch from the 2016 Crown League finals and it lived up to the billing. ACE was in for a fight from the word go. There were 49 lead changes in this game as it went back and forth. In the end a clutch layup by ‘Big’ Mike Fraser with 10.2 seconds on the clock and a key steal with seconds left got M.A.D.E the 79-74 victory.
The key players for M.A.D.E was Junior Cadougan and ‘Smooth’ Kyle Johnson. Johnson had 16 points and some momentum shifting buckets. Coudogan had 22 points, 6 assists and 3 steals while shooting 53% from the field. ACE was led by Myck Kabongo’s 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Will ACE Bounce back?
Can 6MAN carry on their momentum?
Who will dunk on who?
To witness the greatness of Toronto basketball, claim your seat for next Friday here.
VIEW FULL GALLERY HERE: Week 1 Gallery
VIEW FULL VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS HERE: Week 1 Highlights