Nike, Nike Toronto, Nike Basketball, Nike Crown League, Crown League, Toronto
ACE vs 6MAN | captured by Rhyan Correia (@rhyancorreia), Anton Mak (@iamantonmak

Crown League Week 2 saw more action, intensity and brought in more fans than week 1, and it will only get better from here on out.

Game 1

The first game of the night had the defending champs ACE bounce back from their Week 1 defeat, with a 72-59 victory over 6 Man.

6Man took the lead early as they started the game on a 7-2 run. The game began in their favour as the team started off strong by driving to the net, drawing fouls and hustling on transition.

After an early timeout, ACE’s #13 Johnny Berhanemeskel re-introduced himself by getting his team back within two possessions with a three-pointer, which got the crowd going. He was on fire from beyond the arc, scoring 15 of his 25 points in the first 20 minutes of the game — six of which were three-pointers.

Once Berhanemeskel started hitting those threes, ACE’s momentum picked up and they went on an 8-1 run towards the end of the first half, giving themselves their largest lead at that point of the game 28-23.

But 6Man’s #6 Richard Amardi wanted his team to end the half with the same energy they started with; so a powerful dunk by Amardi brought the game back to a one possession game. Ammanuel Diressa matched Berhanemeskel’s style of play by knocking down a big three to take the one point 30-29 lead at the half. Diressa had a total of five three-pointers himself.

Coming back from the half-time break, ACE took control of the game with the help of Berhanemeske’s shooting, James Siakam’s 13 points and 7 rebounds and Kaza Keane’s 11 point, 7 rebound and 4 assist performances. This helped ACE collectively find their groove.

Game 2

After losing to the ONE LOVE in the opening week of the 2017 Nike Crown League, the Northern Kings bounced back with a 74-71 victory over the M.A.D.E. Negus Webster-Chan led all scorers with 21 points, tied a game high 8 rebounds, and was a key playmaker finishing with a team high 5 assists. He was named the Player of the Week in the league’s second week of action. It’s been a great year so far for Negus, who won the NBA D-League Championship in his first season with the Raptors 905. Several fans in attendance have supported the Scarborough product since his high school days at Pope John Paul II.

Nick Lewis finished second in scoring for the Northern Kings with 20 points, while big man Nick Tufegdzich finished strong with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Kyle Johnson led the M.A.D.E with 14 points, while Jermaine Anderson & Aaron Best each contributed 12 points. Dyshawn Pierre also had a productive performance with 11 points and 8 rebounds.

This was the most exciting game so far of the 2017 season. Every possession mattered in the final minute and had the crowd on their toes. There were 45 lead changes between the two teams. Turnovers were a key factor, with M.A.D.E. committing 18 turnovers compared to the Northern Kings’ 9 turnovers. Despite being down 43-34 at the half, the M.A.D.E. clawed back into the game with some key 3-pointers in the second half. They then held a 1 point lead in the final minute, until Tufegzdich drew a questionable foul that had the entire M.A.D.E bench reacting in disappointment.  Tufegzdich made the two crucial free throws to give the Northern Kings a 1 point lead. He later extended the lead to 3 after finishing an open lay-up created by the dribble penetration of Webster-Chan. The Northern Kings ended the game on a strong defensive stand, taking away all potential easy shots until the clock ran out.

The Championship Crown is still up for grabs by any squad, with all 6 teams now at 1-1. You can expect the Ryerson Basketball Gym to continue filling up and providing the great atmosphere that make these match-ups all the more exciting. Don’t miss out on the Week 3 Action next Friday!

-Justin B. Yee

Game 3

To end the night, Team CIA Bounce got back on track as they took the 67-57 win over 1 Love TO.

A triple-double performance by Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who is fresh off the NBA Orlando Summer League with the Knicks put his team on top with 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Class of 2017 and Syracuse commit Oshae Brissett also contributed with a game-high 25 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Jamal Mcqueen also made noise with 16 points.

Despite 1 Love’s Murphy Burnatowski’s team high 23 points and Kevin Thomas’ 14 rebounds, 1 Love was only able to tie the game twice before trailing by 22 with 7 minutes left in the game, which set the tone for the remainder of the game.

Missing during Week 2 from 1 Love was Week 1 Player of the Week Brady Heslip, who is with the Chicago Bulls Summer League team in Vegas.

All teams in the tournament now have a 1-1 record.

There are still three more weeks to get in on the free action! Claim your seat here.

Check out the full photo gallery from Week 2:

*Photo Credit to @rhyancorrei & @iamantonmak*