Canada’s U23 national team kicked off the 2023 GLOBL JAM fives tournament by overpowering the Basketball Africa League (BAL) Select Team with a dominating 88-62 win.
Thomas Kennedy (Windsor, Ont.) the 2022-23 U SPORTS player of the year scored eight of Canada’s 19 first-quarter points to help kick-start a Canadian offence that trailed by two points following a tight opening ten minutes.
Senegal’s rising point guard, Jean Jacques Boissy, a 2023 All-BAL First-Team selection, scored ten of his game-high 19 points in the opening quarter but picked up two early fouls and was held in check for the rest of the game. He finished shooting 6-of-17 and had five turnovers.
With Boissy on the bench, Canada turned up the defensive pressure and shifted the game in their favour by outscoring the African Select Team 28-13 in the second quarter. This gave Canada a 47-34 advantage at halftime.
Showcasing their superior depth and physicality, Canada continued to wear down the BAL Select Team with paint touches and inside baskets, extending their advantage to 73-49 at the end of the third quarter. The lead reached a game-high of 32 points before Team Africa held Canada scoreless for the last two and a half minutes of the game.
Kennedy bulldozed his way to 15 points in just 16 minutes on 6-of-7 shooting. Six-foot-five guard Elijah Mahi, a former 2022 Biosteel All-Canadian added a team-high 17 points and six rebounds on 7-of-13 field goal attempts.
Addison Patterson continued his resurgence with an effective, all-around effort of ten points, six rebounds, and three assists, including multiple highlight reel dunks.
Six-foot-ten center Enoch Boakye made his return to the Canadian national team for the first time since the 2019 FIBA U16 Americas and made an impact with 11 points and six rebounds in just 16 minutes of play.
Former Carleton Ravens point guard Aiden Warnholtz (Kanata, Ont.) came off the bench and chipped in with seven points and a game-high seven assists.
The Canadians made 34 of their 69 shot attempts (49%) but struggled from beyond the arc and the charity line. They finished the game only 6-of-23 from deep and 14-of-22 from the foul line.
Madagascar’s 18-year-old sensation Mathias M’madi struggled early in the game but finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 field goal attempts against a stingy Canadian defence.
M’madi led Madagascar to their first FIBA U19 World Cup and finished as the 2023 tournament’s leading scorer at 24.1 points per game.
Up next for Canada will be a stiff test against the Kentucky Wildcats, who are representing the United States. The Wildcats fought off the hot-shooting Germany team, winning 81-73 in the opening game of the men’s fives tournament.