What a difference a year can make for Pickering high school senior basketball coach Mike Gordensky.
Just about this time last year, Gordensky was sitting in a Windsor hotel, banned from watching his team win a provincial medal.
He was suspended from coaching for one year by the Ontario Federation of Schools Athletic Association and his school was also put on probation for three years because he used two ineligible players at a U.S. tournament.
Gordensky won’t admit it, but he’s still bitter at the serious penalties — especially when there has been no consistency in handing down sanctions by the Durham Region athletic association and OFSAA for rule violations by other schools.
What had him smiling Wednesday night was not just his team record of 37 wins in 45 games, but news that Pickering was ranked No. 1 and the team to beat at the provincial quad-A playoffs starting Monday in Oshawa.
“I’m a bit surprised at the ranking, but I’m thrilled for the kids — the ultimate goal is the gold medal,” said Gordensky. “They have worked hard and deserve it. But there is a long way to go before celebrating.”
Pickering opens the 18-school playoffs needing five wins in 76 hours for the title.
Blessed Mother Teresa, the Toronto Catholic league champs who eliminated highly touted Father Henry Carr in their league playoffs, was ranked No. 2 followed by J. Clarke Richardson, Pickering’s rival in Ajax. Eastern Commerce is No. 4 followed by Vaughan from Thornhill.
“It won’t be easy getting to be No. 1 and our name on the trophy,” said Gordensky. “Our record means nothing now, it’s how these kids perform next week. I am confident and also have all the time in the world to help them.”
With a team of 18 players, Gordensky has plenty of depth but would like to have 6-foot-6 forward MiKyle McIntosh in his starting lineup.
However, the 15-year-old will miss the opener, watching instead from the team bench.
He is serving a suspension, handed down by the Lake Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association, for receiving two technical fouls in the league championship win over Richardson.
“There will be pressure on the kids being No. 1, and playing at home, but I know that they’ll embrace the situation and get the job done,” said Gordensky, who admitted that any of the top eight teams could go home with the title.
Pickering has been to the medals podium each of the past four years, winning gold in Toronto two years ago and the year before that in Hamilton. They also have a pair of bronze medals.
Other GTA teams competing are No. 6 Oakwood of Toronto, No. 7 St. Marguerite d’Youville and No. 8 St. Edmund Campion, both from Brampton. St. Michael’s and Pope John Paul II, both from Toronto, are No. 10 and 15, respectively
Here’s the complete seeding for the AAAA tournament:
1. Pickering HS (Ajax)
2. Mother Teresa SS (Scarborough)
3. J. Clarke Richardson CI (Ajax)
4. Eastern HS of Commerce (Toronto)
5. Vaughan SS (Thornhill)
6. Oakwood CI (Toronto)
7. St. Marguerite D’Youville (Brampton)
8. St. Edmund Campion (Brampton)
9. St. Michael’s College (Toronto)
10. HB Beal SS (London)
11. Bluevale Collegiate (Waterloo)
12. St. Thomas More (Hamilton)
13. St. Anne SS (Tecumseh)
14. Notre Dame College (Welland)
15. Pope John Paul II SS (Scarborough)
16. St. Matthew HS (Orleans)
17. John F. Ross C & VI (Guelph)
18. Nantyr Shores SS (Innisfil)
Quebec Basketball sweeps 2019 Canadian U15 & U17 National Championships
Quebec basketball made a loud statement by sweeping all four levels of the 2019 Canadian National basketball championships – claiming gold both at the U15 and U17 boys and girls annual provincial tournament.
The boys made a clean sweep of Ontario to take home gold at both the 2019 U15 and U17 boy’s Canadian national championships in Fredericton, New Brunswick. While across the country at Ken and Kathy Shields court in Victoria, British Columbia the U15 ladies knocked-off Ontario 72-55 and the U17 ladies completed the sweep with a 55-45 win over Alberta. Quebec becomes the first province to sweep all four championships since Ontario claimed supremacy in 2011.
Quebec’s first U17 boys title since 2010
Quebec’s silky smooth guard Bennedict Mathurin was the star of the U17 tournament pouring a game-high 23 points to help La Belle Province defeat their rivals 84-77 to claim their third-ever U17 gold medal at Nationals and their first since they won back-to-back in 2010 and 2008. Mathurin the tournament’s top scorer (23 PPG) added 7 rebounds and 4 assists in the victory.
Aurel Ntahindurwa scored a game-high 25 points, pulled down 7 rebounds and added 3 assists to lead Quebec to a 88-78 win over Ontario in the U15 boys championship game. Freud-Ansley St-Felix took-home MVP honors by showcasing his all-around game with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists.
Dumont twin brothers also impacted the game – both nearly reaching double-doubles Jordann with 12 points and 8 rebounds and Raphael contributed with 9 points and 9 rebounds. Thomas Ndong collected a game-high 11 rebounds added 7 points and scored Christian Payawal finished as the tournaments top thief racking 8 first-half steals alongside his 7 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
Cassandra Prosper was named MVP of the U15 girls championships and had the game of the tournament — scoring 24 points and grabbing a jaw-dropping 18 rebounds in the finals.
The U17 Quebec ladies completed the rare clean sweep fighting off a tough Alberta squad. Kiandra Browne was named MVP capping a great tournament with 7 points and 9 nine rebounds.
2019 U17 Boys MVP & First Team All-Stars
Bennedict Mathurin – Quebec – Most Valuable Player
Mason Kraus – Manitoba
Darius DeAverio – Ontario
Olivier-Maxence Prosper – Quebec
Norman Burry – New Brunswick
2019 U17 Boys Second-Team All-Stars
Owen Weaver – Alberta
Dominic Parolin – British Columbia
Kyle Duke – Ontario
Enoch Kalambay – Quebec
Malcom Christie -New Brunswick
2019 U15 Boys MVP & First Team All-Stars
Freud-Ansley St-Felix – Quebec – Most Valuable Player
Xavier Spencer – Alberta
Braeden Macvicar – Nova Scotia
Jahsemar Olembe – Ontario
Jaiden Cole – Ontario
2019 U15 Boys Second-Team All-Stars
Bubu Benjamin – Alberta
RavJeet Randhawa – British Columbia
Lorence De La Cruz -Manitoba
Thomas Ndong – Quebec
Ben Power – New Brunswick
2019 U17 Girls MVP & First Team All-Stars
Kiandra Browne – Quebec – Most Valuable Player
Deja Lee – British Columbia
Louella Allana – Quebec
Mimi Sigue – Alberta
Tea Demong – Alberta
Ornella Niankan – Quebec
2019 U17 Girls Second-Team All-Stars
Samantha Russell- Nova Scotia
Jayme Foreman – Ontario
Jessica Clarke – British Columbia
Kennedy Hollinger – Saskatchewan
Yvonne Ejim – Alberta
2019 U15 Girls MVP & First Team All-Stars
Cassandra Prosper – Quebec – Most Valuable Player
Christine Geraldo – Quebec
Delaney Gibb – Alberta
Cheyenne Rowe – Ontario
Sophie-Anne Bouffard – Quebec
Lemyah Hylton – Ontario
2019 U15 Girls Second-Team All-Stars
Taija Sta Maria – Ontario
Jessica Keripe – New Brunswick
Julia Tuchscherer – British Columbia
Treyah Paquette – Manitoba
Lauren Hainstock – Nova Scotia
14-year-old Canadian phenom Elijah Fisher destroys defender
There is absolutely no doubt — Elijah Fisher is going to be the most after-sought Canadian basketball prospect ever!
Andrew Wiggins, RJ Barrett, Jamal Murray please make room for rising star Elijah Fisher.
The 14-year old phenom added to his bag of bodies — snatching yet another helpless soul in what will go down as one of his most impressive dunks yet.
Showcasing his skills in front of a copious amount of NBA scouts at the 2019 All-Canadian Boys Futures Game — the 6’5″ guard dropped a vicious sledgehammer all-over his defender.
Fisher took home MVP honors with 27 points to lead Team Black to a 126-104 victory over Team Gray.
Shak Pryce magical shot earns Pine Ridge Pumas back-to-back OFSAA gold
Hamilton, Ont — In what will surely go down as one of best finishes in Ontario Federation Schools Athletic Association (OFSAA) basketball history, senior guard Shak Pryce — playing in his final high school game, buried his final shot — an unbelievable “shot of the year” candidate as the Pine Ridge Pumas (Pickering) edged upstart La Salle Black Trojan Knights (Kingston) 51-48 to win the 2019 OFSAA AAA gold medal game.
The previous possession, with the game tied at 48-48 all with 43 seconds remaining — 35-second shot clock winding down and the ball in La Salle’s premier guard Luka Syllas, Pryce determined to end his career as a champion pulled-up his shorts, started clapping and clamped defensively blocking Syllas shot attempt to give the Pumas the ball back with 9.3 seconds remaining via jump ball possession arrow rule.
Coming out of the timeout there was little to no doubt as to who was going to get the last shot, as Pumas’ head coach Cam Nekkers put the ball is senior guard’s hands delivering a magical march madness moment that will be buzzing for decades to come.
The gameplay was interrupted by a deliberate fire alarm nuance, causing a 15-minute delay.
Memories of Devoe Joseph’s final shot, game-winner to the defeat the Eastern Commerce Saints at the buzzer of the 2008 OFSAA AAAA Gold medal come to mind, only this time the trophy is going down south of Brock St. as Pine Ridge becomes the first LOSSA school to earn back-to-back titles of OFSAA’s top division since arch-rivals Pickering Trojans accomplished the feat in 2007-2008.
Whitby’s Anderson C.V.I (LOSSA) featuring Justin Edwards (Maine/Kansas State) and Dyshawn Pierre (Dayton Flyers) won back-to-back AAA gold medals in 2010-2011, however OFSAA was using a four-tiered (level) format with AAAA being the top division. OFSAA, since 2015-16 reverted back to a three-tier competition.