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)
Canada’s Rowan Barrett Jr. Dominates 2018 McDonald’s All-American Game
Rocking the “6” for the six, Canada’s own Rowan Barrett Jr. continued his assault towards the first overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft with dominant 26-point performance at the 41st Annual McDonald’s All-American game inside Philips Arena, Atlanta.
RJ Barrett’s (Mississauga,ON) 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting came up just short as the West All-Stars defeated Barrett’s East squad in close 131-128 game that featured a bevy of future NBA lottery picks. North Carolina Tar Heels Nassir Little took home MVP honors, scoring a game-high 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting.
Barrett’s 26 points, 3 rebounds in 23 minutes is the most points ever scored by a Canadian at the McDonald’s All-Star Game and was just five points short of the all-time scoring record held my Jonathan Bender who poured in 31 points in 1999. Michael Jordan previously held the record with 30 points in 1980. For comparisons purposes, Andrew Wiggins (Minnesotta Timberwolves) scored 19 points, four rebounds, one assist, two steals in the 2013 Game in Chicago.
The Duke commit opened the game with a thunderous one-hand dunk and never looked back on his way to 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the first-half, including Barrett’s revelation on how his father used to prepare him for this particular moment – practicing his half-time interview by speaking to a fork in front of family and friends.
The McDonalds All-American Game returned to Atlanta for the first time since it hosted the Games in 1992 and 1983 and featured a half-fime performance by Atlanta native Ludacris. Also courtside to take the next crop of superstars was Quavo part of the dynamic Migos group. Chicago hosted the event for seven (7) straight years (2010-2017)
For Barrett the action continues as he looks to wrap up his illustrious high school career with a championship at the 10th annual GEICO High School Nationals. The undefeated and No. 1 ranked Montverde Academy Eagles will look to make it four national titles in the last six years.
Barrett Jr. will showcase his skills at two more All-star games, notably the Jordan Brand game (April 7th, 2018) and the newly announced Signature All-Canadian All-Star Game (April 23rd, 2018) in his hometown of Mississauga.
— Andrew Slater (@Andrew__Slater) March 29, 2018
Rowan Barrett Jr. 37-Point Dunkthon Silences Overrated Chants
Yes this video is ten minutes long. If you like raw footage and/or would like to get a glimpse into the future of Canadian Basketball then I highly recommend you watch this until the end. I can also guarantee there will be plenty of “Oohh’s & Aahh’s” and multiple rewind sessions.
Rowan Barrett Jr. has been simply destroying everything in sight of him and his Montverde Eagles Academy. With his senior season and his high school career winding down we thought there was really nothing left to prove, but somehow the overrated chants have managed to surface. This savage 37-point dunkthon is a reminder of what is to come next year at Duke and the NBA.
15-Year Old Canadian Laeticia Amihere Throws Down Hard One-hander
The game is changing across Canada…
In a basketball first, 15-year old Laeticia Amihere became the first Canadian high school basketball to dunk in a basketball game.
In over 15 years of covering Canadian basketball I can’t recall a Canadian female attempt a dunk, rather completing one with oomph in game. The dunk has the Internets buzzing with Amihere’s name already being tossed around as potential No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA.
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