On Monday night, some of the best and brightest that Canada has to offer put their talents on display in the Futures BioSteel All-Canadian Game at the Athletic Institute Basketball Academy. The players are in either grade nine or ten, and are considered as some of the top up-and-coming players that the Great White North has to offer.
They would push the lead to five moments later, as Daquan Berry got the reverse layup to fall before RJ Barrett scored four straight points to give them a 28 – 21 lead. Noah Wharton would quickly respond for the Blue Team, cutting the lead back to five points with just over 5 minutes remaining.
The Blue Team would keep chipping away as the half wore on, and Kajon Gordon-Stephens put down a one-handed fast break dunk to tie things at 29-all. Kaheem Bennett would hit a three pointer to give the Blue Team their first lead since the early-goings of the first half, at 34 – 31.
Daquan Berry and the White Team would keep chipping away, cutting the deficit to as low as five. However, Stefan Smith got hot from long distance and helped to stake the Blue Team to a 46 – 39 halftime lead.
RJ Barrett led all scorers in the first half, putting in 16 points for the White Team. For the Blue Team, Stefan Smith and Kajon Gordon-Stephens each had 11 points to lead the way.
Barrett picked up right where he left off in the first half, opening the scoring for the White Team. Tyvahl Saunders chipped in to help cut the deficit to three points.
The Blue Team seemingly held off every push that the White Team made early on in the second half. Their lead would be cut to as little as three points in the opening four minutes of the first half, but the Blue Team was relentless in their push on the offensive end. With under ten minutes to go, big man Jaden Bediako would make one of two from the free throw line to give the blue team its biggest lead of the game at 57 – 47.
Bediako got on a roll with just over nine minutes to go, scoring five straight points for the Blue Team as they finally took the ball inside to the 6’9’’ forward. Up until that point, it has been all guard play. Stefan Smith would end Bediako’s run, draining a three to send the Blue Team into an official’s timeout up 64 – 61.
RJ Barrett did his best to bring the White Team back, converting an alley-oop lay-up to trim the deficit to 15 points with just over 6 to go, but the Blue Team kept on pulling away.
From there on out, the rest of the contest was more of a formality than anything else. The Blue Team, led by Kajon Gordon-Stephens and Stefan Smith were just too much for the RJ Barrett-led White Team in the first Futures BioSteel All-Canadian Basketball Game.
When the final buzzer went off, and the dust was settled, the Blue Team came away with a commanding 89 – 69 win over the White Team.
RJ Barrett led all scorers in the game with 24 points, and took home the MVP honours for the White Team. On the Blue Team, it was Khaleem Bennett who took home MVP honours after a 15-point night.
The Blue Team easily could have had three MVPs on their roster, as Bennett, Kajon Gordon-Stephens, or Stefan Smith could have taken home the hardware.
Regardless, the players all put their talents on display in front of a crowd that more than appreciated their on-court display. The game had it all, from fast-break dunks to a lot of three pointers, and some suspect free throw shooting mixed in the middle. It’s important to remember that these kids are only grade nine and ten. When these players develop their games, be on the watch out for these names as their careers progress.