Last year, the inaugural BioSteel All-Canadian Basketball Game was the start of a big summer for Jamal Murray. The co-MVP of the game put together quite the performance in the game, and it started what was his ascent to stardom leading up to his freshman year with the Kentucky Wildcats.
Who would step up this year?
With star players like Justin Jackson (injury) and Thon Maker (NBA Draft prep) not playing, the opportunity was there for any one of the other 22 players to step up and leave their mark on the 2016 edition of the game.
Several of the players have already committed to universities for the 2016-17 season, but others were looking to leave a lasting impression as they work towards taking their game to the next level.
Nobody left their mark more than Team White guard Jahvon Blair. Despite his team trailing for most of the game, Blair led his team on a ferocious comeback in the second half.
He scored 24 of his game-high 31 points in the second half, en route to earning Team White MVP honours and bringing his team all the way back for the 120-118 win over Team Red.
Blair finished the night with 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting from the floor, while only playing 22 minutes.
Forward Kalif Young was the MVP of Team Red, scoring 20 points (10-of-13 shooting) and pulling down 9 rebounds.
From the start of the contest, it looked as though Team Red was going to run away with the game. Team Red opened things up with an 11-0 run, as O’Shae Brissett scored five points to lead his team. Blair responded with four straight point to open the scoring for Team White, while Danilo Djuricic capped off a 7-0 run with a three to get his team back to within four.
Team Red would hold a lead throughout the entire first quarter, holding off several pushes from Team White. Nate Darling, who has committed to play for the UAB Blazers, connected on a three to bring Team White to within a point, at 18-17.
Team Red would weather the storm, and take an eight-point lead into the second quarter.
Isiaha Mike did his best to bring Team White back in the early parts of the quarter, scoring five quick points to cut their deficit to 3. However, Young would get a putback layup to go off a miss from Howard Washington, Jr., and Jerome Desrosiers hit a three shortly thereafter to restore a nine-point lead for Team Red.
Team White would continue to fight, but wouldn’t hold a lead of their own for the entire first half. Team Red took a 60-53 lead into the locker room, and looked to be in complete control of the game.
In the third quarter, Team Red would continue to hold the lead, but Team White kept bringing the pressure and would eventually be rewarded.
Nikola Djogo and Mike traded high-flying dunks, as Djogo threw down an alley-oop slam before Mike drove the lane for a one-handed slam on the very next possession.
A little bit later, Djuricic hit a three pointer to bring Team White back to within two points. Shortly thereafter, Godwin Boahen completed a three-point play to give Team White their first lead of the game, at 78-77.
The lead wouldn’t last past the next possession for Team Red, as Anthony Longpre got a basket to fall in the lane, giving the lead back to his team.
Young would throw down a putback slam to stretch the lead to three for Team Red, and they would push it back to 5 before the quarter game to a close.
The fourth quarter belonged to Blair. He and Desrosiers traded baskets to open the quarter, keeping Team White within striking distance.
Desrosiers would later throw down a baseline slam in contact, and proceed to make the free throw to give Team Red a 99-90 lead. From there, it was all about Blair and the comeback from Team White.
Following Desrosiers’ three point play, Blair hit a mid-range jumper and a layup in traffic on consecutive possessions to cut the deficit to just five. Brissett would push the lead back to 8 with a three pointer of his own, but Blair was a man on a mission.
Later in the final frame, Blair hit a three in front of Murray, who could only smile from his courtside seat, and the deficit was down to 108-102. He would connect on another long ball later in the quarter, and followed that up with a layup to give Team White a 117-116 lead in the closing minute.
Boahen hit a pair of free throws to give Team White a three point lead with under 20 seconds to play. On the next possession for Team Red, Ignas Brazdeikis was fouled, which kicked off a crazy sequence of events to close out the game.
He made the first, and missed the second on purpose. With 1.4 seconds left on the clock, Young grabbed the rebound and was fouled on a shot attempt.
With Team Red within 1, at 119-118, Young could have given his team the lead. He missed both free throws, but Brissett grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 0.7 seconds left on the clock. Team Red was still alive, but Brissett missed both free throws as well.
Team White grabbed the rebound and made one of two free throws at the other end to ice the game. A last-second heave from Brazdeikis was off the mark, and Team White’s comeback was complete.
Despite leading for a total of just 26 seconds in the game, Team White came away with the 120-118 victory.
CCR Three Stars
1st Star: Jahvon Blair (Undecided, Class of ’17): 31 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast
2nd Star: Isiaha Mike (Duquesne Dukes commit): 18 pts, 12 reb, 3 stl
3rd Star: Matur Maker (Undecided, Class of ’17): 13 pts, 10 reb, 4 ast
1st Star: Kalif Young (Undecided, Class of ’16): 20 pts, 9 reb, 3 stl
2nd Star: O’Shae Brissett (Undecided, Class of ’17): 24 pts, 2 reb, 3 stl
3rd Star: Jerome Desrosiers (Undecided, Class of ’17): 10 pts, 12 reb