Playing in an extremely strong field and in front of crowds that included more than 50 NCAA college coaches that attended throughout the three day event, the Crestwood Lions went undefeated (5-0), and claimed the 2018 Centennial Colts Tournament-Platinum Division title, defeating the St Laurent Express by a score of 66-59 in the Final.
The Toronto, ON based Lions, defeated their Montreal, QC rivals through the scoring of Tournament MVP, Aaliyah Edwards who scored 22 points.
Ornella Niankan looked good early in the game for the Express, helping them to keep pace with the Lions scoring 6 points in the opening frame with her baseline drives on the right side of the floor. Those scores contributed to getting the Express out of the gate early, and having them up 15-13 heading into the second quarter.
With the lead in hand the Express started to find their range throughout the second, extending their lead to as much as fifteen by halftime. This time it was the three ball that was doing the damage as they connected on six 3-pointers. Two of those longer connections each came from Jennifer Atobra and Louella Allana and one each came from Sandrine Clesca and Angelica Juste-Jean, bolstering their lead to 40-25 at the break, forcing the top ranked Lions to deal with their largest deficit of the season.
Queue the comeback.
Switching up the way they defended, opting to apply more pressure earlier on in the shot clock, the Lions forced turnovers, which they cashed in on the other end of the floor. Leveraging Shayeanne Day-Wilson’s decision making while driving to the basket, and having Latasha Lattimore cashing in while being a quick dish option, the Lions began chipping away at the lead. Lattimore’s six points in the third quarter, along with a couple of 3-pointers, on each from Edwards and Tianna Bailey to balance out the inside/outside attack and the Express’ lead was cut to just 49-45.
The momentum remained with the Lions through the final quarter with Rebecca Demeke connecting on a couple of threes, while Day-Wilson hit on one of her own. They also maintained the inside portion of their attack, this time dumping the ball down to Edwards, who found success in facing as well as with her back to the basket helping her to notch seven points in the quarter, and solidifying her impact on the game’s final 66-59 result.
Earlier in the day, both teams qualified for the final by matching up with other pool winners. Crestwood defeated Capital Courts by a score of 57-52. In the other semi-final, St Laurent squeaked by Lincoln Prep by a score of 57-51.
This thrilling Championship final was a much anticipated rematch of what many are calling the two best high school teams in their respective provinces (Ontario and Quebec). In their earlier face-off at the Shoot 4 A Cure Charity event which also took place in Toronto. That showcase event saw the Lions win that won as well, in a matchup that was just as emotionally charged, athletic and physical between the two high level teams as it was in the deciding game of the Centennial 16-Team Platinum Division Championship.
Aaliyah Edwards – 22 points
Latasha Lattimore – 15 points
Shayeanne Day-Wilson – 12 points
St Laurent Express
Sandrine Clesca – 15 points
Ornella Niankan – 11 points
Kiandra Browne – 11 points