After a highly successful U14 season including Ontario Cup Division 1 silver, the Orillia Lakers boys have added more talent and new challenges for their U15 season.
The next big challenge is the National Junior Circuit, which includes many of the best junior rep and prep basketball teams in Ontario as well as some others from Eastern Canada. Though the Lakers players are all Grade 9s, the competition includes battling many of Canada’s best Grade 10s.
In their first National Junior Circuit competition this past weekend, the team both showed it belonged and showed it has work to do. The Lakers opened with a 90-58 loss to the defending National Junior Circuit champions, Brampton City Prep North. While the Lakers struggled to rebound and defend inside against their larger and older opponents, they were paced by Darius Wilson, who finished with 15 points, and a strong overall performance from William Lepage, who finished with 11 points.
The Lakers’ second game was against Full Circle Basketball Academy, who came into the game with two straight wins. As a group, the Lakers were locked in defensively, but with everyone else struggling to create consistent offence, Ezra-Terrelle Attah showed why he is one of the most talented point guards in Ontario. He consistently created good looks for his teammates with pinpoint passes. He also sprinkled in timely buckets and steals while locking down the main threat from Full Circle. Even though the Lakers were outsized for the second game in a row, the Lakers’ Dmitri Zakiev was the most dominant force in the paint with a huge 15-rebound, 11-point, three-steal and two-block game. The Lakers were on pace for what could have been the biggest surprise of the weekend before cold shooting and a late push by Full Circle downed the Lakers 58-52.
The final game of the weekend finally saw the Lakers get into the victory column with a 77-44 win over Against the Six Prep. Desperate for a victory, the Lakers dominated the first half 38-14 before cruising in the second half. Dynamic scorer Caden McFee, who had started the weekend slow, kick-started his offence by playing tenacious defence and creating transition buckets. By the end of the game he was back on track with an efficient 24 points. Owen McColm contributed 14 more and everyone scored as the Lakers solved the opponents’ zone defence with excellent ball movement.
The Lakers’ extensive schedule is not possible without the continuous support of its great sponsors. The Lakers would like to thank sponsors JL Construction, Simcoe Development, Rama First Nation, Flynn Group of Companies and Telford Property Management.