Danforth Tech started off their senior boys basketball season in style after the visiting Redhawks earned a decisive victory over North Toronto Norsemen, Dec. 1.
Grade 10 Darnell Paul opened the game on a tear, scoring all but four of the Hawks’ 16 first quarter points. The athletic swingman was one of the tallest players on the court and used his height to grab rebounds.
Still, North Toronto was able to keep up and finished the quarter down by only one.
Norsemen coach Lorne Smith said he was surprised with the strong play by his charges early on, especially playing the second game of a back-to-back.
“We started off the game pretty well,” he said. “The coaching staff eyed each other and said that was a good start to the game because we’re notoriously slow–starting.”
In the next quarter, coach Tyrone Smith tightened Danforth Tech’s defence and took the home team out of the game. The Hawks allowed only one field goal in the second stanza, outscoring their opponents 19-2.
“I told the guys just to make sure they’re staying on their man, deny the ball, I don’t want to see anybody wide open,” Tyrone said. “That’s what they did. They came out and worked hard on the defensive end.”
The Hawks’ starting point guard Ertugral Karakus hit a three to open up the second half but was quickly answered with a lay-up by NTCI’s Stephan Pitterson-James.
Pitterson-James then started to heat up, feeding off the reaction from the crowd. A few fancy crossovers leading to finger rolls or a nice dish were enough to force Tyrone to call a timeout to try and find a way to contain the shooting guard.
“Once he started hitting a couple of shots and I called a time out and (Tre Mclean), who plays with him often, he said, ‘Let me take him’,” Tyrone said. “He went out there and he basically shut him down by getting right up in his face.”
After the pause Danforth Tech went on an 11-0 run to finish the third quarter.
The score was 55-27 at the start of the fourth and what the game lacked in competitiveness it made up for in highlights.
Pitterson-James brought the home crowd to their feet after making an opponent lose his footing. While driving to the basket he faked to the right before spinning quickly to the left for the lay-up. The move dropped his defender who fe1l to the hardwood in a daze.
Within the next few plays Paul went back to work with a highlight of his own, slamming down a dunk on a fastbreak. Much to the crowd’s delight though, Paul missed a second dunk attempt later on, which would have posterized the Norsemen’s star Pitterson-James.
After a 64-38 win in their first game, Danforth Tech’s coach said he still sees room for improvement.
“The guys have a lot of work to do on the defensive end and the offensive end but I’m hoping that we have decent season,” he said.
Last season’s loss in the semi-finals is still fresh in Tyrone’s mind. He said his team’s sights are set on the Tier 2 title this time around.
“We had a good run last year,” he said. “This year we’re looking forward to trying to win a championship.”
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