It is unusual to see television trucks at North Toronto for any event, especially for Norsemen basketball games. On Thursday, January 26th Rogers TV occupied the gym to televise our Junior and Senior Boys Basketball teams when they faced off
against the lowly University of Toronto School Blues. Some of you reading this
might be wondering why the television trucks invaded our school instead of the
basketball powerhouses at Oakwood CI or Eastern Commerce CI. Truth be told,
neither of those teams were scheduled to play that day. As a result, our Norsemen got the opportunity to play in front of their peers and a wider audience via the boob tube.
With the baseline cameramen squished against the wall and commentator David Grossman calling the shots from the gondola of NT’s gym, the Division leading Juniors tipped-off first against the basement dwelling Blues (an unfortunate team name in the circumstance). The first quarter went by in a stop-start fashion, with both sides combining to score 10 from the field. The Junior Boys woke up in the second quarter and started grabbing boards, driving to the paint, and finishing their
opportunities. They dominated possession and scored 16 points in the second
quarter alone, leading the Blues by a halftime score of 22-8. I tried my best
to be an unbiased sports journalist, but by then I knew that the Norsemen had
this game in their back pocket. As the buzzer sounded to conclude the first of
two double-header games, my feeling was correct; the Norsemen came out on top
by a score of 49-21.
Shortly thereafter, the school bell rung. Many NT students and administration piled into the gym to catch a glimpse of our Senior Boys play some ball. The Seniors were trying to bounce back from an agonizing 2 point loss, due to some speculative refereeing, at
home against Rosedale. The battle to climb the standings of the South Region
Tier 2 Conference was fiercer than ever with their current position sitting at
seventh out of eight teams in the East Division before tip-off.
NT lined up against their Blue counterparts with a Grade 12 starting five; Frank Hyun, Justin Garcia, and fan favourite Stephan ‘King’ James lined up in the back court as Alex Kyba and Simon Tolkin took responsibility in the front court. Right from the get-go, NT
had an upper-hand over their opponents as UTS had a rather short bench, with
three substitutes. On the other hand, the home bench had plenty of depth and
therefore, fresher legs as they game went on.
This advantage was apparent, as NT started off strong scoring the first three buckets of the game from the field; they led 6-0 in the opening five minutes. Unfortunately, this lead would not last long. Even though UTS had fewer men, the
Norsemen were on the back foot. The free throw line for the Blues was definitely
a charity stripe because of poor defensive performance on the boards, leading
to put-backs, and four fouls against NT that the Blues converted successfully
in the first quarter.
The Boys headed into the gym equipment area after the first half had concluded to get away from the cameras. Mr. Smith’s half-time pep talk struck a chord with the Norsemen because they came out from the TV break rejuvenated. Stephan James played point-guard when the third quarter started and showed us why he is known as the King. James was bringing the heat in the third and fourth quarter, being vocal, passing crisply, and shooting swiftly. By the way, he is not related to LeBron. David
Grossman even coined a new term for James’ acrobatic lay-ups, known as the
“Superman Spin”. He better copyright that before it is taken.
In the end, the array of talent that came off the bench along with solid performances by the starting five steered our Norsemen in the right direction as they sailed past the Blues and won the game, 48-30. Congratulations to both NT’s Junior and Senior Basketball teams as they went on to sweep the double-header in front of rolling cameras. Maybe the television trucks should stop by more often.