All-star basketball games tip-off Tuesday
A.N. Myer’s Mani Maynard will conclude his Niagara high school basketball career Tuesday night at Saint Paul in the annual Top 10 all-star game.
The slick-dribbling, sharp-shooting guard will decide in the next few weeks at which Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association program he will spend his 12B hoops campaign.
“I am looking for more exposure and better competition. Being able to play with and against better players will make me a better player overall,” the Grade 12 student said, after a spirited practice Monday at Thorold Secondary School.
He worked hard in his last year at Myer.
“I was constantly getting shots up, trying to work as much as I can, trying to work with my teammates as much as I can and building more of a bond this year as opposed to last year,” Maynard said.
He is looking forward to Tuesday’s Top 10 all-star game.
“It is a lot of fun. I am friends with a lot of these players around the region and it’s great to reconnect with them by playing basketball.”
He was selected to play in the top 10 game last year but was unable to play because he was recovering from a broken ankle.
“It was tough to watch but it was still a lot of fun.”
His approach to playing in the game is simple.
“I want to have fun and take it seriously but not too, too seriously. You definitely don’t want to have any injuries and you want to have a good time.”
Winning the game against friends and rivals would also be nice.
“I am really competitive so of course I want to win. But having fun is the most important thing.”
Maynard agrees it will be bittersweet to see his high school career in Niagara come to an end Tuesday night at Saint Paul.
“It is upsetting in a way because I have had four years at Myer and then that’s it. It’s one game.”
He has enjoyed his time with the Marauders.
“It was a lot of fun getting to know my team and getting to know a lot friends through basketball that I will have for the rest of my life. My coach, Tyler Thomson, was amazing. He really helped me grow in basketball and outside of basketball, especially in my 12th Grade year. It was all the relationships I made inside and outside of basketball.”
The Next 10 game will be staged at 6 p.m. followed by the Top Ten game at 8 p.m.
Joining Maynard on the top 10 White Team, coached by Eden’s Jonathon Thorpe, are Eden’s Caleb Stewart, Riley Stewart and Chad Thorpe; E.L. Crossley’s Samuel Jeffrey and Aakash Senthil; Notre Dame’s Adam Ponting and Owen Phillips; Blessed Trinity’s Mawana Chidovi; and, Thorold’s Isaac Walker.
Selected to the top 10 Black Team, coached by Saint Francis’ Jon Marcheterre, are: Saint Francis’ Anthony Heyes, Andrew Ens and Jack Ciocca; Sir Winston Churchill’s Mazen Yagubi, Brady Pupek and Bennett Pisek; Denis Morris’ Michael Ukiomogbe; Greater Fort Erie’s Kyle Barrett; Saint Paul’s Isaac Jordan; and, West Niagara’s Khabeer Phull. Jordan is unable to attend the game and he is being replaced by Saint Paul’s Joey Primerano Williams.
Selected to the next 10 White Team, coached by Thorold’s Marc Dupont, are: Blessed Trinity’s Caleb Olemide; Holy Cross’ Lucas Moun and Dwayne Osbourne; Thorold’s Nathan Miller; Centennial’s Timi Ijaodola; Notre Dame’s Andrew Benko; A.N. Myer’s Sahil Rizwan and Tavish McMahon; and, Saint Michael’s Devon Devost and Arwin Chima.
Selected to the next 10 Black Team, coached by Denis Morris’ Wade Pychel, are: Denis Morris’ Campbell Hastings and Joshua Kaufman; West Niagara’s Jayden Khan; Greater Fort Erie’s Isiah Vernon; Westlane’s Arnav Sharma and Strahinja Suzic; Saint Paul’s Dante DeBenedetti; Governor Simcoe’s Malcolm Perrin; St. Catharines Collegiate’s Colton Joyce; and, Niagara Christian’s Cedrik Yuk. DeBenedetti is unable to attend the game and he is being replaced by Saint Paul’s Nick Graovaz.
The games have been made possible by: Saint Paul and its principal Lou Stranges for hosting the event; St. Catharines CYO Basketball for supplying the all-star shirts; the Niagara District Referees Association for donating their time to officiate the games; and, Pat Sullivan from Saint Francis, who stepped in late to organize the event.
Doors open for the games at 5:30 p.m. and there is no admission. Donation are being collected for Gillian’s Place.