Boys high school basketball all-stars announced
Niagara’s best and brightest high school boys basketball players will get one last chance to show off their skills this spring when the annual all-star games are staged Tuesday, May 2 at Saint Paul in Niagara Falls.
The Next 10 game will be staged at 6 p.m. followed by the Top Ten game at 8 p.m.
In past years, the teams were split up based on the old Zone 3 and Zone 4 groupings but that has changed in 2023.
“The schools were sort of randomly organized on either Team White or Team Black as the traditional zones no longer exist and in consideration of balance issues,” said Pat Sullivan, who stepped in late to make sure the games would be played again this year. “I think both games turned out pretty balanced and every school that indicated they were interested has at least one player participating. Certainly, the selections can and will be debated but the main thing is these kids will be allowed to have an opportunity to showcase their skills and be recognized for a great year for Niagara high school basketball.”
Named to 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; Thorold’s Isaac Walker; and, A.N. Myer’s Mani Maynard.
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.
Sullivan is thrilled that the games are being staged.
“There is a rich history of boys all-star games going back to the Kearney Classic held at Brock University. Any player or coach who has been involved always looks back fondly on the experience,” he said. “It is the last opportunity for some Grade 12s to play in front of their friends and family and for all players and coaches to be recognized for their accomplishments. We had a very successful season for a number of Niagara teams and athletes and it’s important to showcase that by bringing everyone under one roof and celebrating Niagara basketball.”
This past season, Saint Francis won gold at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ AA championships and Eden made it to the OFSAA AAA quarter-finals.
“This year we had a bit of a communication breakdown regarding the organization of the event thus the late start. It’s no one’s fault and a result of the event being run by a number of different people over the last few years and the interruption caused by COVID,” Sullivan said. “Moving forward, Steve Huisman, the coach of West Niagara, has volunteered to spearhead the games and will do a great job. Coaches who would like to assist him can come forward as it is helpful, especially when it comes to selections. The key thing this year is that it is happening. It’s better late than never because our kids deserve it.”
Organizers are thankful for: Saint Paul and its principal Lou Stranges for hosting the event; St. Catharines CYO Basketball for supplying the all-star shirts; and, the Niagara District Referees Association for donating their time to officiate the games.
There will be no admission to the game but donations will be accepted and given to a charity.