In the most fitting finale, the top seeded Orangeville Prep faced off against the number 2 TRC Academy. Both teams finished the regular season with a 18-2 record and the only thing separating them was a mere point differential. They split their regular season meetings and the gap in talent was slim to none. With a matchup of two incredibly evenly matched teams, the 2nd Annual OSBA Men’s Championship game was sure to exceed everyone’s expectations.
Once the game was underway both teams were ready to put it all on the line in the final game of the season. Orangeville jumped out to a 12-4 lead by keeping their hands in the passing lanes and locking down their respective matchups. Their speed going down the floor gave them great opportunities and their ball movement helped them find open players in half court sets. TRC didn’t trail for very long as a timeout had them refocused and on a 10-2 run of their own. They dominated the rebounding battle and they often had several shots on each possession. The game was all tied at 14 and it was an intense exchange for the remainder of the quarter. Shots were falling from deep behind the arc on both ends but the quarter was eventually closed out by a difficult 3-pointer by Ignas Brazdeikis to give his side a 24-19 lead.
The last shot by Orangeville gave them the momentum and it definitely carried over into the 2nd quarter as the first few possessions had them in front by 30-19 in short order. TRC was ready to respond just as quickly and their marksman, Avan Nava, was on target from the corner. A pair of 3-pointers along with some lock down defense from the entire TRC squad gave them their first lead of the game at 33-32. Orangeville got back in front in the subsequent possession but both teams were incredibly physical all over the floor. No basket in the lane came easy and the physicality was sure to leave every player with a few bruises by the end of the contest. TRC’s Eliel Nsoseme was a particular force on the interior as he used his huge wingspan to pull down rebounds and swat away shots that were floated in his direction. Orangeville’s Brazdeikis continued to weave his way through defenders for shots in the paint for Orangeville but nothing seemed to separate both sides as they went back and forth exchanging the lead with every score. After struggling with TRC’s incredible size in the frontcourt, Keshaun Saunders began to find his form and he converted many shots from deep in the midrange or used a crafty move under the rim to score. Not to be outdone, Steven Levnaic lead the offence down the stretch and he helped give TRC the 46-45 half time lead.
Orangeville came out of break with a remarkable five 3-pointers and once again reclaimed their lead. TRC were very impressive on the offensive glass but they couldn’t get the lid off the basket despite their huge volume of shots. Keshaun Saunders had the hot hand from deep and before TRC could score they were trailing by 60- 46 in only few minutes. With the gap steadily increasing it took yet another great performance from Avan Nava and Eliel Nsoseme to make up the ground they had lost so quickly. Their complimentary skillsets gave them the many opportunities needed to close out the 3rd quarter and they were back within 6 points by the end of the frame.
With only one quarter left in the season, Orangeville led by 6 (73-67) and their hot shooting showed no signs of slowing down. They opened the quarter with the same high-powered offense they had shown all game and they were once again leading by 13. TRC Academy was in no way out of the contest however and their ability to have great positioning off of missed shots continued to generate a ton of 2nd chance opportunities. Nava’s shooting range looked to have TRC back on track and huge baskets by Adong Makuoi had their team within 5 (92-97) with less than 2 minutes on the clock. With only 5 points separating both sides in the final 60 seconds, the stage was set for some late game heroics. A clutch Nava 3-pointer from deep, followed by a Deon Ejim bucket in the paint tied the game up at 97 with 30 seconds remaining. All eyes were on the 2017 OSBA MVP Ignas Brazdeikis as he attacked the basket and got up a shot. The youngest guy on the floor, class of 2020 Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe was able to find an opening on the offside rebound and put back the miss with 18.3 seconds remaining to give Orangeville Prep the 2 point lead. TRC had a final opportunity to seize the game but were unable to convert on a shot from behind the arc and Orangeville pulled down the rebound in order to run down the clock and complete their season as Champions. Ignas Brazdeikis was named Finals MVP with 27 points and 10 rebounds. A close second for Finals MVP was Keshaun Saunders who consistently knocked down big time shots and finishing the game with 25 points.