York (3-11, 3-6) , Toronto (10-7, 7-4)… 6’3″ Julio Vasquez hit all 4 of his three-pointers during an 18-1 second quarter run that broke the game open as the Lions went through a stretch of making 9 of 13 threes and then held off a Varsity comeback attempt that got the game back to six late to win in front of an excited, school-day game crowd at Tait McKenzie. Vasquez got free off strong penetration by 6’2″ lefty Matt Carating (12 points), who had 3 3’s of his own including a run-stopper with about 4 minutes left in the game to help clinch it, and 6’5″ Nidun Chandrakumar who was the best player on the floor for York this afternoon (11 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists), showing off tremendous court vision with several outstanding finds in a point-forward-esque role.
The Blues trailed by double digits early but got it back to 22-19 early in the second before the Lions caught fire led by Vasquez and burly 6’5″ forward Brandon Ramirez (19 points, 5 rebounds), who again displayed his solid inside/out skill set with several nice inside finishes – mainly off slick feeds from Chandrakumar – and later with a corner three when Lions made the Blues pay for full-court pressure, extending the lead to 21 at 48-27. Blues meanwhile shot just 2-13 from downtown, missing several wide-open looks and just 29% from the floor before halftime.
After falling behind by as many as 25, Toronto did make a valiant run in the second half, getting it to as close as 6 with 6 minutes remaining behind 6’5″ Manny Suhota (13 points) and 6’7″ Daniel Johanssen (16 points, 9 rebounds) and, despite holding York scoreless for over 6 minutes and having the ball three times down just 6, Blues could not cut it any closer and Chandrakumar’s back-breaking 3 at the end of the shot clock late was followed by another three from Carating, ending any comeback attempts.
York has a nice first five with steady sophomore lefty point guard Carating, Vasquez, the crazy-athletic 6’5″ wing Jayden Frederick plus Chandrakumar and Ramirez. Lions are somewhat “feast-or-famine” with their up-tempo three-point shooting – York missed 8 of their first 9 threes and then went stone cold over about an 8 minute period in the second half – York made just 2 of their final 13 3’s including about 8 missed in a row – before some key defensive possessions led to run outs and some open 3’s.
The Blues must regroup as they travel to Kingston to meet Queen’s Gaels tomorrow night while York gets set to host Ryerson Rams. Ryerson and Queen’s meet tonight in Kingston.