By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
BAHAMIAN basketball players at the collegiate level in Canada began seasons in their respective conferences this month and began their trek toward a CCAA National Championship Tournament berth.
Samson Cleare has taken on a greater role with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks this season as the team looks to contend in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
Cleare has been named team captain in his final collegiate season and has averaged 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game on 57 per cent shooting from the field.
He opened the season with a 24-point, 12-rebound performance against Lakeland College. In the second game of the back-to-back he finished with 13 points and four rebounds.
In the second series of the season, Grand Prairie Regional College Wolves, Cleare posted games of nine points, 10 rebounds and 13 points, four rebounds.
Last season, he averaged 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
Cleare entered this season ranked sixth in rebounds in NAIT history with 354. The school record is currently held by Sebastian Cava with 512.
The Ooks finished last season with a 16-8 regular season record which placed them 2nd in the ACAC North Division. After defeating the RDC Kings in the quarter-final round, the Ooks would find themselves matched up with the No.1 seed and host SAIT Trojans.
The Ooks would fall just short in overtime.
Leashja Grant also enters her final season with the Lakehead Thunderwolves and has dominated in her opening contests. She finished with 16 points and seven rebounds against Algoma.
In the second game against Algoma, Grant finished with 26 points and 18 rebounds. “Leashja wasn’t her best tonight,” Thunderwolves head coach Jon Kreiner said. “But she was a force.”
This year’s Thunderwolves squad features a number of new faces, including eight new players and seven rookies, but a number of contributors return in key roles.
Last season, Grant earned the Female Athlete of the Year and Women’s Basketball Most Valuable Player awards when Lakehead Athletics celebrated the 2017-2018 season at their Annual Awards Gala. She averaged 22.3 points and 14.1 points per game over the course of the season and was named Ontario University Athletics Player of the Year and a U SPORTS 1st Team All-Canadian.
Grant not only led the conference but also ranked as the second-leading scorer and top rebounder in the country. Grant also holds the U SPORTS record for most rebounds in a single season with 338 in 24 games.
Roosevelt Whylly led the Holland Hurricanes to a dominant win in their season debut.He finished with 12 points and 13 points in a 121-95 win over St Thomas Tommies. The Hurricanes scored 63 points in the first half and 40 in the third quarter.
Livingston Bromwell, Van Hutchinson Jr, Kevin Cooper and the Niagara Knights are 2-0 in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association West division.
Bromwell and Hutchinson each finished with a double double in the Knights’ 91-75 win over the Conestoga Condors.
Hutchinson had 25 points, 12 rebounds and was one assist shy of a triple double with nine assists while Bromwell had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Cooper finished with five points, four rebounds and five blocked shots.
In the opener, they led the Knights to a 108-93 win over the Redeemer Royals.
Bromwell led the way with 21 points and 14 rebounds - both team highs - and shot 10-12 from the field. Hutchinson finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds, four steals, and four assists while Cooper scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots in just 17 minutes.
First year forward Stephone Augustine is also with the Knights programme but has yet to see time on the floor.