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OSEGHALE EHIZODE: Nigerian teen making waves in DC United

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Nigerian teenager Oseghale Ehizode has been named in the team shooting for a Jr. NBA title with BC United squad.


The youngish basketball player is son to former sport journalist Joe Ehizode, who relocated to Canada in the 90s.


The U14 team beat Calgary’s Genesis Basketball 83-59 in the final of the Jr. NBA Canada West regional championship at Langley Events Centre.


The United roster includes Surrey-based players Ehizode and Gurshan Sran, along with eight others from across Metro Vancouver. White Rock’s Marcus Flores Besseling is also on the team.


Ehizode scored 18 points to help BC United win the regional championship game at the LEC.


With a win at Canadian regionals, the team advanced to the Jr. NBA Global Championship, which held from Aug. 6 to 11 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, near Orlando, Fla. The event involved a field of eight U.S. regional representatives and eight international regions, including Canada, in boys and girls divisions.


On the girls side at Canada West regionals, the VK girls team beat Genesis by a score of 83-28 to advance to nationals in Toronto.


In the boys’ game, BC United jumped out to a 19-6 lead after one quarter before Genesis cut the gap down to as low as five points early in the second quarter. The score was 35-26 at the half but BC United opened the third quarter on a 15-2 run and never looked back.


“We have been training for this,” Rupinder Dahia, who coaches the squad alongside Karlo Villanueva, said in a release. “The boys are primed, they are hungry, the want to compete.”


The team of 14-year-olds goes “to war in practice every day, we go five-on-five against each other and just leave it all out on the court,” Dahia added.


Prior to this season, the LEC release notes, the BC United boys were scattered among a trio of basketball clubs (AthElite Basketball, 3D Basketball and Vancouver Sports Academy), before coaches decided to merge the three into one for a better shot at advancing in the Canadian regionals.


Said Dahia: “They all battled each other a couple of months ago at provincials. We decided to form a team to give ourselves a better opportunity to compete and show (the rest of Canada) what we can do.”


Other players on the United squad include Tarrence Booker (New Westminster), Andy Chen (Burnaby), Declan Cutler (North Vancouver), Brady Lau (Burnaby), Mikyle Malabuyoc (Vancouver), Arpan Sidhu (Vancouver) and Zachary Zapanta (Richmond).


Last year, the first for the Jr. NBA program, Surrey-based AthElite represented the West in the boys’ draw but came up short at the Canadian regionals.

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