SFDCI’s junior boys’ basketball team off to EOSSAA Thursday

SFDCI junior boys basketball team
The SFDCI junior boys basketball team won the Lanark County championship over Almonte for the opportunity to represent the county at EOSSAA this week in Cornwall. Photo credit: Courtesy of Todd Spencer.
Posted on: February 27, 2024

It’s a full-circle moment for young coach Jayden Spencer


With a father and son coaching duo at the help, the Smiths Falls District Collegiate junior boys basketball team is heading to EOSSAA this week. 

The one-day event for double-A teams will take place Feb. 29 at St. Joseph Catholic Secondary School. The tournament will feature teams from across the east region – teams that these RedHawks have seen before, and defeated. 

During one of their rigorous practise sessions this week, team captains said they were ready to hit the hard court under the hawk eyes of coaches Todd Spencer, and his son Jayden. 

The Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute junior boys’ basketball captains
The Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute junior boys’ basketball captains have to keep a lot of balls in the air. Here they are during practice on Tuesday, Feb. 27 ahead of their EOSSAA tournament on Thursday in Cornwall. They include: Reed King, Kilian Morrison, Tyler Little and Nolan MacNeil. Photo credit: Laurie Weir.

Tyler Little, Nolan MacNeil, Reed King and Kilian Morrison each have a captain’s role on the squad. This foursome has played for the RedHawks in their Grade 9 year, and they lost the gold medal game at EOSSAA last year – to Sydenham High School of Kingston. 

“We want to win,” Morrison said. The young point guard is the team’s top shooter.

The RedHawks played 34 games this year, in tournament, exhibition, and league play. They lost just 12 of them. But rolling through the league, they defeated power houses from Perth and Almonte in semi- and final action to win the Lanark County Interschool Athletic Association (LCIAA) championship, setting the stage for EOSSAA. This is as far as the juniors go, as there is no provincial championship at this level. 

One of the tournaments the RedHawks won was a highly competitive Kawartha Classic. There were 32 teams in the action, and the Smiths Falls troop earned the A division championship. 

“That was really competitive,” Little said. 

The captains said they’re looking forward to the trip to Cornwall Wednesday night, and will have dinner out, said MacNeil, as they prepare for the next day’s competition. 

Fun fact: They say their favourite snack is Skittles. 

Other RedHawks include: Carson Lanigan, Mateo Compton, Colton Staples, Michael Severe, Nolan MacNeil, Jack VanWingerden, Cooper Smith, Ian Blondin, Isaac Drummond and Tyreese Carrion. 


Jayden and Todd Spencer
Jayden (left) and Todd Spencer coach the junior boys’ basketball team at SFDCI. The father-son duo are enjoying their time together on the bench. Jayden has had four championships under his father’s tutelage and now he says, it’s a full-circle moment to be able to coach with him. Photo credit: Laurie Weir.

For Jayden Spencer, coaching alongside his father has been a full-circle moment. He’s had four championships under his dad’s mentorship. Now, he’s studying fitness and health promotion at St. Lawrence College in Kingston with his sights set on personal training as one route he can explore. 

This year though, Jayden has helped his dad coach over 20 games. 

“Coached by him? I always loved it, because I felt that because we had that father-son bond and he was always able to tell it as it is, and go more in depth with me,” Jayden said. “Having that relationship is huge because it allowed me to get better.”

Jayden said during the rides home from games, he was able to understand his father’s perspective a lot easier. “That always helped me improve as a player.”

As for coaching with him, “it’s so cool,” he said. “Coming full circle as a player and now a coach with him it’s been fun. Seeing these guys develop has been really fun. Problem solving with him, and working things out, I really enjoy that aspect.”

Comparing styles of coaching, Jayden said his father is better in the moment, due to his experience. 

“Sometimes I get a little flustered in the moment,” he said. “My role with him has been a lot more analytical. I’ll watch the game more quietly. While he’s doing the game, I’ll look at the matchups, sub patterns, different ways to run offense and defense. Having the connection, we have and reflecting after the game has been a huge part of our success this season.”

Together, they break down the game well, and Jayden said that is their success. 

Doing a walk along the wall of fame at the high school, Todd pointed out all the championship photos where his son was pictured. He also showed the 2011 senior boys’ provincial championship where his son, and daughter, Abby, were the size of the trophy. 

“I’ve been bringing him to games since I could hold him,” Todd said, but having his son coaching with him has been a life-long dream come true.

“This is what it’s all about,” Todd said. “Having him by my side.”

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News