Mohawk men take OCAA cage cliffhanger

Mohawk ground out a 77-74 victory over the St. Clair Saints in Ontario Colleges Athletic Association men’s basketball at the Fennell Gym on Friday (Jan. 18). Mackenzie Milmine made five of six free throws in the dying seconds as the Mountaineers hung on desperately.

Mohawk’s Alen Beader (10) had 16 points in Mohawk’s win. (Photo: Ron Bernardo)
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Mohawk trailed 43-37 at the half but came back and led by seven points with just over three minutes to go. However, the Saints, taking advantage of numerous missed free throws by the Mountaineers got the game back to 73-72 for Mohawk with 12.2 seconds remaining. But Milmine was good on his final four foul shots to decide the game.

A relieved Mountaineers’ head coach Brian Jonker said, “The way we’ve been the last three weeks, there was a lot more positive tonight than negative. We played more as a team offensively tonight than we have all year maybe. And in the end when we had to have the odd stops to get us back in the game, I thought we did that.”

Alen Beader led Mohawk with 16 points and had a strong presence on the boards. Marko Gacic and Jerome Smith each had 10 points for the Mountaineers, who improved to 6-5 in the West Region, while St. Clair fell to 3-7.

Meanwhile, a late comeback by Mohawk fell short, as St. Clair scored a 51-45 victory over the Mountaineers in women’s play.

Down by 14 points midway through the second half, Mohawk rallied and got to within four points on a pair of late Angela Brown three-point shots, but the Saints held on. Mohawk had 40 rebounds in the game, but managed only 11 on the offensive boards.

“We did not box out, said Mountaineers’ head coach Kelly Dunham. “We wanted the ball, which is great, but you need to have good positioning. You have to take care of your check to get the ball and we need that ball to get options on offence.”

Brown had 10 points to pace Mohawk. Stacey Bourque scored eight, as did Lisamarie Iavarone.

The Mountaineers are now 1-7 in the West Region. The Saints are 4-4.