Rachelle Abella was a one-woman wrecking crew as the Mohawk women’s basketball team made it three straight victories to start the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association West Region season with a sensational 75-69 overtime win over the Niagara Knights at the Fennell Gym.
Abella, the OCAA Student Athlete of the Week in women’s basketball, sank a three pointer with 5.1 seconds left in regulation time to tie the score at 63-63, sending the game to a five minute extra period. Abella had 31 points on the night, including nine in overtime. Kayla Michaelson, who soldiered on despite a sprained ankle, got the other three points in OT and finished with 13 points on the night. Cynthia Mosca, who limped off the court herself, contributed 12. Keanan Vernon was also injured, but the Mountaineers persevered.
Amanda Pepin led the Knights with 16 points, while Allana Arundell had 14.
Mohawk had to chase Niagara all game. They trailed 31-28 at the half and 50-43 at three-quarter time. Things looked bleak until Abella’s heroics, which included a couple of forced turnovers in overtime.
“She just took the game over,” said Mohawk head coach Kevin Duffy, of Abella. “She hit some big threes, she had a few steals. I’ve had the privilege to see her play for six or seven years in high school and college and I told her it was one of the best games I’ve ever seen her play. She is our captain and showed real leadership tonight.”
As for Abella, she said her last gasp toss to force overtime was just a “lucky shot” that she had to try because the clock was running out.
“I just had momentum going for me,” said Abella. “Things went my way.”
As for her leadership, Abella noted she had a different role last year as a rookie. This year she was voted captain and she obviously takes the responsibility to heart.
Mohawk will be home again Friday (Nov. 11) as Sheridan visits the Fennell Gym.