Royals on verge in men’s basketball

It may be a little soon to start talking about ‘the best season ever’ but the Redeemer men’s basketball team is certainly living up to the hype. And, in all reality, the team is not really all that far off from the best season ever by a Redeemer men’s cage team.

With two wins this past weekend in Ontario Colleges Athletic Association play against Lambton College and St. Clair College, the Royals are now 3-2 and have won more games in a season than they have since the 1999-2000 season. That season (four wins), along with 1997-98, was the winningest seasons in Redeemer Royals men’s basketball history.

One more win for the men’s team and they will tie that record. Two more wins will set a season record. With both wins this weekend on the road, things look promising, as the Royals will face all three teams next semester that they have previously beaten. They will face St. Clair and Lambton at home.

Friday’s game, 66-64, against the Lambton Lions proved that the Royals are in a position where they have the ability to close out games with a win. An early lead in the first quarter had the Royals up 26-13 but the Lions stormed back in the second to take a 33-32 halftime lead.

The second half proved to be a back and forth affair with Redeemer holding onto its lead after going up 65-59 for the two-point victory. Dhimitri Luarasi (Rochester, NY ) was dominant on the floor for the Royals with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists. Paul Hart (Ancaster) added 16 points for Redeemer while Victor McGinnis had 22 for Lambton.

The team had little time to prepare for their next game against St. Clair as they traveled from Sarnia to Windsor on Saturday morning for their 4 p.m. tip-off. Unlike the tense moments in Friday’s game, the Royals took an early lead on Saturday and carried it to the final whistle with the win never really in doubt with the final score 74-59 for Redeemer.

Luarasi continued his dominant weekend with 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists and once again led the Royals in scoring. Four Redeemer Royals hit double figures as Michael Duah (Brampton), 17 points, Navanga Burke (Mississauga), 16 points, and Benn Ibrahim (Windsor), 15 points each contributed to the offense.

The two wins on the weekend push the Royals to a tie for fourth place in the very competitive OCAA West Division. The men’s basketball team has four games remaining before the Christmas Break. Their next game is against the division leading Niagara Knights (5-1) on Saturday, Nov. 26 while the other three are against Fanshawe College (3-2), Sheridan College (3-2), and Mohawk College (3-2). All teams have an identical 3-2 records.