Mohawk’s men’s and women’s basketball teams started second semester play on winning notes Wednesday (Jan. 8).
After the new David Braley Athletic and Recreation Centre had its official opening ceremony, the Mountaineers women hit the court and immediately fell behind the visiting Niagara Knights 9-0. However, they rallied with a 10-0 run to take the lead, led 31-26 at the half en route to a 68-55 Ontario Colleges Athletic Association victory..
It was a lethal sister act for the Mountaineers as Rachelle Abella had 16 points and seven rebounds and Jen Abella added 15 points.
Mohawk head coach Kevin Duffy said the coaches are always telling the players to keep the pressure up and they’ll wear down the legs of the other team. “They had 39 turnovers, we had 26. They had eight assists, we had 18,” said Duffy. “Those are really key stats to win, I was happy the girls kept their poise.”
He said the team’s come from behind win in last weekend’s Seneca tournament showed what the coaches have been saying all along. “Now that we have everybody healthy, we can wear teams down. The other thing we learned is we know if we’re eight, nine, ten points down, with three to four minutes left, we’re going to have fresh legs. We know we’re never out of games. We have a quick strike offence.”
With the victory, Mohawk moved to within two points of Niagara, which is tied for third place in the OCAA West Division. The Mountaineers are 6-4. The Knights are 7-3.
Meanwhile the Mohawk men improved to 7-3 with a 79-62 decision over winless Niagara. The Mountaineers led 41-26 at the half.
Matt Fennell had 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the home side. Andrew Cicuttini scored 17 points and added 11 rebounds.
Mohawk’s head coach Brian Jonker said his team showed a bit of rust. Even though they played three games in Arizona during the holiday break, it was the Mountaineers first league game in a month. He also noted while Niagara has no wins,, they’ve added a couple of players.
“They’re a lot better than they were in the first semester,” said the coach. “We were happy to get a win. Now we have a good week of practice ahead of us before meeting Humber (Jan 16).”