BRAMPTON – In what can only be described as an instant classic, the Sheridan Bruins defended their Ontario crown by knocking off previously unbeaten Algonquin in the championship game of the 2014 Ontario Colleges Athletic Association men’s basketball championship, when a last second heave from Algonquin’s Derrek Mooney (Ottawa) missed by no more than a couple of inches. That gave Sheridan a 76-75 championship victory.
“We played really well and there’s nothing there to choose between the two teams – it came down to one shot with a win by one point,” Sheridan head coach Jim Flack said. “It’s a game of inches and the Algonquin Thunder is one of the most courageous teams we’ve faced all year. They wouldn’t go away, but I think we matched their courage and really it came down to who was going to make one play at the end. Mooney had it in his hands and that is one brave guy, took that shot, he didn’t hesitate and if it’s two inches in another direction, we’re the ones crying tears right now. Instead, we’re fortunate enough to lift a banner.”
The game had an incredible intensity and pace to start, as the opening quarter featured seven ties, with the Thunder holding a slim 26-23 advantage at the end of it.
Algonquin started to tilt the momentum in its favour in the opening moments of the second frame – taking the biggest lead of the game for either side at 41-31 – but the Bruins replied with a 15-0 run and led 48-44 at the break.
Sheridan pushed the lead as high as six in the third quarter, only to see the Thunder re-claim the lead at 63-61, before yet another lead change saw the hosts in front 66-65 heading into the final period.
With the pressure mounting as the game was approaching its apex, both sides began to employ a more methodical approach offensively and with the entire 10 minutes played within a three-point margin.
In the final minute with the Bruins trailing 75-74, Paul Williams (Brampton) got into the lane and though his initial attempt was off the mark, he corralled the rebound and put it home off the window to re-claim the lead with 15.9 seconds remaining.
The Sheridan defence held strong on the ensuing Algonquin possession, nearly forcing the turnover, but Trevor Williams (Toronto) couldn’t quite collect the loose ball before it went out of bounds.
The Thunder had a chance for one final play with 1.8 seconds left. Inbounding off the left wing, the ball went to Mooney on the right wing and his attempt narrowly missed.
Michael Selkridge (Brampton) scored 18 points to lead the Bruins – he would also be named tournament MVP – while Dylan Periana (Brampton) chipped in with 17.
Njuguna Waiganjo (Ottawa) scored a game-high 33 points, cementing his status as a tournament all-star, while Mooney posted 13 and Patrick Lumumba (Ottawa) had 11.
Trevor Williams from Sheridan and Tyrelle Samuels (Toronto) from Algonquin rounded out the championship all-star team.
The Humber Hawks rebounded from a disappointing end to their semi-final contest against Algonquin but will still leave the basketball championship with some hardware, downing Durham 80-65 to win the bronze medal.
In the early going, Humber jumped out to a 15-9 lead but saw Durham quickly pull even. By the end of the quarter though, Humber was in front 25-21.
A 10-2 run early in the second pushed the Humber advantage to 14, on their way to a 47-33 halftime lead.
They then blew the game wide open at the start of the second half with an 11-0 run to start the third quarter.
Greg Edelsward (Burlington) scored a game-high 27 for Humber while Brett Neumann (Georgetown) also hit double figures with 15.
Ajahmo Clarke (Ajax) – who was also named a tournament all-star – led Durham with 15.
Tyrone Dickson (Scarborough) was also named a tournament all-star for Humber.
OCAA Tournament MVP
Michael Selkridge, Sheridan
OCAA Tournament All-Stars
Ajahmo Clarke, Durham
Tyrone Dickson, Humber
Tyrelle Samuels, Algonquin
Njuguna Waiganjo, Algonquin
Trevor Williams, Sheridan
OCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Thursday, Feb. 27
Game 1 – Algonquin 89, Durham 70
Game 2 – Humber 71, Seneca 53
Game 3 – Mohawk 99, Fanshawe 52
Game 4 – Sheridan 99, George Brown 89 (OT)
Friday, Feb. 28
Game 5 – Durham 78, Seneca 75
Game 6 – George Brown 80, Fanshawe 70
Game 7 – Algonquin 75, Humber 48
Game 8 – Sheridan 86, Mohawk 80
Saturday, March 1
Game 9 – Humber 81, George Brown 60
Game 10 – Durham 96, Mohawk 90
Bronze Medal Match
Game 11 – Humber 80, Durham 65
Gold Medal Match
Game 12 – Sheridan 76, Algonquin 75