By Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
The 2017 belairdirect OCAA (Ontario Colleges Athletic Association) Men’s Basketball Championship was a resounding success as seven of the 11 games played altogether were decided by single digits, with two games going to overtime.
The gold medal game was won by the Sheridan Bruins on a last second shot, beating the George Brown Huskies, 76-74. The bronze medal game was won by the Humber Hawks, beating the Niagara Knights, 82-79. Both the Bruins and Huskies advanced to the CCAA Championships by winning their semi-final games.
This year’s championships were hosted by Centennial College as the tournament was expected to draw hundreds of spectators from all colleges involved. The tournament was truly hosted by Centennial students as departments like broadcasting and film (live stream of the games), journalism (photos, recaps), public relations (social media) and graphic design were involved in making this tournament a successful one.
In their last years as Colts, co-captains Marko Curic, Alex (AC) Hagoriles, and Paul (LC) Walwyn have been phenomenal in leading a young Centennial team to the provincials. Curic is a First Team All-Star and led the team in scoring (17.3 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg) and blocks (2.4 bpg) while Hagoriles and Walwyn have averaged double figures in scoring. Walwyn is second on the team in scoring (13.9 ppg) while Hagoriles averages 10.8 ppg. Point guard Josh McFarlane has made a statement in his first year at Centennial, being a Second Team all-star and leading the team in steals (3.2 spg) and assists (6.7 apg) while Malcolm Jackson was named to the All-Rookie Team.
As for our host Colts, this season was one to remember as they improved by an incredible nine games from 6-14 (last in the OCAA East) last year to 15-5 this year, finishing in third place in the OCAA East. Although they earned an automatic entry to the tournament due to being the hosts, this team earned their spot.
Their quarterfinal matchup saw them face off against the second seeded Knights on the first day (March 2). The crowd was rocking as both teams were evenly matched in regulation, with a layup from Curic forcing overtime. However, the Colts eventually lost in a heart-breaker, 70-66, to the Knights. Curic led Centennial with 20 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks but Hagoriles was the story of the game, keeping the Colts alive with 17 points and was the only player that shot 50 per cent from the field. Hagoriles also hit five three pointers and had four steals.
In the consolation semi-final, Centennial then lost a high scoring game, 93-85, to the Fanshawe Falcons. Walwyn led the Colts with 26 points, Curic had 20 points, while McFarlane nearly had a triple double with 13 points, nine rebounds and 14 assists.
Overall, it has been a fantastic season to look back for our Colts.
The Centennial Colts women’s basketball team has also enjoyed a bounce back season, going 9-8 and finishing in fourth place in the OCAA East. After finishing 4-10 last season, the Colts improved by a full five games. It was a season to remember for rookie sensation Yasmeen Smith. The forward led the team in scoring, averaging 14.4 ppg and led the OCAA in rebounding, averaging 11.9 rpg. Smith led Centennial in steals with 2.1 spg, was a Second Team All-Star and was also named to the All-Rookie Team. Veteran and fifth year forward Kayla Higgins, in her final year at Centennial, was named the OCAA East Division Defensive Player of the Year, averaging 8.1 rpg, 2.1 spg, and 1.0 bpg.
Before she graduated at the end of first semester, point guard Ana Casado Simon-Talero was second on the team in scoring with 9.9 ppg and led Centennial in assists with 3.1 apg. The Colts headed to Niagara to play a crossover game against the fourth seeded Knights to determine a spot in the OCAA Championships. Although Centennial fought hard, they fell to Niagara, 86-72.
Four players scored in double figures as Smith led Centennial with 23 points and eight rebounds. Higgins had 13 points and a team high three steals while forward Aliyah Campbell-East had 11 points and guard Judy Ta scored 10. Overall, it was a great season for our Lady Colts.