Bruins Win Second Straight OCAA Basketball Crown
In what can only be described as an instant classic, the Sheridan Bruins men’s basketball team (30-5, 18-3 OCAA) defended their Ontario crown by knocking off previously unbeaten Algonquin in the OCAA Championship Game, when a last second heave from Algonquin’s Derrek Mooney missed by no more than a couple of inches.
“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 their 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 their 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 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 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 Derrek Mooney on the right wing and his attempt narrowly missed.
Michael Selkridge scored 18 points to lead the Bruins — he would also be named tournament MVP — while Dylan Periana chipped in with 17.
Njuguna Waiganjo scored a game-high 33 points, cementing his status as a tournament All-Star, while Mooney posted 13 and Patrick Lumumba had 11.
Trevor Williams from Sheridan and Tyrelle Samuels from Algonquin rounded out the Championship All-Star team.
Blue notes: In the near 50-year history of the OCAA, this was just the fourth time the Championship Game had been decided by a single point. Sheridan has now been the victor in three of them, adding to a resume that already included an 89-88 win over George Brown in 1990 and a 77-76 win over Humber in 1999. It also marks the fifth time that a Sheridan team has been successful in defending their crown. The victory gave the club 30 on the year, the 10th time in school history that a team has reached that bench mark with all of them winning medals and seven of them winning championships.
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