By Bobby Mihalik
ETOBICOKE, Ont – The latest chapter in the storied rivalry between the Humber Hawks (10-4, 4th West) and the Sheridan Bruins (11-2, 2nd West) men's basketball teams became the most heated and emotional game of the year for the Hawks. Overcoming a late blown lead, the Hawks triumphed 100-98 in overtime on Thursday night in front of a completely packed crowd at the North Campus Gym.
With Kenny Ejim opening the scoring early, the Hawks started the first quarter strong, soon pulling ahead of the Bruins. Maintaining their lead, the Hawks would finish the first with 25 points, outscoring Sheridan by six on the strength of ten points from Ejim shooting 5 for eight from the field.
The second quarter's scoring was almost identical to the first, with the Hawks scoring another 25 points against the Bruins' 18. A last-second three-pointer from Jordan Rose capped off the half, increasing the Hawks' lead to 13. DeQuon Cascart's nine points led the Hawks in the second, going 3-for-5 on both field goals and three-pointers.
Tempers flared between the heated rivals in the third as more fouls called against both teams sent tensions rising, both on the court and among the attendees. The Bruins would outscore the Hawks by one in the quarter, riding on the scoring of AJ Thomson and Nick Campbell and staying right on Humber's heels.
The emotions in the building only grew stronger in the fourth, as Humber's lead was put in jeopardy by an overwhelming Sheridan rally. After squandering a 12-point lead, the Hawks found themselves tied with the Bruins at 74 points apiece before regaining the lead on several free-throw shots. Ahead by three points with seconds left, the Hawks' celebration was put on ice after a buzzer-beating three-point shot tied the game 82-82 and sent it into overtime.
With the audience of Hawks and Bruins fans barely able to contain themselves, overtime commenced, emotions from the stands almost boiling over onto the court. The lead switched back and forth constantly between Humber and Sheridan as multiple fouls were called on both sides. With the Bruins leading 92-90 with only 90 seconds to go, the Hawks, desperate to avoid another overtime heartbreak, rallied. Pulling back ahead of their rivals for the final time and stealing the ball with seconds left to go, putting the finishing touch on a 100-98 victory.
The Hawks' win ends a four-game losing streak to the Bruins. The Hawks would ultimately finish at 44.6 percent (33-of-74) shooting from the field and converting 30.8 percent (8-of-26) of their three-point attempts. Both teams had a very high number of free throw attempts, with the Hawks shooting 68.4 percent (26-of-38) and the Bruins shooting 70.2 percent (33-of-47).
Ejim led the Hawks in points, scoring 25 and getting ten rebounds for a double-double. Cascart, who was named the Hawks Nation Player of the Game after the victory, had 18 points and eight rebounds and led the team with three steals.
Campbell led the Bruins in points with 21, while Tremaine Hibbert had 11 rebounds. John Avery, whose three-point shot sent the game into extra minutes, had 19 points.
- Kenny Ejim scored 20-plus points for the ninth time this season and recorded his second double-double of the year.
- DeQuon Cascart hit a career-high seven free throws, six of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime.
- The Hawks finished with a season-high 13 blocked shots in the contest, the most in the Patrick Au era.
- Humber hit the century mark for the eighth time this season, breaking the program record established by the 1990-91 national championship team coached by Mike Katz.
- Humber improves to 47-55 against Sheridan all-time in regular season action; and 2-3 against ranked opponents this season.
Next up for the Hawks is a road matchup against the Mohawk Mountaineers (7-7, 7th West) on Jan. 30. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.