By: Ronny Musikitele
Humber Athletics Sports Information
ETOBICOKE, Ont -- No. 11 Humber women's basketball (8-1, 2nd West) held off the St. Clair Saints (5-3, 4th West) Saturday afternoon, concluding the first half of the regular season with an 89-83 win.
Jahnae Gyles returned to the lineup after suffering an injury in early November scoring 10 points in her first five minutes of action. As a result to her hot start, Gyles was awarded the player of the game, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds and three steals.
"Knowing that I was coming off the bench, I knew I had to set the tempo for the team, and that's what I tried to do," Gyles said after the game.
With key players returning, the Hawks bench gave the team the depth they had been waiting for. Humber's excitement was evident, scoring a season-high 34 points in the first quarter while shooting an efficient 81.2 percent (13-for-16) from the field. The Hawks defence smothered St. Clair in the first half, holding the Saints to 31.1 percent (14-for-45) from the field in the first half and went into the break leading, 56-39.
In the second half, the Hawks left the window open, and the Saints made a big run. St. Clair began making big shots, outscoring the Hawks 44-33 in the last two quarters. Jana Kucera scored a game-high 28 points, and Noor Bazzi contributed with 24 points as the two helped the Saints trim their deficit to eight points in the third quarter. Despite the Hawks taking their foot off the gas, Leticia Lopez helped her team maintain their lead the rest of the way. Lopez notched her second straight double-double, finishing the game with 22 points and ten rebounds.
The victory was a milestone win for head coach Ajay Sharma, who became the first coach in program history to win 150 games. In his eighth season, Coach Sharma owns a career record of 150-23 (.867).
"I think it just speaks to the level of players we've had over the years. I coach practices, and the players win games. It's their milestone, not mine," said Coach Sharma.
As the Hawks take a break from OCAA action and prepare for their second-half push, Coach Sharma believes the team is heading in the right direction.
"Everyday we plan to get better, work on us and become the team that could play 40 minutes and be invisible for 40 minutes. We're not there yet, but I like our chess pieces. We just need to add the mental side and establish more discipline."
No. 11 Humber will return to OCAA action after the holiday break with its annual trip to southwest Ontario to play St. Clair (5-3, 4th West) on Jan. 12 and Lambton (5-4, 5th West) on Jan. 13.