Courtesy of Niagara Athletics
WELLAND, Ont -- The Humber Hawks are heading to the OCAA Men's Basketball Championship final after defeating the high-powered Redeemer Royals 84-75. Not only do the Hawks clinch their spot to compete for OCAA Gold, but automatically book their ticket to the CCAA National Championship in Laval, Quebec.
Humber looked to be the better program in the first half, outscoring the Royals 42-28. Entering the break down by fourteen, the OCAA West Division Champion Royals needed to find a way to get back into the game.
For the second straight game, the stands were packed with Royals' fans, encouraging their guys not to give up. Redeemer responded positively to their hometown support, slowly chipping away at the Hawks lead in the second half. During the final minutes of the game, the Royals looked to be sparking a comeback closing the deficit to 5 points. When it mattered most, the Hawks' offence kept the Royals at bay, answering every Redeemer onslaught with points of their own. In the end, Humber's counter-attack proved to be too much for the Royals to come back from.
"This win feels good," said Hawks' third-year forward Kenny Ejim. "It is hard to beat a team three times in a season, and we proved that today, winning when it mattered most."
Humber's attack was spread across their roster Friday night with five players finishing with points in the double digits. "When we are clicking the way we were tonight, we are a hard team to beat," said Ejim. Ejim led his program's offensive attack with a team-high 19 points.
Redeemer was paced offensively by the first-year guard Elijah Lostracco. The rookie from Oakville, Ontario posted a game-high 30 points in just 29 minutes of floor time. Lostracco's continued success during this year's OCAA Championship will be crucial if the Royals look to bring home a medal for the for a time in their program's history.
Player's of the game was awarded to Humber's fourth-year guard Curwin Elvis (Brampton, Ont.) and Redeemer's rookie guard Elijah Lostracco.
Redeemer will play for bronze Saturday, March 3rd against the loser of the semi-final between Sheridan and Seneca. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 pm.
Humber's opponent in the OCAA Gold medal game will be determined by the semi-final between the Sheridan Bruins and the Seneca Sting. Their game is scheduled for Saturday, March 3rd at 7 pm.