TORONTO — The regular season and the post-season are two different challenges for teams in any sport across the world.
Last season, the George Brown Huskies put together an impressive regular season, but they weren’t able to turn that into post-season success. The last time that the Huskies won the OCAA Championship was back in 1975-76. It was their third straight league title.
Since then, the Huskies haven’t been able to capture the OCAA Championship.
The 2017-18 season saw the Huskies contend atop the OCAA East Division with the Seneca Sting, who would eventually go on to win the CCAA Championship. The Huskies finished in second place in the regular season standings with a record of 18-2 in league play, putting them just a game behind the Sting for first-place.
In the OCAA Championships, losses to both the Humber Hawks and Lambton Lions brought an early end to the 2017-18 season for the Huskies. After a silver medal finish in 2016-17, George Brown will be looking to build off last year’s impressive regular season and return to the podium in the post-season in 2018-19.
The Huskies closed out the 2017-18 regular season on a roll, winning eight straight games to build a ton of momentum heading into the post-season. However, in single-elimination games in the playoffs, regular season stats and momentum go out the door altogether. It’s anyone’s game come the post-season, and the Huskies learned that rather quickly.
In their quarter-final match-up with Humber, the Huskies had their hands full from the outset. It was a closely contested contest all the way to the final buzzer, but the Hawks pulled off the 78-73 upset to send George Brown to the consolation side of the bracket.
A day later, George Brown saw their season come to an end at the hands of Lambton College, 92-84.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, the Huskies will be looking to continue their regular season success. They will look to carry that success into the post-season and make a run at both the OCAA and CCAA titles. With talented pieces back on their roster this season, the Huskies should once again be one of the top teams in the OCAA East Division.
Five players averaged double-digit points per game last season for the Huskies, and while their 2018-19 roster hasn’t been posted to their team website as of yet, it looks as though three of them will be in the mix this season.
Last year, his second season with the team, guard Alex Petronis put together an impressive campaign despite playing in just 14 of the team’s 20 regular season games. The 6’5” guard from Toronto averaged a team-high 27.4 minutes per contest across his 14 appearances, making 11 starts on the year.
Petronis came to the Huskies from the Dalhousie Tigers in the AUS (U Sports), and he wasted little time in having an impact with his new team. In their regular season opener against the La Cite Coyotes, Petronis went for 20 points in the Huskies’ blowout win. He went on to average 16.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, all of which were good for the second-best marks on the team. He is a talented guard who can score from all areas of the floor, and he utilizes his size to have an impact in the paint on both ends of the court.
Also back in 2018-19 is forward Adam Costanzo, who is coming off a strong debut season in the OCAA. The 6’5” forward from Ottawa, ON led the Huskies with 7.6 rebounds per game last season as a first-year player. Costanzo made a team-high 19 starts over the course of the year, while playing in all 20 regular season games.
He finished fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 10.7 points per game on 46.4% shooting from the floor. During the regular season, Costanzo posted five double-double performances, and he added another one in the Huskies’ final game of the year against Lambton. Look for more of the same from Costanzo in 2018-19 as he gains more experience in the OCAA and continues to work on his game on both ends of the court.
With only two fifth-year players on their roster from last season, the Huskies will have the vast majority of their group back in 2018-19. One of the graduating fifth-year players happened to be their leading scorer, DJ James. Across his 20 regular season appearances, James averaged a team-best 16.4 points per game to go along with 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
Justin Bhangoo (5.3 ppg) is the second graduate from last year’s team.
Since this year’s roster has yet to be released, it’s unclear as to whether or not Matthew Bukovec will be back in the mix for his fifth year of eligibility with the Huskies. He made 15 appearances over the course of the year, posting 12.7 points per game. The return of Bukovec will give the Huskies a talented fifth-year player, and a veteran leader for the younger players.
Looking at who the Huskies could have back this season, there is a ton of potential for the program in 2018-19. Coming off a 2017-18 season that saw them lose just two games over the course of the regular season, George Brown will be looking to continue their recent stretch of strong play against OCAA opponents, but this time they will look to make a deep post-season run.
With other top teams in the OCAA bringing back their fair share of talented players, the Huskies will have their hands full once again in league play. However, they have the pieces in place to make a run at the OCAA Championship and advance back to the CCAA National Championship tournament.
– T. Bennett