SARNIA, Ontario — Rivalry games always add a little extra intrigue to sporting events, regardless of the sport.
Wednesday night is a quiet night across the basketball landscape in Canada, as there are only four games on tap between both the men and women. Two games take place in the OCAA, while two games take place out on the East Coast in the ACAA. Despite it being a quiet night, the stage is set for a marquee rivalry game that will see its 103rd installment in the regular season play out in Toronto.
The Humber Hawks and Sheridan Bruins are both ranked inside the top 10 of the latest CCAA Top 15 rankings, which only adds more excitement and anticipation to Wednesday night’s tilt on the men’s side of the ball. For the women, the 10th-ranked Bruins will look to play spoiler on the road against a new-look Humber team who is in its first season without Ceejay Nofuente.
On the East Coast, the Crandall Chargers continue their four-game home stand to open the season when they welcome the Mount Allison Mounties to town. The eighth-ranked Mounties will look to continue their strong play on the women’s side to open the season, while the men’s team will look to build off a win in their last outing against a Crandall team who will be looking to bounce back after their first loss last time out.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of a quiet Wednesday night across Canada on the hardwood.
Humber Hawks Battle Sheridan Bruins for 103rd Time in Rivalry
Simply put, the rivalry between the Bruins and Hawks is one of the top rivalries in the entire CCAA. Wednesday night marks their 103rd meeting in the regular season, and the Hawks come into the game riding a bit of momentum in the series having won the last five meetings between the two on the men’s side.
Since 2000, the men’s basketball programs at Humber and Sheridan have combined for 13 provincial championships. That’s a big testament to the level of success that the teams have been accustomed to since the turn of the millennium.
Sheridan comes into Wednesday’s game on the heels of their first loss of the season. The Bruins were the top team in the CCAA rankings last week, but a 112-109 loss on the road to the Redeemer Royals dropped them down to the fifth spot. Against the Royals, there were 14 lead changes and five ties in the fourth quarter alone, but the Bruins were unable to complete the comeback when all was said and done.
Still, the Bruins have the best offense in the country. They are averaging 122.3 points per game on the offensive end of the floor through four games, and that will be a tall order for the Hawks to control. Sheridan has four players averaging double-digit points per game, led by Kahleek Bakari- (23.0 ppg) and Jemol Edwards (18.8 ppg).
Not to be outdone, the Hawks have three players of their own averaging double-figures on the year. Curwin Elvis leads the team with an average of 17.0 points per game while first-year guard Kevin Otoo is posting an average of 15.5 points per contest. Humber’s defense will be key to victory, as they rank third in the OCAA with an average of 12.5 steals per game.
On the women’s side of the ball, the Bruins are off to a strong start after finishing below .500 last season (9-11). Sheridan has started the season with a perfect 4-0 record, and they will look to keep their winning ways going against a Humber team that comes into the night with a 2-1 record over its first three games.
Following a loss to the top-ranked Fanshawe Falcons in their season opener, the Hawks have since rattled off two straight wins and are riding a wave of momentum into Wednesday night’s showdown with Sheridan. They have a great opportunity to knock off one of Canada’s top teams on their home floor and make a statement that they are still a threat to win it all, even after the graduation of Nofuente.
In the regular season, Sheridan hasn’t been overly tested, as all four of their wins have come by at least 14 points. They are averaging over 81 points per game on the offensive end of the floor, and they have held all four of their opponents below 70 points this season. If they can continue their strong play on both ends of the court on Wednesday, a fifth straight win could be in the cards.
The Bruins will be led by Theresa Brown who is one of the OCAA”s top scorers. Brown leads Sheridan with an average of 22.3 points per contest on 52.6% shooting from the floor. Sydney Charvis (15.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.3 spg) is a two-way threat that the Hawks will need to keep an eye on throughout the night.
For the Hawks, they will look to get productive outings from the likes of Miea Campbell-Johnson and Jahnae Gyles. To this point in the year, Campbell-Johnson leads the Hawks in scoring, averaging 15.5 points per game to go along with her 6.5 rebounds. Gyles can impact the game on both ends of the floor, as evident by her average stat line of 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 4.0 steals per game.
Both games in Toronto will be marquee match-ups that you won’t want to miss if you’re in the area. If you aren’t, watching the online streams of the games will show you what these teams have to offer, and will give you a look into the rivalry that is Humber versus Sheridan.
Crandall Chargers Continue Four-Game Home Stand, Host Mount Allison Mounties
The Crandall Chargers men’s and women’s basketball teams have had the luxury of staying right at home to start the season. A four-game home stand to kick off the 2018-19 season gives the Chargers a leg up in their contests, but both teams enter Wednesday night with matching 1-1 records.
On the men’s side of the ball, they are coming off a loss in their previous outing to the Mount Saint Vincent Mystics, 75-71. Crandall picked up a win in their opener, but were unable to build off the win last time out. As for the Mounties, their results have been flipped in compared to the Chargers. Mount Allison dropped their regular season opener to the Mystics before picking up an 88-77 win over the St. Thomas Tommies on Sunday afternoon.
The pair of Kendal Brown and Daniel Maxwell have led the way for the Chargers through their first two games, and both players are averaging 19.5 points per contest. If Crandall wants to knock off the Mounties on Wednesday, they will need to find their groove from three-point range. As a team, they are shooting just 29.1% from beyond the arc in their first two games.
For the Mounties, they will rely on the likes of Brett Curtis (12.0 ppg) and James French (10.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg) to help them extend their winning streak to a modest two games. They are averaging 71.0 points per game on offense though two games, which is roughly 10 points less than the Chargers. Defense will be key for the Mounties if they want to move to 2-1 on the year.
On the women’s side of the ball, the nationally ranked Mounties will look to improve on their 1-1 record to start the year. Mount Allison dropped their season opener to the high-powered Mystics, 73-46, before picking up a three-point win over St. Thomas University in their last outing, 54-51. The Mounties are the eighth-ranked team in Canada, and a win would help to solidify their ranking for another week.
The Chargers are in a similar boat to that of the Mounties, whereas they have a 1-1 record through two games this season and have a loss to the Mystics to their name. Last time out, Crandall fell to Mount Saint Vincent in convincing fashion, 87-42. The Chargers will be looking for a strong bounce-back performance on their home floor to get above .500 for the season.
Jill Harris is the only player who is averaging double-digit points for the Mounties through two games. Harris is averaging 11.5 points per contest to go along with 6.0 rebounds. Including Harris, the Mounties have five players averaging at least 5.0 points per game, so they will rely on their depth to carry them to victory on Wednesday night.
The Chargers will rely on the likes of Emily Briggs and Kylee Balser on Wednesday night. Last time out, Briggs went for a team-high 15 points and six rebounds against the Mystics, while Balser added 10 points in the loss.
OCAA: #10 Sheridan Bruins @ Humber Hawks (6:00pm EST; Toronto, ON)
ACAA: #8 Mount Allison Mounties @ Crandall Chargers (6:00pm EST; Moncton, NB)
OCAA: #5 Sheridan Bruins @ #9 Humber Hawks (8:00pm EST; Toronto, ON)
ACAA: Mount Allison Mounties @ Crandall Chargers (8:00pm EST, Moncton, NB)
– T. Bennett