SCARBOROUGH, ONT. - Day 2 of the 2017 Belairdirect OCAA Men's Basketball Championships was underway as the first consolation match was a battle between the fourth seeded Redeemer Royals from the West Division and the second seeded Seneca Sting from the East Division.
Redeemer, led by OCAA Player of the Year Rayvon Higdon (#15), pulled off an upset in their crossover match, beating the Alqonquin Thunder, 87-75. The Royals then were faced with a seemingly impossible task in yesterday afternoon's quarterfinal - beating the top ranked Sheridan Bruins not only in the OCAA, but also in the CCAA. Redeemer fought tooth and nail against Sheridan but ultimately fell short, losing 100-85.
Seneca, led by OCAA Rookie of the Year Khalil Miller (#14), finished second in the OCAA East with a record of 17-3, but were overmatched in yesterday's quarterfinal against the third ranked Humber Hawks from the OCAA West. Although the Sting started off hot, hitting nine of 11 shots in the first quarter, Seneca wilted under Humber's defensive pressure and were undone by turnovers as they fell 82-61.
In a trend from last night, today's game came down to the final minute. Redeemer guard Foster Brown's (#10) layup was the difference in the game as the Royals punched a berth in the consolation final with a 66-62 win over the Sting.
Both teams shot under 30 per cent for the game as this was a defensive battle. However, despite Seneca outrebounding Redeemer, 60-44, three point shooting and free throws were the differences in the game as the Royals hit four more threes (9-5) and free throws (17-13) than the Sting.
It was clear that the afternoon start affected both teams as offense was hard to come by. The Royals shot just 17.6 per cent (3-17) from the field and 10 per cent (1-10) from behind the arc.
The Sting didn't fare much better, shooting 25 per cent (5-20) in the quarter but outrebounded Redeemer 15-11 to take a four point lead into the second quarter.
The second quarter saw Seneca push their lead up to five (18-13) before Redeemer slowly chipped away and took a 25-23 lead on a three pointer from guard Nicholas Green (#5). Seneca, however, took a one point lead (27-26) at the break. The Royals committed 10 turnovers at the half and were outrebounded 26-21 by the Sting.
Green was the only player in double figures for Redeemer with 12 points on four three pointers made. Guard Haroun Mohamed (#4) was Seneca's leading scorer at the half with seven points while Miller had 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Seneca was ready to play in the third quarter, scoring the first six points less than two minutes in. A timeout by Redeemer sparked the Royals, who then went on a 15-4 run to go up 41-37. The Sting pulled off seven straight points, capped off by a three pointer from guard Dimitri Lim (#12). The score was 44-42 for Seneca heading into the final quarter.
Higdon and Miller got it going for Redeemer and Seneca, respectively after slow starts to the game. Higdon scored eight points in the quarter for Redeemer while Miller had six points and five rebounds in the quarter for Seneca.
In the fourth quarter, Seneca was up four before Redeemer pulled off six straight points to take a 52-50 lead. However, Mohamed hit a three and a layup to put the Sting back up 55-52.
The game went back and forth but turned in favour of the Royals as Mohamed fouled out of the game. Higdon then hit two free throws and Brown then hit a tough layup to put Redeemer up by two with a minute left in the game (62-60).
Higdon and Miller then hit two free throws each afterwards to make the score, 64-62, before Green sank both of his free throws to ice the game.
Higdon, despite struggling with his shot throughout the game, scored 21 of his 22 points in the second half to lead all scorers. He also had seven rebounds and seven assists. Green scored 17 points on five threes while Brown had nine points and a team high eight rebounds to cap off the Royals' high scorers.
Four players scored in double figures for the Sting. Miller, despite shooting poorly, was a monster on the glass with 25 rebounds, nine of which were on the offensive end. He finished with 16 points for a double double and also had four blocks to lead Seneca. Forward Daniel Wright (#10) and Mohamed had 12 points apiece while forward Hugh Taylor (#7) had 11. Lim led the Sting with eight assists in the loss.