With only a skeleton of the student body sticking around throughout the fall reading week, the friendly confines of the Bob Davis Gymnasium have been pretty quiet. The Men’s Basketball program was supposed to host an exhibition with the Cedarville Yellow Jackets from Ohio (NCAA Division II) on Oct. 16, but the game was cancelled.
While many of their colleagues took off for trips home and abroad, the Brock men’s and women’s basketball teams travelled across the country for their first tournaments of the season. The men would head east to La Belle Province for the McGill Classic, while the women’s program headed west to the University of Alberta for the PBB Hoopfest.
Though still in the exhibition season, it was a chance to run the floor against some of the country’s best collegiate teams with both Badgers squads playing three games each over the Oct. 17-19 weekend. Both teams were also riding three game winning streaks, of which the Badger women were undefeated.
On Oct. 17, the men’s program took on the defending OUA champions, the Ottawa GeeGees, to kick off the tournament. The GeeGees showed their prowess from the very start on their way to handing the Badgers a 39-point loss 109-70. Keep in mind that this is a young Badgers squad with only a few players having played more than a season of university ball at Brock. The Badgers ran into a strong GeeGee perimeter game with the ponies shooting 22-for-29 beyond the arc – a staggering 75.9 per cent. 6-foot-5 freshman guard Johneil Simpson led the Badgers in scoring with 19 points, with senior Matt Marshall coming one rebound shy of a double double (12 points, 9 rebounds).
The women’s team also dropped their first tournament game to the Alberta Pandas 67-63. Down by 15 heading into the fourth quarter, the Badgers turned up the defensive pressure to close the Panda lead, but would fall by four points to the 2014 Canada West semi-finalists. Rookie guard Melissa Tatti and senior point guard Jenalyn Yumol led the way for Brock with 12 and 10 points respectively. UofA was led by Saskia Van Ginhoven with a 21 and 10 double double on a team that had seven of their top eight scorers return from last season.
On Oct. 18, the women’s team rebounded with a 79-63 victory over the Thompson River Wolfpack. Junior Katie Harpur and sophomore Kira Cornelissen played strong games up front as the team looks to fill the voids left by graduated forwards Nicole Rosencrantz and Samantha de Jong. Harpur picked up an 11-point, 12 rebound double-double while Cornelissen finished with 12 points and 6 boards (consistency with numbers or words). Joining them was Tatti who led the Badgers in scoring for the second consecutive game with 12 points and 9 assists. Becky Ralph also chipped in 10 points in the victory, while defensively the Badgers kept the Wolfpack to an anemic 25.3 per cent shooting from the field.
On the men’s side, they dropped their second straight game to the McGill Redmen. The Badgers got out to a quick start to produce a 12-point lead at half-time. In the second half, the Redmen battled back, and eventually took the lead for good in the fourth quarter on their way to a 76-68 win over the Badgers. Point guard Yusuf Ali was Brock’s top scorer with 16 points, and Zack Angelini, Johneil Simpson and Matt Marshall all finished with double-digit scoring.
The Badgers men’s team will be hosting the RBC Classic tournament Oct. 24-26 featuring the University of Fraser Valley, UQAM and Regina. The women’s team is back on the road for a tournament at Laurentian University Oct. 31-Nov. 2 and will return to the Badgers Den for their regular season home opener Nov. 14.