On Nov. 28 the Brock women’s and men’s basketball teams broke into the history books as they hosted the Lakehead Thunderwolves at the Meridian Centre. It was a game that hosted the largest audience in Brock sports history, with a reported record setting attendance of 2,887 people. The list of people in the crowd included Brock students, alumni, staff, members of the community and other big names.
Along with the record breaking crowd, the Badgers saw a couple other records broken during the women’s and men’s game. The women’s point guard Jenalyn Yumol became the all-time assist leader in Brock women’s basketball history as she picked up her 355th assist in her career during the fourth quarter.
“Honestly, it has not sunk in yet,” said Yumol. “I have to give it up to my teammates, not just this year, but for my entire career.”
“The credit goes to her and it’s all about her work ethic,” said head coach Si Khounviseth. “She bought into our program philosophy and that’s the key, we believed in her and she believed in us.”
Also, during the first quarter of the men’s game Dani Elgadi moved into ninth on Brock’s all-time rebound record with 722 rebounds passing Kevin Moore. Finally, during the second quarter the Badgers honoured men’s soccer head coach Bill Millar for his 32 years of running a high-class program.
In terms of the game, the Badgers women and men swept the Thunderwolves on Friday night at the Brock home opener held in the Bob Davis Gym, and did so again Saturday at the historic Meridian Centre game. The women picked up a convincing 72-50 win and the men dominated from the opening tip to win 84-51.
You could feel the energy in the air to start the women’s game as the crowd continued to pile in. Throughout the first quarter the Badgers had opportunity to break the game open, but multiple turnovers and missed layups for Brock kept the Thunderwolves in it early. The Badgers had eight turnovers in the opening quarter.
“We came in a little nervous and once we settled into our game the execution was spot on,” said Khounviseth.
The execution was truly spot on from there on out as the Badgers held the Thunderwolves to eight points in the second quarter to break the game open. It was a 34-19 score at halftime.
“We ran and played better defence,” said Yumol, comparing Friday night’s close game to the Saturday blowout. “We knew we had to take care of our passes and we had to make sure every pass was the right pass.”
The second half was closer, but the Badgers held on for the 22-point win. The Badgers held the Thunderwolves to 25.7 per cent shooting for the game, and after the eight turnover first quarter, the Badgers only turned it over 10 times the rest of the game.
Yumol finished the game with nine assists, but was kept off the scoreboard. Kira Cornelissen would lead the way for Brock with 16-points and eight rebounds. Kate Harpur and Kayla Santilli both added 12-points each, and picked up seven and six rebounds, respectively. Also, Aryn Finley came off the bench for one of her best games of the season, scoring 11-points as she shot three for five from three.
In the men’s game, the Thunderwolves opened the game with a 7-3 run. However, from there on it was all Badgers. The Thunderwolves would go scoreless for almost eight minutes as the Badgers outscored their opponents 37-7 from the fifth minute of the first quarter to the end of the first half. The Badgers were up 40-14 after the first two quarters.
Being up 59-29 heading into the fourth quarter, Brock head coach Charles Kissi continued to ride his starters in the blowout game. Kissi staying with his starters did not sit well with Lakehead coach Manny Furtado, who began shouting towards the Brock bench while giving Kissi a stare throughout the quarter.
Once Furtado got the attention of Kissi, the two shared a short conversation before one of the referees pulled the two together to calm the air. For Furtado, it wasn’t the best of weekends with his team losing both nights. He also had an issue with Brock’s home crowd on Friday night, complaining to the referees about abusive behaviour.
“I’m not into antics,” said Kissi, following the game. “I just want to coach my team as we needed to work things out, and that’s what they pay me for. We executed our game plan from yesterday and made some adjustments this morning.”
Elgadi finished the game with 14-points and 14-rebounds, his sixth double-double in as many games. Johneil Simpson would lead the Badgers with 20-points. Ryan Bennet had one of his best games of the season scoring 18-points on six of 10 shooting. Matt Marshall added 11-points and 8-rebounds, while fifth year guard Nate Gardner had a fantastic game off the bench with 13-points.
In terms of the Meridian Centre, many people were impressed with the outcome and the atmosphere. Some people even took to Twitter requesting more Brock basketball games being played at the one-year old arena.
“It’s another step in the growth of our program,” said Kissi. “We are proud of our guys, the Brock community and the outside community support.”
“The fans were crazy and it was awesome. If you couldn’t get up for this then you are not living,” said Khounviseth. “[Friday] the crowd powered us to the win and tonight they gave us the energy.”
“Moving forward we believe this team is very capable of going deep into the playoffs and experiencing this is going to be tremendous for us moving forward,” said Khounviseth.
On Nov 29, the men’s basketball would continue their action, but this time helping out in the community. The men for the second straight year went to the Westminster Church in St. Catharines to help out with the Out of the Cold program.
The two teams are done play for the remainder of the 2015 calendar year, finishing on a high note with a 5-1 record for both. The two will open play on January 9, when Windsor comes to visit. The women’s game begins at 2:00 p.m., while the men will follow at 4:00 p.m.