It was the perfect ending to Rivalry Week for the Brock Badgers. After the Brock Women and Men’s Basketball teams lost to Western a week ago, followed by the Women’s Volleyball team losing to McMaster on the weekend, the eventful week ended with two Badger wins.
It was Star Wars night at the Bob Davis Gymnasium, with a little Beach Day factored in by the Brock Men’s Rowing team, who came dressed in their beach gear.
For Brock’s Women’s and Men’s Basketball teams, Wednesday night was about getting back to playing their style of basketball. It was a slow start for the women, but they were able to pull out a 59-53 win over their division rival Guelph Gryphons. The men broke out early and ran away with an 83-49 (at one point they led by 40).
Wednesday night was also the first time the Badgers played a team outside of the OUA West division in 2016. The teams will no longer have to deal with the West, after the women posted a less than pleasing 2-3 record against that division.
The Gryphons would take an early 10-6 lead over the Badgers after the first quarter, but Kayla Santilli would help keep the home team in it as she scored 11 of the Badgers first 15 points. Santilli, a fifth year player, would finish the game with a team high 16 points on seven of 16 shooting.
Brock would get their first lead of the game late in the second quarter, but it was short lived as the Gryphons led 25-24 at halftime. However, the Badgers came out strong early in the second half that helped give them a lead. It was a lead that grew as high as six points and the Badgers would hold on the rest of the way.
“We got 40 minutes of intensity. Even with the slow start I thought we had great looks that didn’t drop,” said head coach Si Khounviseth. “People started doing things that we need them to do to help the team win. It’s not about scoring, it’s about doing your job and your role.”
As the game went on, the Badgers’ bench would begin to shrink due to injury. Due to a knee injury, Aryn Finley sat this game out and is expected to miss two weeks. Starting point guard Jenalyn Yumol also battled a bruised leg that was suffered early in the game, but she would play through it; starting shooting guard Melissa Tatti did not see any action in the second half due to a chest infection, and Kira Cornelissen fouled out in the fourth quarter.
After the game Khounviseth said Yumol will be fine for next week. In terms of Tatti’s chest infection, Khounviseth said his team has been dealing with sickness all season.
“I don’t know what’s going on with our team, all this year we have been dealing with this sickness running through the team,” said Khounviseth. “That’s part of our struggles, we haven’t had the same energy, but tonight we had really good energy.”
Yumol finished the game with 14 points and six assists, and Cornelissen added 12 points. Chrissy Sirignano had another solid game off the bench for the Badgers with eight points. Over the last three games, Sirignano is averaging 10 points on 57.1 per cent shooting and 84.6 per cent from the free-throw line.
It was a huge divisional win for the Badgers, who prior to this game led the Gryphons by one game. Now with a two game lead over the Gryphons, the Badgers attention will turn to catching the McMaster Marauders, who lead the OUA Central division by one game over the Badgers.
“We were low on confidence. To get a win like this against a divisional team is huge for us and we can build off this,” said Khounviseth.
The Brock Men’s Basketball team bounced back after their second loss of the season last week. Also, after being ranked third in the country the Badgers dropped to fifth in the new CIS men’s basketball rankings a couple days ago.
The victory over Guelph was the Badgers ninth win of the season and it put them back into first place in their division. They are still tied with McMaster in terms of record, but the Badgers hold the tiebreaker after beating the Marauders back in November.
“It wasn’t important for us to win, but to play well and I think we played extremely well,” said head coach Charles Kissi.
Sharpshooter Ryan Bennett led the way for the Badgers with 21 points on eight of 16 shooting. Zachary Angelini also sparked the Badgers with two three’s in the first half – he finished with nine points. Rookie Tyler Brown had his best offensive game of the season with 16 points on six of seven shooting. Johneil Simpson added 11 and Matt Marshall fell just shy of a double-double with seven points and 12 rebounds.
For Dani Elgadi, he had a bounce back game after being held to six points and eight rebounds last week. Elgadi would pick up his ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and 19 rebounds.
“We went back to the basics,” said Kissi. “What did we do well to get us to this point? Ball movement was important, rebounding was important, our defence has been huge for us, and we just went back to those things that made us successful early in the season.”
The Badgers improved ball movement led them to 17 assists on 29 made field goals, and they outrebounded the Gryphons 65-45. Defensively, the Badgers held the Gryphons to 23 per cent shooting and no Guelph player hit double digits in points.
Wednesday night had three different games between Brock and Guelph. The third game saw the Badgers Men’s Hockey team face-off against the Gryphons at the Seymour-Hannah Centre. The Badgers would take a 4-2 lead, however, they would fall apart late in third and lose 5-4 in overtime.
The Badgers did pick up a valuable one point in their chase to make the playoffs. They now trail the University of Toronto by two points for the final spot with four games left on the schedule.
For the Brock basketball teams, they’ll take the rest of the week off before travelling to Toronto next week. On February 3, the women Badgers will tip-off versus the fifth ranked Ryerson Rams and the men will take on the number one ranked Rams. The two teams will then play Toronto on Feb. 5. For the Men’s Hockey team, they’ll be at home on January 29 to play Laurier for a 7:15 p.m. puck drop.
Also, Brock Athletics announced that the Brock basketball teams will be heading back to the Meridian Centre on Feb. 24. It’ll be the final home game for both teams as they take on another divisional rival in McMaster. This game could be the deciding factor for a playoff spot and for bye in the first round. Currently, Brock and McMaster are battling at the top of the OUA Central division on both the men and women’s side.
Last time the Badgers played at the Meridian Centre was back in December versus Lakehead, where they drew a record-breaking 2,887 attendance. The game against McMaster is expected to top that and will be a great way for both teams to prepare for the OUA playoffs.
Make sure to check out The Brock Press Soundcloud account (soundcloud.com/user-974291404) this Friday for the second episode of the SportsCorner podcast with sports editors Satbir Singh and Connor Allen as they discuss everything Brock Athletics. To join the discussion, tweet us your Brock sports questions using @TheBrockPress and #BrockPressSports.