It was something as simple as a Facebook event that created an unbelievable sporting atmosphere among two CIS schools. Resembling closely to what we see down south in the NCAA, Wilfrid Laurier University saw an almost packed gym with their home colours of purple and gold, but with a hostile addition of red.
Brock University students made the trip to Waterloo to support their Women’s and Men’s Basketball team as they tipped-off versus Laurier.
The sea of red appeared midway through the fourth quarter of the women’s game on Wednesday night, with Brock students chanting cheers and playing drums. With the Laurier crowd in shock as their home-court was being invaded, the home students were overheard making phone calls to their friends saying, “Bring everyone you know”.
Before you knew it, sitting in one section with their own set of drums was what our neighbours down south would call the “student section”. The rest of the gym was filled with parents and other Laurier students and members.
Sitting directly across from each other, Brock and Laurier students continuously throughout the night repeated different cheers at each other in a civil fashion. It was an atmosphere that Canadian university students, athletes, coaches and administrative staff have been asking for so many years.
It all started over the course of the weekend when Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks Facebook page created an event called “Laurier Basketball bashes the Badgers”. The event caught the attention of Brock students, who took exception. Defending their school on the event’s Facebook wall, Brock and Laurier students took friendly jabs at each other.
From there, Brock Athletics made the decision to book a student bus that would take over 40 students down to Laurier for the game. In less than eight hours the bus was filled, leading to Brock booking a second bus with another 40-plus students.
The friendly rivalry and NCAA-comparable atmosphere was created. There were even times during the games that both school’s cheered together on unbelievable plays. A Dani Elgadi and-one alley-oop from Nolan Mackenzie is just one example as everyone was on their feet in shock.
The two schools would go on to splitting the two games as the Golden Hawks won the women’s game and the Badgers would take the men’s game. But at the end of the day, both student crowds came out as the true winners.
As a Brock student, this article came very close to being about the Badgers bashing the Golden Hawks, however, I realized the Facebook event did what the CIS needs more of. More packed gymnasiums for games with opposing student sections creating a friendly rivalry.
CIS schools don’t need to compare equally to the NCAA. However, they should promote more events like what Laurier did. The intentions of the Golden Hawks was not to create a bad vibe between the two schools, but to get their own students out to the game. The event was enough to get the attention of Brock and that perfectly set up a great night.
Brock students truly believe they are one of the best fans in the CIS and they showed it Wednesday night. With the buzz that Laurier’s Facebook event created, it’ll be interesting to see if other schools take a similar approach to create a better atmosphere at games for fans and the athletes.
So good on you Laurier, you brought your best. But more importantly, you brought the best out of Brock.
In terms of what happened on the court, the Golden Hawks won the first game as their women topped the Badgers 57-51. Brock held a five point advantage after the first quarter, but that would be the last lead they would see as the Golden Hawks pulled away for good. At times the Badgers did cut the lead down to one or two, but never enough to pull past the Golden Hawks.
Jenalyn Yumol led the Badgers in scoring with 13, while her backcourt partner Melissa Tatti added 12 and eight rebounds. Brock’s frontcourt of Kira Cornelissen and Kate Harpur had successful games as well, combining for 16 points and 19 rebounds. The Golden Hawks were led by eighth best scorer in the OUA, Nicole Morrison who scored 15.
The Badgers women have fallen out of the CIS top 10 national rankings and now ride a two game losing streak as they fall to a 5-3 record. Overall the Badgers are riding a five game losing streak (going back to the holiday break) and this was their sixth consecutive loss (including exhibition) to the Golden Hawks going back to the 2013-14 season.
The men’s game was a much different story, as the Badgers took an early 4-0 lead within the first minute of the game. The Golden Hawks never led in the game, as their best chance came when Dani Elgadi and Johneil Simpson both were on the bench for the Badgers.
The fourth ranked team in the CIS would go onto win 91-67, led by Elgadi’s 27 points and 16 rebounds. From the Brock Athletics website, Elgadi passed Kevin Moore for 19th all-time in Brock career scoring with 1398. His next 15 points will move him into 16th all-time, exceeding Mike Kemp (1400), Terry Rigg (1403) and Brian Bleich (1413).
Simpson added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Badgers as well and Matt Marshall had his fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Matt Cheeson led the Golden Hawks with 21 points, while the OUA’s sixth best scorer Will Coulthard was held to 11 points by the Badgers.
Brock now improves to 7-1 on the season, making them one of five OUA teams with one or less losses on the season.
The Badgers basketball teams will be back in action on January 16, as they’ll head back to Waterloo to take on the Waterloo Warriors. The women’s game tips off at 1:00 p.m. and the men’s game gets going at 3:00 p.m. The Badgers will return home on Jan. 20 against Western.