Badgers go 2-1 in Basketball Classic
Published: Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2012 15:07
The inaugural RBC Brock Basketball Classic ended on a high-note for the Brock Badgers, as they defeated the Laurentian Voyageurs by a score of 71-64 on Oct. 30. The Badgers won, but it wasn't pretty.
"We just grinded, we didn't really play all that well," said Head Coach Brad Rootes. "The third game in three days is always tough physically, even tougher mentally, and I think both games showed that today."
The Badgers trailed 15-11 mid-way through in the first quarter, which prompted Rootes to call a timeout to settle the team down. The Badgers responded positively to the break, overcoming the early deficit and tying the game at 20-20 heading into the second quarter. The Badgers outscored the Voyageurs in each of the next three quarters, handing Laurentian their second loss of the tournament.
Brock received good all-around performances from Mark Gibson (Toronto, ON), who scored 13 points and added 10 rebounds, and Andrew Kraus (Markham, ON), who matched Gibson with 13 points, and added eight rebounds, six assists and two steals.
The Badgers went 2-1 over the weekend, winning their opening game by a score of 74-59 over the Acadia Axemen on Oct. 28 in a re-match of the 2007-08 National Championship game.
Gibson had another strong game for the Badgers, scoring a game-high 20 points, to go along with 10 rebounds. Didi Mukendi (St. Catharines, ON), the former OUA and CIS Rookie of the Year who missed all of last season with an abdominal tumour, scored 19 and added three rebounds and two steals.
The game against the Axemen was followed by a lopsided 97-57 defeat at the hands of the eventual tournament champion Saskatchewan Huskies on Oct. 29. The Huskies went undefeated over their three games, showing why they were the nation's third ranked team last season.
The Badgers played well in the first quarter, but fell behind early and started to lose their team focus as players attempted to help the team get back in the game on the strength of individual efforts, which did not work. Michael Williams (Brampton, ON) and Tshing Kasamba (St. Catharines, ON) led the Badgers with nine points each in the loss.
Despite the heavy loss to Saskatchewan, coach Rootes hopes there are positives his team can take from the game.
"We were taught a very good lesson [Saturday] in championship level Basketball and the things that it takes to do as a team to be there. Saskatchewan has a really nice team this year and even missing two of their best players, you could tell they're a team that doesn't rely on one guy, they don't rely on individual talent."
The Badgers will hope to duplicate this recipe for success as they attempt to make the playoffs for the first time in three years.
Overall, the first RBC Brock Classic was a success. The most valuable player of the tournament award went to Duncan Jones of the champion Huskies. The tournament all-stars were Jones, Nolan Brudehl (Saskatchewan), Justin Boutilier (Acadia), Mike Hull (Laurentian) and Mark Gibson (Brock).
Brock now has just under two weeks to prepare for the regular season, which starts at home the Nov. 11 weekend against the Ottawa Gee Gees. The following day the Badgers play host to the Carleton Ravens, a team that has won three of the past four national championships. Both games will take place at the Bob Davis Gymnasium at 8:00 p.m. The team then hits the road for their next four games, including a re-match against the Voyageurs.