First day of Championship opens and closes with thrilling matches

First day of Championship opens and closes with thrilling matches

Match 1: Humber Hawks 71, MSVU Mystics 69

Top-ranked Humber Hawks received late-game heroics from CCAA Player of the Year Ceejay Nofuente to withstand a strong challenge from ACAA runner-up, MSVU Mystics. Nofuente calmly made a midrange jumper with .8 seconds left on the clock to give the Hawks a two-point win.

Both teams established a fast pace from the opening tip-off. Top-ranked Humber’s fast break was challenged by the ACAA runner-up Mystics’ active defence. MSVU generated offence through their defence, and with a late run led 23-15 at the end of the first quarter. In a tight second quarter, both teams traded defensive stops, leaving the Mystics with a slim, 38-36 halftime lead.

The second half was a see-saw battle, with neither team leading by more than three points. But Nofuente caught fire in the fourth quarter, and sustained pressure from Humber late on the fourth earned them the victory.

Kate Gallant of the Mystics led all scorers with a 25 point, 11 rebound effort. Mareika Williams, with 16, and Kelsey McGrath, with 9, contributed to the Mystics’ offence. Nofuente scored 23 points to go with 13 rebounds. Humber’s Aleena Domingo and Leticia Lopez also figured prominently, with 18 and 9 points, respectively.

Player of the Game: Ceejay Nofuente, Humber Hawks
Player of the Game: Kate Gallant, MSVU Mystics

Match 2: Nomades de Montmorency 76, St. Mary's Lightning 58

Match two was an east–west contest between RSEQ runner-up Les Nomades de Montmorency and ACAC champion St. Mary’s University Lightening from Calgary.

The game started at a pace rivalling that of the Hawks’-Mystics battle, with end-to-end rushes and quick, productive offensive sets by each team. While the Lightening were challenged by the Nomades’ rebounding strength at both ends, they stayed in the game by committee, getting excellent first-half efforts from Montana Romeril, Megan Trisevic, and Kassandra Baptiste.  As the half progressed, Montmorency’s height, inside pressure, and three-point shooting propelled them to a 43-33 halftime lead.

The Nomades’ offensive attack ramped up in the second half, led by veterans Juliette Gauthier and Andrea Torres. The Lightening got an emotional lift at the end the third on an exciting Romeril-to-Gach baseball pass on the fast break, bringing the Lightening to within 14 points at the end of the third. In the end, the Nomades’ strength inside and ability to score from anywhere proved too much for the gritty and determined St. Mary’s squad.

Juliette Gauthier led the Nomades with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Andrea Torres dropped 18 points, while Jael Kabunda added 12 points and 11 boards. For the Lightening, Montana Romeril scored a team-high 16 points, adding 12 rebounds as well. Emily Wagner also gave the Lightening a boost with 14 points.

Player of the Game: Juliette Gauthier, Nomades de Montmorency
Player of the Game: Montana Romeril, St. Mary's Lightning

Match 3: Mount Allison Mounties 61, Medicine Hat Rattlers 49

Another east-west match, this time a battle of conference champions; the ACAA’s Mount Allison Mounties squaring off against the ACAC’s Medicine Hat Rattlers.  An opening three from MtA on their first shot of the game brought the near-capacity crowd to its feet, and spurred an early Mounties lead.

While both sides had their share of chances at the offensive end, neither team could score consistently—both ended the quarter shooting just over 20%. Instead, the teams concentrated on tough defence. Point guard Courtney Henry sparked the Rattlers, who by midway through the second quarter had scratched out an 18-13 lead. Two blocks from the Mounties’ Mangold stopped Medicine Hat from gaining more ground, and energized a 12-2 MtA run and a half time lead of 25-20.

Offense picked up in the second half for both teams; a back and forth chess game in the third resulted in the Mounties holding onto their 5-point lead heading into the fourth. An early three from McGeachy followed quickly by a Mangold put-back pushed MtA’s lead to ten. Though the Rattlers competed hard, the Mounties prevailed by a score of 61-49.

Leading the way for MtA was CCAA All-Canadian and ACAA player of the year Kiersten Mangold, with 20 points and 14 boards. Sarah McGeachy scored all 12 of her points in the decisive second half, and Lauren Chitty added 9. CCAA All-Canadian and ACAC player of the year Kennedy Werre led the Rattlers with 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, backed by Kendell Kuntz, Morgan Muir and Courtney Henry, with 10, 9, and 8 points, respectively. 

Player of the Game: Kiersten Mangold, Mount Allison Mounties
Player of the Game: Courtney Henry, Medicine Hat Rattlers

Match 4: Dawson Blues 73, Capilano Blues 69 

In the final match of day one, the ‘Battle of the Blues’ featured undefeated RSEQ champions Dawson College, led by CCAA Coach of the Year Trevor Williams, taking on PacWest champion Capilano University.

Dawson methodically built an early 18-11 lead on the strength of Eleanore Marciszewski’s sharp-shooting. Capilano G Ashley dela cruz Yip opened the second quarter with two quick buckets. Teammates Francis Penafiel and Carmelle M’bikata followed suit, and Capilano had pulled even. Yip then picked up her game even more, generating offence for her teammates and herself with speed and passing. Capilano’s run gave them the half-time lead, 37-32.

Several quick buckets early in the third continued Capilano’s push, and they built a 10-point lead after three quarters. Dawson gradually worked their way back into the game in the fourth fueled by Dahomee Forgues, who gave the eastern Blues their first lead since the second quarter, with 2:30 on the clock. Both teams traded baskets from there to the end of regulation, sending the game to overtime tied at 63. Dawson muscled their way to a 5-point lead in the extra period, and held on for the 73-69 victory.

Dawson’s Dahomee Forgues scored 20 points and added 10 rebounds. Nelly Owusu, with 13 points and a remarkable 19 rebounds, was also a big contributor. Capilano’s Carmelle M’bikata booked 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Ashley dela cruz Yip added 15 and 8.

Player of the Game: Dahomee Forgues, Dawson Blues
Player of the Game: Ashley dela cruz Yip, Capilano Blues

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