In quarter-final action during this year's OCAA Men's Basketball Championship, the CCAA's top-ranked Seneca Sting defeated the tournament hosting Niagara Knights 84-72. The victory over the Knights advances the Sting to the semi-final round, while the loss drops the Knights to the consolation bracket.
The hometown crowd electrified the Knights during the opening minutes of the match, limiting the OCAA East Division Champion Sting to a measly 15 points ending the quarter with a three point lead. Niagara fans continued to energize the hometown Knights throughout the second frame, helping their program maintain a 3 point lead heading into the half.
"Niagara's offensive rebounding really seemed to hurt us in the first half," said Sting's head coach Jay McNeilly. "We knew we had to make adjustments at the half or we were going to be in trouble. "
The start of the second half saw Seneca play like a different team, completely shutting down Niagara's offence by taking away their second chance scoring opportunities. The Sting offence seemed to find their rhythm in the second half, outscoring Niagara 48-33 highlighted by a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter. "We got hot really quick in the fourth quarter," said McNeilly. "Our ability to stretch teams out is what will bring us success throughout the rest of the tournament."
2nd year forward Khalil Miller was an absolute animal against the Knights collecting 15 of his 27 total points in the second half of the game. In addition to Miller, Sting's third year guard Yusuf Ali (Toronto, Ont.) was just as impressive for his program, finishing as player of the game with 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. Seneca must continue to rely on these types of performances from Miller and Ali if they hope to make it past Sheridan or Fanshawe in the semi-final round. Tip off for the Sting's semi-final matchup is scheduled for Friday, March 2nd at 8pm.
Leading the Knights' offence was 3rd year guard Van Hutchinson Jr. (Nassau, Bahamas) who contributed a team high 22 points in the losing effort. Another strong Knights' performance came from third year guard Jordan Wilson (Nassau, Bahama) who earned player of the game honors after posting a double-double (18 points and 11 rebounds). The Knights will play the loser of the quarter-final between Sheridan and Fanshawe. Tip off for the Knights' consolation semi-final matchup is scheduled for Friday, March 2nd at 3pm.