The Niagara Knights basketball programs hosted their rivals from up the QEW, the Mohawk Mountaineers, on Friday night at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre.
Kicking things off was the Niagara Knights women's basketball program (8-6, 5th OCAA West) as they jumped out to an early lead, outscoring the Mountaineers 29-21 in the first quarter of play. Hannah Baker (Thorold) and Rysa Delmundo (Niagara Falls) both went a perfect 3-3 from the field and finished the quarter with a team-high six points.
A slow offensive quarter in the second was saved by a strong defensive quarter, as the Knights managed just 12 points but held their opponents to only seven. As the horn blew for half-time, the Knights found themselves ahead 41-28. The Knights would ultimately outscore their opponents in all four quarters and seal an 85-59 lead. The 26-point win was their largest margin of victory of the season, thanks to a great team shooting performance in which they shot 49.3% (36-73).
"It was nice to see Rysa [Delmundo] play well and to have Hannah [Baker] redisocver her shooting touch," said Knights head coach Michael Beccaria. "If we can continue to set a pace like tonight and get balanced scoring we are going to be fine moving into playoffs."
The Niagara Knights men's basketball program (11-3, 3rd OCAA West) attempted to follow up the victory with one of their own and followed the same path as they got off to a good start offensively, outscoring Mohawk 23-17 in the first quarter. The Knights led all game along, including with 1:58 remaining in the fourth quarter where they had what seemed to be a secure 92-72 lead. In that final 1:58, however, Mohawk would nearly come all the way back as a great full-court press defence forced turnover after turnover. Luckily the Knights had a large enough lead and were able to score some late buckets to keep the Mountaineers from stunning them. In that final 1:58 Mohawk outscored Niagara 21-8, bringing the final score all the way to 101-93.
"Tonight was a crucial win for us as we move into the end of the season," said head coach Phil Mosley. "We are looking to find the right combination of players to be successful going down the stretch."
Bridget Atkinson (Welland) led the Knights with 22 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Baker had her best shooting performance of the season as the second year guard shot 81.8% (9-11) from the field for 20 points while Delmundo scored 14 points while also contributing with two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
In the men's match, Van Hutchinson Jr (Bahamas) led the Knights once again with 27 points and 15 rebounds while Jordon McDonald (Mississauga) had another strong game, this time with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
The Knights will try and keep their win streaks alive when they travel to Sheridan College on Tuesday to take on the Sheridan Bruins at 6pm (women) and 8pm (men). After that, the Knights will be off until Sunday when they host the Lambton Lions at 1pm (women) and 3pm (men).