Mountaineers break away late against Saints to grab second place in OCAA Western division

The Mountaineers women’s basketball team welcomed the second-place St. Clair Saints to the David Braley Athletics and Recreation Centre on Saturday (Feb. 11) in a battle for the second, and final, automatic spot in the OCAA provincial playoffs.

The Mountaineers came in riding a three-game win streak which had the team sitting a half-game behind the Saints for sole possession of second place. Meanwhile, the Saints were fresh off a tough 61-53 defeat to the Fanshawe Falcons, another team with playoff plans.

After a back-and-forth first three quarters, the hometown Mountaineers exploded in the fourth to pull away for a decisive 83-56 win, taking over sole possession of second place in the OCAA west division.

Mountaineers from left to right: Douce, Batinic, Pocrnic & Browne

In what had all the makings of a playoff-like atmosphere, the Mountaineers and Saints began the game by trading blows like heavyweight boxers. This made for an extremely competitive first quarter that saw the two teams shoot below 30 per cent from the field, as the superb defences took centre stage in the early going.

By the end of one half of play, the two teams were able to muster only 60 points in total as the hometown Mountaineers led by a basket, 31-29. Pacing the team in scoring at the break was forward Monika Batinic with nine of her eventual 14 points, on a stellar 3 of 4 shooting from three-point land.

The third quarter saw the game continue its tight defensive style as the Mountaineers forced seven of the 26 Saint turnovers in the quarter. Both teams were coming off miserable shooting performances in the first half that saw the teams shoot a combined 20 per cent from the field, and the game remained tight with the Mountaineers ahead by six heading into the final stanza.

That’s when the home side turned things up to a level that St. Clair clearly could not match. The Mountaineers poured in 29 points to just eight by the Saints and outscored them 12-4 in second-chance points en route to their 12th win of the season.

The win puts the Mountaineers in sole possession of second place in the OCAA west division and means the team controls its own playoff destiny going into the final two games of the 2016/17 regular season.

Mountaineers Johns (11), Pocrnic (3) and teammates celebrate a basket while Saints Beeler (12) and Handsor (15) look on in disbelief

Up next for the Mountaineers is a trip to local rivals Redeemer College as the Mountaineers look to avenge their earlier loss at home to Redeemer back in late November.

Boxscore

 

About the author  ⁄ Nick Birnie

Graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in a June of 2014 convocation with a Bachelor’s Degree in Contemporary Studies. Has since began an Advanced Diploma in Journalism at Mohawk College. This has had me working with Cable 14 in Hamilton for Ignite News as a Host/Reporter. As of July 2015 became a Freelance writer for The Sportster covering all sports MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA, writing Top 10/15/20/25's. As of January 2016, became a Play-by-Play/Colour Commentator for Mohawk College Mountaineers Men and Women’s Varsity OCAA Basketball. All home games broadcast live on the Youtube channel “mlink”, all games produced by Mohawk College students. As of May 2016 has joined 101.5 The Hawk FM, College and local area CRTC licensed radio show hosting my own show “The Locker Room” Monday’s 3-4 pm est talking all sports. Also focusing on local Hamilton teams such as the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs as well as Mohawk’s Varsity Sports teams.

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