In their final game of the regular season Tuesday (Feb. 21), the Mountaineers women’s basketball team hosted the visiting Fanshawe Falcons in an attempt to close out the regular season with a sixth straight victory. At the same time, it was an opportunity for head coach Kevin Duffy, his staff and the Mohawk College community to celebrate the careers of six women who will be graduating at the end of the semester.
The six Mountaineers being celebrated were Shanien O’Neill, Sam Pocrnic, Desiree Dutrizac, Hunter Johns, Jakayla Douse and Stef Hrymak. Hrymak is fresh off accomplishing the feat of becoming all-time leading scorer for the Mountaineers, and teammate Careena Browne recently became the all-time leading rebounder in school history. Both feats were accomplished in their past two wins.
After pre-game ceremonies were complete, the action began at a slow pace. It was almost as if both teams were sleepwalking through the first quarter, as combined they shot 28 per cent from the field. After an awful shooting quarter the two sides were deadlocked 18-11 in favour of the hometown Mountaineers.
As the second quarter got started, so did the Mountaineers offence. Led by the terrific down-low scoring of rookie Jasmina Kucic, who led the way with a game-high 16 points the Mountaineers built themselves a double-digit advantage by the end of the first half of play, 35-19.
As the game moved forward Careena Browne, fresh off putting herself in the Mohawk College record books by becoming the all-time leading rebounder against Redeemer last Friday, also spoiled her family and friends with a terrific night Tuesday. Browne collected 13 points, to go along with four rebounds in a terrific effort on both ends of the floor, helping the Mountaineers to a 54-33 lead through three-quarters.
As the final quarter came around most of the Mountaineers starters were substituted and worked in and out of the lineup in order to give them some time on the court in their final home game of the 2016/17 season. When the final buzzer sounded, the Mountaineers had earned a sixth straight victory 77-51, carrying them into the OCAA playoffs on a red-hot tear.
Now, the Mountaineers await the winners of the OCAA playoffs play-in round which will take place this upcoming weekend starting Saturday, Feb. 25. Following which the Mountaineers will be the second seed in the OCAA Western division, as they await an opportunity to erase the near misses of recent years.