The Redeemer Royals were not going to be sneaking up on the Mohawk Mountaineers women’s basketball team Friday night (Feb. 17) in the second and final meeting between the two sides for the 2016/17 season. After surprising the Mountaineers with a road victory, the first for Redeemer women’s basketball in four years against Mohawk, back in November, the Royals came into action desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Mountaineers were looking to take advantage of a St.Clair loss to Niagara over the past weekend that put the Mountaineers into sole possession of second in the OCAA western division. Also taking place during their most recent victory over St. Clair was Stef Hrymak becoming the all-time scoring leader in Mohawk Mountaineer women’s basketball history, surpassing Mountaineer alumnus Tracey Hudson’s 795 points with her 18-point effort this past weekend on Saturday, Feb. 11, leaving her at 812 and counting with two games remaining.
Behind the newly-minted, all-time leading scorer in Hrymak, the Mountaineers looked to win their fifth-straight game, while staying perfect in the month of February.
Things got started on the right note for the Mountaineers whose offence found itself early thanks to the likes of Carissa Browne down low and Shanien O’Neill outside. Browne had 12 points on the night and O’Neill added 11 of her own thanks to some solid outside shooting. Together they helped lead the team to a six-point lead, 27-21, at the end of a quarter of play.
In the second frame, the Mountaineers solidified their early advantage by forcing the Royals into costly errors early on, and their suffocating defensive effort held their opponents to a measly 12 points in the quarter. This allowed the Mountaineers to open up a 49-33 lead at the break.
The hometown Royals were able to finally figure out their offence in the second half, putting up 27 points in the third quarter alone. However, the Mountaineers were equal to the task, once again outscoring their opponents in the quarter, outpacing the Royals with 32 points of their own.
Stef Hrymak continued to add to her Mountaineers all-time leading point total by knocking down a long-range three early in the fourth quarter as the shot clock wound down for three of her 18 points. This epitomised the entirety of the game, as the Mountaineers were able to come up with clutch possessions on the offensive end of the floor and matched them with terrific defensive efforts in the opposite end.
With just 2:26 remaining the Mountaineers closed the doors on the Royals with a terrific fast-break finish by leading scorer Sam Pocrnic, who had a team-high 19 points in the 98-76 victory.
Redeemer Royals and OCAA all-time leading scorer Jessica Brown had another terrific night adding to her career totals with a game-high 31 points. However, it was nowhere near enough to help her side keep pace with the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers’ next matchup will be their final game of the 2016/17 season as they close out at home against the third-place Fanshawe Falcons, in a game which will decide who earns the second automatic berth into the OCAA playoffs. The first tip goes from the David Braley Athletics and Recreation Centre at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21 as the 13-4 Mountaineers look to finish strong against the 12-5 Falcons. You can catch the game streaming live on Youtube channel mlink.