Hawks play Mountaineers for women’s western division title

Natalie Hagopian drives past a Mohawk defender early in the first quarter of Humber’s 82-53 victory. (Andy Redding) Natalie Hagopian drives past a Mohawk defender early in the first quarter of Humber’s 82-53 victory. (Andy Redding)
By Andy Redding

Being on top of the mountain has never felt so good.

And now the Humber women’s basketball team is aiming to be the best in the province.

The Hawks won the OCAA West Division title last Friday night in a winner-take-all game against the Mohawk Mountaineers in Hamilton.

They thumped Mohawk College 82-53 in the last regular season game before the OCAA Championship.

Humber and Mohawk had identical 16-1 records going into the game, sharing the top of the West Division.

The game was an old-fashioned slugfest, with two Mohawk starters leaving the game due to injury, and the teams accumulating 57 fouls in total.

Humber flirted with foul trouble all game, ending up with six different players earning three fouls or more.

“They’re [the referees] not letting them play the game,” said Humber men’s assistant coach Samson Downey from the stands.

“Fouls are fouls, I told the team it would be this way coming here,” said Humber head coach Ajay Sharma. “We were able to respond even through that. I think that was the key.”

Humber used its distinct size advantage throughout the game to overpower the Mountaineers on the inside, forcing them to settle for low-percentage shots.

Although the OCAA Championships are their main goal this season, the Hawks are proud to call themselves the West Division winners, said Humber fourth year shooting guard Mary Asare.

“Our team at the beginning of the year had many goals,” said Asare. “Winning the West Division was one of our goals, and winning the OCAA’s is another goal of ours.”

Heading into the OCAA Championship, Humber looks to continue checking off their goals, said Sharma.

“We went in phases, we had set out four or five goals over the year, and this was absolutely one of them to win the West division,” said Sharma. “Then the OCAA’s, then the nationals.”

Humber has a full two weeks of practice before the OCAA Championships begin, as they receive a bye from the crossover round for finishing in the top two of their division.

“We can tighten up a lot of our in-game management, handling the press, knowing what we want on offence coming down the court, broken plays, and defensively we’ve got some work to do as well,” said Sharma.

Humber will start its quest for glory at the provincial varsity championship at Centennial College on March 5.