A dash of acrobatics and a smidgeon of a miracle got the Humber Hawks men’s basketball team to the gold medal game.
But they used up all their luck and had to settle for silver at the OCAA championship tournament at Durham College that ran March 5-7.
In the Hawks’ first game they played underdog Lambton College. Lambton Lions spent the first 39 minutes of the inaugural knockout game looking like they would pull off an upset against the number one seeded Hawks.
The Lions held a comfortable 10-point lead with less than three minutes left on the game clock.
It was then that Humber’s elite showed they would not be denied.
Humber’s Gibson Eduful and Tyrone Dickson combined for nine points before the Hawks’ Ancil Martin converted two clutch free throws with the weight of the season on his shoulders.
Lambton had a chance to put away the game at the free throw line but Jason Marshell missed the second shot, leaving eight seconds for the Hawks to find a chance to tie.
Martin put up a desperation jump shot from behind the arc with only three seconds left.
Fans stood in anticipation as only Humber’s Dickson watched the shot that was falling short and chased it to the rim at full speed.
Dickson leaped in the air and pushed an acrobatic lay-up back up to the basket.
His shot landed with one-tenth of a second left in the game and as his body slammed to the ground the crowd erupted.
Dickson later calmly described the epic basket that sent the game to overtime.
“I just followed the shot. The game isn’t over until the buzzer goes off,” Dickson said.
Lambton celebrated prematurely after the shot as officials announced it may not count but later stood with the call.
Overtime went back and forth before Lambton’s Trey Langford missed a crucial free throw as time expired, awarding the Hawks an 83-82 comeback victory and progression to the semi-finals.
Fanshawe College eliminated Georgian College in the first round which setup a meeting against the Hawks on Saturday.
Humber found its wings during the game and strolled to a comfortable 80-62 victory before facing the dynamic Mohawk Mountaineers in the OCAA final.
The Mountaineers’ number one OCAA offense was hot, hitting the century mark against Seneca on Friday and they came out firing against Humber’s number one defense.
Mohawk silenced the Humber fans with a 9-0 run right out of the gate forcing an early Humber timeout where assistant head coach Samson Downey tried to settle down the flustered Hawks.
“We’re okay, we’re okay,” repeated Downey.
It would take the entire first quarter for Humber to catch back up before three self-inflicted turnovers re-opened Mohawk’s lead.
Humber’s center, Vule Grujic, failed to make an impact in the first half and appeared visibly despondent as teammate Junior Davis spoke out.
“Let’s wake up right now. Wake up!” said Davis to Grujic.
Humber gave constant attention to Mohawk’s player of the year Matt Fennell, but point guard Matt Saval took advantage of the extra space ending the game with 21 points.
The Hawks would begin yet another second half rally, but only got within seven-points of the constantly scoring Mountaineers.
Mohawk ran across the court as the final buzzer sounded, taking an 84-74 victory and the OCAA title.
Mountaineers head coach Brain Jonker was all smiles after the win as he agreed to let his players celebrate.
“They can celebrate for a couple of days at least and then we’ll start getting focused for the nationals,”Jonker said.
Humber still qualifies for the CCAA national championships in two weeks at Mohawk College in Hamilton with a chance at redemption on Mohawk’s home court.