By Mathew Hartley
Only 21 kilometres separates the bright blue and gold of Humber from the double blue of Sheridan College.
Tension was in the air and felt by the players as the Humber men’s basketball team visited the Sheridan Bruins for another heated rivalry game last Friday night in Brampton, in which the Hawks eventually prevailed 93-84.
“I don’t know exactly how many games they’ve played, it’s epic and a tradition,” Sheridan’s forward Adam Elhereich said.
Sheridan has had a disappointing season so far, but Humber’s players were quick to fight off any misconceptions that they might be overlooking the reigning OCAA champions.
“It’s a rivalry so records don’t matter at this point. We both want to beat each other bad so it’s going to be a tough, physical game,” Humber’s centre Vule Grujic said.
The pre-game talk did nothing to diminish the hype surrounding the game, which did not disappoint.
Sheridan’s aggressive, full court press strategy frustrated the Hawks in the opening quarter as turnovers continued to hurt Humber’s progress early.
It didn’t take long for the aggression to spill over as Grujic dealt a heavy elbow to the face of Sheridan’s Murray Hendry, a moment that was seen by fans but not officials.
Both had an eventful game as Grujic received a technical foul and Hendry avoided a fifth travel call which infuriated Humber’s women’s head coach, AJ Sharma.
“That’s his move! Every time he travels,” Sharma yelled from the stands.
With the game still in the balance in the third quarter, Humber’s Tyrone Dickson tripped on his own and slammed to the ground with an ankle injury.
With Dickson still down, tensions on the Hawks bench erupted as Humber’s head coach, Shawn Collins took the stoppage in play to single out power forward Chad Bewley in a passionate exchange and demanded more effort from his team.
Dickson returned near the end of the third quarter and the Hawks fought through to defeat their rivals by nine points, and put a dagger in the Bruin’s playoff hopes.
Both coaches and players were seen visibly frustrated with the officials and Bewley commented after the game.
“We know what we’re going to get when we come here, we know we’re not going to get any calls,” Bewley said.
He also admitted that Humber’s almost automatic approach to free throws in the fourth quarter was key with both RJ Ramirez and Ancil Martin perfect on the night from the line.
“It was big time, always good to seal the game,” he said.