St. Lawrence Vikings took one step closer to clinching direct entry in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament Friday night with an 89-59 win over the George Brown Huskies in the St. Lawrence Gym.
The victory made it impossible for fourth-place Brown, 11-7, to claim either of the top two spots in the East division, and the automatic berths in the league’s championship tournament that go with them.
With its 10th straight win at home—St. Lawrence is the only team to fashion an undefeated home-court record this year—the Vikings improved to 13-5, half a game behind the idle La Cite Coyotes. Lurking in third place is Algonquin, 11-6, with three games left, including one against La Cite.
A win in either of its two remaining games, next weekend, on the road against Durham and Centennial, will send St. Lawrence to the tournament without having to go through a qualifying game. If it comes down to a tie-breaker, the Vikings, 2-0 versus Algonquin this year, holds the advantage there, but in a split with La Cite, St. Lawrence, a winner by nine points but a loser by 10 when the teams met, is disadvantaged.
On Friday night, Andrew Dawkins led St. Lawrence out of the gate, scoring 12 of his team’s first 26 points and 19 in the first half. With an 18-9 third quarter, the Vikings put the game out of reach, leading 65-42 going into the final period en route to their eighth win in their last nine games.
The win avenged a seven-point loss to Brown in Toronto in late November.
“There were a few things we had to do against George Brown if we wanted to win, and the guys brought their game and delivered,” St. Lawrence coach Barry Smith said, in a release.
“Everyone from our top guys, right on through to our rookies and bench, stepped up tonight.”
Jaz Bains finished 25 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season, for St. Lawrence. Dawkins had 22 points and seven assists, while Dylan George finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
The St. Lawrence women, meanwhile, stretched their winning streak to five games, with an 84-56 victory over George Brown. The win lifted the Vikings, 7-5, into a second-place tie in the East division with Durham, 7-4 going into Durham’s game with division-leading Algonquin Saturday night.
The Vikings will visit Durham in the penultimate game of their season Friday night in Oshawa.
“Tonight was a great team win for us,” Vikings coach Remy Simpson said. “The seniors were fired up for graduation night, so that got the team hungry.”
The Vikings scored seven straight points to end the first quarter, including a three-point basket from Sentilla Bubb that just beat the shot clock, followed immediately with by a Durham turnover and a subsequent St. Lawrence layup just before the quarter ended.
An 8-2 run to start the second quarter sent the Vikings on their way, and St. Lawrence led by 10 points at halftime.
The Vikings doubled their lead within the first five minutes of the third quarter, forcing contested shots while finding success from beyond the three-point arc. Sammy Gourdier knocked down three consecutive threes that helped to give St. Lawrence a 62-47 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Gourdier led the Vikings with 19 points, while Tyler Simon collected 13 points and 10 rebounds. Haley Gourdier added 15 points and seven steals to the winning attack.