By: Teru Ikeda
SCARBOROUGH, ONT. - It was a back-and-forth battle, between the Centennial Colts and UTM Eagles, until the final buzzer, as the Eagles pulled out a tight victory on the road with a 61-57 victory over the Colts at the Athletic and Wellness Centre.
The Lady Colts came out of gates with high intensity. In the first quarter, Telia Campbell hit a beautiful floater and kept driving relentlessly to the basket. The driving ability of star guard Cori Browne, who led all scorers with 19 points, also led to second chance points.
For Head Coach Justin Bobb, competitiveness has a been a key focus for this team.
"I'm really impressed with the way we fought tonight," Bobb said. "We had bodies on the ground, diving for loose balls, so that's a huge positive for us.
In the second frame, veteran forward Olivia Thomson showed her offensive versatility, hitting a triple and showing her driving ability as well. Browne had 11 points in the quarter, completing an and-one layup at the end. Campbell struggled to score, but focused on her strengths: initiating the offense, which helped Browne get buckets, and her intensity never waned.
Going into the third quarter, Centennial was up 32-30. Campbell and Browne continued to push the offensive tempo in transition. Both also displayed good decision-making. Campbell penetrated the paint and kicked the ball, and Browne had a Magic Johnson-esque pass in transition, allowing Michelle Beloso to get an easy bucket. At the end of the quarter, Browne executed a smart play, drawing a double team and finding Lauren Barker for a made jump shot.
In the final frame, Thomson shined, scoring six points, all from deep mid-range territory. She finished the game with 16 points. Campbell continued to display flashes of high basketball IQ; she brought the ball up and waited for the best passing option to a trailing Browne, who drew contact and got to the charity stripe.
Coach Bobb acknowledged his team needs to focus on executing against high pressure. The Colts had 26 turnovers in the game, many in their own half, which proved to be costly at the end as a backcourt turnover led to the winning basket from the Eagles' Jade Addai with 1:12 to go. He hopes to use the lessons in the preseason to build confidence for the regular season.
CATCH OUR HOME OPENER RIVALRY GAME: The Lady Colts will face the Seneca Sting at the AWC on Thursday, October 25th at 6:00pm. The energy will be explosive as these two GTA colleges battle it out for top rankings in the OCAA. There will be special guests such as Centennial College Alumni, surrounding high school basketball teams, and the National Basketball Mentorship Youth Program, who will be presenting a cheque to the Colts Cares Program.