(Halifax, NS) – In the first championship semi-final of the Shoveller Memorial Tournament, the Saint Mary's Huskies were squaring off against the Memorial Sea-Hawks. A strong defensive third quarter put the Huskies on top, to help them to the 87-61 win.
The Sea-Hawks jumped out on a quick 7-0 run capped off with a deep ball from Nicholas Tuff (St. John's, NL), but the Huskies countered with an old school three-point play from Nico Brauner (Hettenhain, GER) and a three from Jelani Mofford (Brampton, ON).
The strong interior defence, and pressure on the offensive glass from the Huskies gave them extra chances on the attacking end, but shots that were falling early weren't going down for them at the end of the quarter.
After the first quarter, it was all even at 19-19.
The Huskies started the quarter with defensive intensity, leading to stops early and a lead off some tough finishes by Brauner and Johneil Johnson (Lake Echo, NS) at the rim. The 15-2 run by the Huskies forced a timeout from the Sea-Hawks.
Out of the timeout in the final minutes of the quarter, the Sea-Hawks put out a lineup with superior length that caused all kinds of trouble in the paint for the Huskies, battling back with a run of their own.
A deep shot from Boris Ristanovic (St. John's, NL) in the dying seconds capped off the run for the Sea-Hawks, as the teams went into the break with the Huskies leading 42-37.
The pace of the game slowed considerably during the third quarter, with fouls and turnovers causing dead-balls and eliminating the transition game.
The Sea-Hawks seemed to adapt well to the slowed pace, using set pieces to look inside for Padraig Dawe (Paradise, NL) down low.
Out of a timeout however, the Huskies put an emphasis on increasing the pace of play, with their ball movement opening up Kemar Alleyne (Toronto, ON) for back to back threes. Those shots moved the lead back to 15; going into the fourth at 61-46.
Both teams traded baskets through the fourth, both teams attacking the rim with the outside shots going cold. A nice spin move by Johneil Johnson pushed the Huskies lead up to 21 with just under three minutes to go.
After that play, both teams were content to let the benches run out the clock, and as time ran down, the Huskies move on to the final on an 87-61 victory.
Jason Thompson led the scoring for Memorial, finishing with 21 points to go with 8 assists. Johneil Johnson was the top scorer for the Huskies, ending up with 18 points in the win.
The Huskies will face the Tigers in the tournament championship final Sunday at 3 p.m.