ETOBICOKE, ON: After an exciting first game of the tournament between Sheridan and Niagara, the Humber and St. Lawrence match-up proved to be a tense ordeal that saw the Hawks come out on top 80-68 after a quiet first half. C.J. Bennet and Gibson Eduful combined for 26 points while Tyrone Dickson rocked the boards with a game high 14 rebounds in the win.
The Vikings executed with a big run in the opening minutes. Up 16-8, St. Lawrence guard Andrew Dawkins hung up nine points before the Hawks called a time out. But Humber guard C.J. Bennett and forward Brayden Gohn stepped up with six points in the next three possessions to cut down the Vikings to a two point lead. But the Vikings were able to stretch their lead to 20-12 at the buzzer.
The game was like a quick action chess match on the court. Both squads ran totally different offences, Humber driving in the paint and the Vikings living beyond the arc. The Hawks stayed with their bread and butter under the basket and forward Ancil Martin drove to the hoop to put Humber ahead 29-28 for their first lead of the ball game. By the time the half rolled around Humber and St. Lawrence exchanged buckets to for tight 35-32 lead for the Vikings.
It took a few minutes for either team to score but it was Humber who struck first. Forward Kenny Ejim sparked the Hawks with a monstrous block in front of the basket and the Blue and Gold ran with it for a two-handed jam from centre Tyrone Dickson. Humber's lead didn't last long when the Vikings responded with back-to-back three pointers. With five minutes remaining the Hawks went on a run that wouldn't have been possible without a pair of blocks from Dickson. Humber led 44-41 for their largest lead of the game so far. The Hawks grinded and forced the Vikings into foul trouble to get key opportunities at the charity stripe. Bennett was the catalyst for their second run of the quarter and he hustled on the boards, had two steals and made both free throws to put the Hawks ahead 57-51.
Both teams came out firing in the final frame. St. Lawrence's Jaz Bains and Andrew Dawkins combined for 40 of their 60 points with five minutes left in the game. But the Hawks countered with crisp ball movement and shared the rock for every player to chip in with key contributions. Guard Gibson Eduful stepped up the tempo and tired out the Vikings D with fast breaks for Ejim, Dickson and Martin to finish under the basket. Up 71-60, Vikings' guard Thomas Aufleger responded by nailing two three-balls in the corner for a much needed burst of life late in the game. That made it a 74-66 ball game going into a Humber timeout. To their credit the Hawks were not phased didn't give the Vikings another inch until the clock ran out and they won the game 80-68.
Gibson Eduful was named the Hawks Nation Player of the Game with 13 points and 6 assists, but most importantly he played an integral part in orchestrating the comeback. "The team is deep and I believe our team is one of the best in the country," Eduful explained after receiving his award. "I had no doubt that if we worked together that we would get the win, and we did."
Now the Hawks will be in the match of the tournament when they play the Sheridan Bruins tomorrow at 6 p.m.