The Mohawk Mountaineers will play for the Ontario college women's basketball title Saturday.
The women beat Humber 64-43 in a semi-final game Friday night at the David Braley Athletic and Recreation Centre at Mohawk College’s Fennel campus.
Saturday's OCAA final is at 7 p.m.
The Mountaineers will play three-time defending champion Algonquin College for a chance at their first medal since 2002.
The Humber Hawks and host Mountaineers raced out to an 8-8 tie to open their semi-final match in the David Braley Athletic and Recreation Centre at Mohawk College. The two teams from Ontario’s West Division started the game knowing what was on the line: a spot in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association gold medal game.
After the fast start, both teams cooled off considerably, remaining at eight until the four-minute mark of the first quarter.
Mohawk employed their usual pressing defence and helped each other out with quick rotations while Humber’s length started to give the Mountaineers fits at both ends of the court.
Humber’s Mary Asare used her size in the post along with the shooting touch of Marie Maranan to give Humber a 30-24 halftime lead.
The Mountaineers weren’t phased by being down at half, starting the third quarter on a 5-0 run. Offensive rebounds continued to be a concern for Mohawk but there defence held Humber to just 13 points in the half, including a mere five points in the final quarter.
Coach Kevin Duffy made the needed adjustments at halftime for Mohawk as the women ran an efficient offence that saw them getting open looks at the basket. Mohawk’s Lacey Wolters utilized her size to grab several offensive rebounds and gave the Mountaineers a good low-post scoring threat.
Mohawk veteran point-guard Rachelle Abella was named player of the game for the Mountaineers, recorded four points, three rebounds, four assists and a steal that the Hamilton native took the other way for a breakaway layup. Humber’s Chioma Oriuwa had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds, making her player of the game for the Hawks. Abella’s sister, Jen Abella, was the leading scorer of the game with 15 points. Jen added four rebounds and four assists.
The Hawks still have a chance to play for a bronze medal if they can beat the St. Lawrence Vikings at 11 a.m. on Saturday while the gold medal game is set for 7 p.m.