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photo by Gord Bowes

photo by Gord Bowes

Jen Abella of Mohawk makes her way past an Algonquin player in the OCAA women's basketball final.

Thunder stop Mountaineers in OCAA final

The Algonquin Thunder were just too strong for the Mohawk Mountaineers in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association women’s basketball final.

The more experienced squad from the Ottawa college defended their OCAA title and won for the fourth straight year.

The Thunder downed the Mountaineers 76-65 Saturday in the game played at Mohawk’s David Braley Athletic Centre.

Mohawk’s Abella sisters — Jen and Rachelle — were named tournament all-stars. Algonquin’s Kim Cupid was also named an all-star and Sandre Bascoe was the tournament MVP.

The Thunder, the leading scoring team in Ontario, had no problem finishing at the basket. Up 17-8 after one quarter, they dropped 29 points on the Mountaineers in the second quarter to take a 46-29 lead into halftime. The Mountaineers did everything they could on defence to slow the experienced Algonquin squad down led by fifth-year forward Bascoe.

“The problem was tonight is that they just have so much experience that they were able to find the open person immediately and rotate the ball,” said Mountaineers coach Kevin Duffy on trying to stop Algonquin.

“We were just an inch or two from making a good play.”

The Mountaineer defenders stripped balls, took charges, forced a shot-clock violation, and rebounded well but it wasn’t enough to stop the sure-handed Thunder players, who finished with layups at the basket regularly.

“We don’t let teams walk all over us,” said Mohawk’s veteran point-guard and tournament all-star, Rachelle Abella, about fighting to the very end. “So, hopefully, next year, we can get back to this position.”

Abella, a fourth-year player and St. Jean de Brebeuf grad, has taken on a leadership role from the beginning of her collegiate career. Abella suffered through not making the playoffs in her first couple of seasons at Mohawk.

“This year has been such an amazing (journey) with such a great group of girls,” said Abella. “I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

The silver medal awarded to Mohawk is the first medal won by the women’s basketball program since 2002. The Mountaineers won OCAA gold five times in the 1980s but have not claimed the provincial crown since the 1990-91 season.

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