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HUSKIES BASKETBALL GOES TWO-FOR-TWO ON THE ROAD VS. DURHAM LORDS

Huskies guard Ashley McDonald (14) put forward a complete effort against Durham, including two crucial blocks in the second half.
Ashley McDonald - Nov 21

Perseverance was the theme for both of George Brown's varsity basketball squads on Tuesday, with each overcoming adversity to earn road wins against the Durham Lords.

On the women's side, the reigning OCAA Team of the Week came out the gates flying, before Durham made a game of it in the second half. With a 13-0 run after opening tip-off, the Huskies couldn't have asked for a better start away from home. It was a margin they would eventually carry into halftime by a score of 49-36.

But after George Brown widened the gap to 27 points, the province's eighth ranked squad in Durham flipped the switch and turned on the jets. Driven by relentless guard Maddie Dender, not to mention a 16-point, seven rebound second half from forward Keisha Arthurworrey, the Lords would take a narrow lead in the fourth quarter.

Having seen their sizeable advantage evaporate in the face of a quality opponent, the Huskies were presented with a noteworthy test of character and resolve. It was an important test, and one which George Brown passed. The visitors hunkered down in the game's final minutes, retaking the lead on their way to a 92-86 final score.

"You've got to give full credit to Durham," said Huskies head coach Warren Williams. "What a tremendous comeback. They never hung their heads, they played right to the end.

"At the same time, obviously you've got to give our team a lot of credit. We've been preaching playing together, getting through adversity and staying as one, and I think we did a good job of demonstrating that tonight."

As it has been throughout the season, George Brown's multitude of options were once again on display against the Lords. Huskies veteran Tianna Sullivan led the way with a 30-point, 10 rebound double-double, while guard Aprille Deus had nine points along with five assists and six steals.

"I feel like we played well, not only as a team but as a family, and when it really mattered the most near the end of the game, we pulled it together and came out with the win," said first-year Husky Ashley McDonald, whose impact was felt on both sides of the court.

The 5'9" guard's complete game consisted of 12 points, four steals and three blocks, two of which came at critical moments in the second half.

"Ashley shows the composure of a third-year player," praised Williams. "She's terrific on the defensive end, she's one that we constantly talk about in practice as someone who has that responsibility of guarding the other team's best player."

Most recently ranked fourth in the province, George Brown is now riding a seven game unbeaten streak to start the season. Williams gave his squad a grade of A- over the last two games against Seneca and Durham, the East Division's second and third place teams, respectively.

In having earned two very different wins against those opponents, one marked by dominance and the other by perseverance, the Huskies hope to have made a statement.

"It shows that we're here to stay, and this is our year," said Sullivan. "We have a great team, a great group of girls. The pieces fit well, everybody's contributing, I think it's going to be a great year for us."

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George Brown's men team didn't take the easy route on their way to a 85-78 victory, which may have made the win all the more rewarding.

Having been handed their first loss of the season by the Seneca Sting, the Huskies were looking to bounce back from that Nov. 17 performance. The first quarter seemed less turning of the page and more continuation however, with Durham jumping out to a 24-13 lead. Led by a 15-point, flawless shooting performance from guard Brandon Halliburton, Durham took a 48-33 margin into the half.

"The guys lost their swagger a little bit after the loss to Seneca, they were unsure of themselves and it showed in the first few minutes of the first quarter," said Huskies head coach Jonathan Smith. "We didn't execute defensively on what we knew they were going to run."

While the Lords outscored George Brown 24-20 in the second quarter, one could see and feel the Huskies beginning to wake up and take the fight to Durham. In a night of comebacks, what momentum George Brown had started to build before the half was multiplied tenfold in the third quarter.

Similar to Durham's women's team before them, the Huskies roared to life in the third, outscoring the Lords 32-16. By the quarter's end, George Brown had taken a 65-64 lead and would never again trail before the final whistle.

"We came out in the second half with a sense of desperation, knowing how badly we played in the first quarter, knowing that we just lost to Seneca," said first-year Husky Adam Costanzo, who had 20 points and 13 rebounds on the night. "We had to be hungry and play like a desperate team, and that's what we did."

Costanzo's points total was second among Huskies to captain Dejazmatch James, whose 21-point performance was highlighted by four crucial 3-point baskets in the second half. 6'5" guard Alex Petronis had an 18-point night, while Chris Fields flirted with a triple-double, racking up eight points, seven rebounds and eight assists to his name.

With the W, the province's fifth ranked squad has put itself back on track prior to its one remaining tilt in 2017, a Nov. 29 home game against the Fleming Knights. It was, in short, the bounce back George Brown was looking for.

"Huge," Costanzo said of the win's importance. "Durham's another ranked team, another team with a really good record. We had to come out and show ourselves that Seneca was just a bad game and we can play with the best, and we did."

For George Brown's complete women's team schedule, click here.

For George Brown's complete men's team schedule, click here.