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HUSKIES–STING RIVALRY LIVES UP TO BILLING AS GEORGE BROWN EDGED BY SENECA

Aprille Deus (5) led George Brown with 22 points against the Seneca Sting.
Aprille_Deus_Seneca_Jan_23

The latest round of their Toronto derby saw George Brown College fall just short on the road against the Seneca Sting, in what was an exciting night of basketball nonetheless.

On the women's side, the match was a testament to how difficult it is to beat a team three times in a season. After George Brown (10-1) defeated the Sting (10-2) in their two matches prior by a combined score of 146-115, Seneca avoided the regular season sweep with a 77-73 win at home.

Though the Huskies took a 39-39 tie game into halftime, the first two quarters saw George Brown play without some of the pop and urgency which has allowed them to impose their will on the OCAA's east division.

"We didn't really play our game in the first half, we just didn't match the energy like we usually do," said Huskies guard/forward Tianna Sullivan, who ended the game with a 17-point, 13-rebound double-double. "Seneca came out very strong, very hungry… I think that we came out fighting in the second half."

After weathering a Seneca storm to begin the third quarter, the game's remainder was largely a back-and-forth affair. While the Huskies found the spring in their step and constantly threatened to break out, the Sting fed off their home atmosphere and kept George Brown in check to the final buzzer.

"It's just a matter of staying the course, just keep getting better," said Huskies head coach Warren Williams. "The one thing is that we need to approach these games with more urgency, because the teams that we're playing against are going to attack us with more urgency. They realize this is a team that's in first place, and they want to take something from us. We have to approach it like that."

The importance of being tested is not lost on Williams, who lauded the squad's leaders and team overall for building a culture strong enough to withstand challenges such as Tuesday against Seneca and before that, Saturday against St. Lawrence.

For one of those leaders, team captain Aprille Deus, the loss was one she hopes lights a fire down the homestretch.

"I would like to think that it sets everyone off and we go back to the drawing board, next practice we have a good practice and we hit the road for Algonquin in Ottawa and then we come back, defend home court next Wednesday against Durham," said Deus, who paced George Brown with 22 points on the night.

"I think this has definitely awakened the beast."

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For the men's squad, George Brown refused to lay down after a tough first half, setting up a photo finish fourth quarter where the Sting held on for the 78-76 win.

The first two quarters were largely defined by three-point range. While the Huskies went 2-for-17, Seneca shot the lights out to the tune of 11-for-20. Even still, George Brown remained within striking distance, trailing 41-34 at the half.

"You just play on, you look past what they're making and think about the next play," said Huskies guard Chris Fields about the first half. "Just stay composed, that was our whole thing. Not falling apart as a team, as a family, and getting through the storm.

"It's only one half, and there's four quarters. We believed we could come out in the second half and put on a better show."

And put on a better show the Huskies did. George Brown came out and definitively won the third quarter, 22-16. After a first half which saw Seneca lead from the opening tip-off, the second half featured five deadlocks and eight lead changes, including a four-point Huskies edge with just over two minutes to go.

But after having locked down Seneca's Khalil Miller all game, limiting him to zero points at the half, the Sting leading scorer found room to hit two threes in the final minutes. Huskies veteran DJ James led the visitors with 23 points, and nearly heaved George Brown over the finish line with what would have been the game-winning three at the buzzer.

"Great passion, great energy, they worked really hard. Unfortunately we had some key mistakes down the stretch," Huskies head coach Jonathan Smith said, referring to Miller. "… We'll move along, get ready for provincials and hopefully we get one more shot at them."

12 games in, George Brown finds itself with a 10-2 record, good for second in the OCAA's east. With eight games to go, Smith was crystal clear about his expectation over the regular season's remainder.

"I expect to run the table, and run the table emphatically."

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Next up, both George Brown squads hit the road to take on the Algonquin Thunder on Saturday, Jan. 27.

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

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