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Mikael Israel (left) after his buzzer beating shot to defeat Seneca King/York in game one, final score 53-52.
XMBB - Feb 23 G1 Win

George Brown's extramural men's basketball team went 2-1 at the Seneca Invitational, in what head coach Akai Nettey described as probably being their best tournament of the season.

Participating in their third and final tourney of 2017-18, the day started with no shortage of dramatics. Facing off against a combined Seneca King/York squad in game one, George Brown's rebounding left much to be desired, and the result was a 10-point Seneca lead at halftime.

Coming out of the half, GBC managed to narrow the gap to three points after the third quarter. But Seneca erupted in the fourth to at one point hold a 13-point advantage, which had turned into an eight point edge with two minutes remaining.

That was apparently right where the Huskies wanted them. George Brown went on a furious charge, even taking the lead before Seneca went in front 52-51 with two seconds left on the clock.

Enter Mikael Israel.

The guard, whose shooting prowess was previously on display at the Centennial Invitational, beat the buzzer on a play drawn up by Nettey.

"The coach had a play where I come off a double screen, and Kosheem (Simpson) was supposed to either find me or MK (Mikael Zushi) coming up the middle," said Israel following his heroics. "My teammate trusted me to take the last shot seeing that it was open, so I just took it."

While Israel's shot to seal the 53-52 win made for quite the finish, he was quick to credit others with the team's comeback effort which led to that moment. 

"It was some of our players, Kosheem, MK, they both went on a hot run so we kept playing through them and they brought us back," Israel said. "Trey (Treyvon Edwards) hit a big three that started the fire, that made us want to win, and then we started pressing them full-court, we started covering each other's backs and came out with the win."

In an unlucky happenstance of scheduling, a lengthy break between games one and two seemed to sap George Brown's momentum, especially when it came to sinking baskets. The Huskies were able to keep pace with the Sheridan Bruins, even as the latter made threes which simply wouldn't drop for GBC.

As that slight edge maintained itself, emotions bubbled over and Sheridan won what ended up being a feisty affair, 43-39.

If their two previous tournaments had demonstrated anything, it's that this Huskies squad does not end on a losing note. True to form, George Brown came ready to play in game three against the Centennial Colts.

The Huskies steadily increased their lead over Centennial as the match went on. But while their scoring ability was old hat, it was the squad's commitment to defence and communication which was most striking. That two-way effort, led on the court by Chevvy Brown, earned George Brown the victory, final score 47-34.

For Brown, directing his side's renewed defensive effort was simply a matter of working together.

"You need to be aware of your surroundings and where people are all the time," he said. "I was just reminding people who they have and to know to guard them."

With George Brown, Sheridan and Seneca King/York all sporting 2-1 records in Group B, the tiebreaker came down to point differential. And by a single point, the Huskies unfortunately drew the short straw.

Though they may have deserved a better fate given their performance on the court, GBC was certainly able to leave the Seneca Invitational with heads held high.

"This was probably our best tournament," Nettey said. "Team-wise, our guys played hard, they fought hard to the bitter end and it was a good tournament overall."

"I'm not a fan of point differential, but for me, this is about the guys getting better," he continued. "Did the guys get better? I think so, I think we improved, and hopefully they take this time in the summer to get better and get ready for next year."