Golden Hawks fall toVarsity Blues in brutal pre-playoff smackdown

Photo by Birnavan Varnacumaaran

Laurier’s men’s Basketball team played at home against UofT on Feb. 16, 2024 at the Athletic Complex. The team headed into the game 14-6, ready to play one of the final games of their season.

Their star player, Taye Donald, returned from an injury that held him back from playing the two games prior.

Their matchup, The Varsity Blues, came into the game with a 2-8 record as well as being named the best free throw shooting team in the league.

The game begun with Laurier winning the tip and Donald hitting the first three pointer. Donald was aggressive in the first quarter, converting multiple tough layups through contact and pulling one off from behind the backboard.

“Tay is an MVP contender on the league, but he just [came] back from a little injury so I felt like he was trying to get his rhythm,” said head coach Justin Serresse.

Ethan Passley was cooking it up on both ends of the floor, guarding the perimeter while converting two threes on offence.

He accumulated four crucial rebounds in the game, the second most rebounds on the team as a guard player.

Photo by Birnavan Varnacumaaran

Benhur Gebrekidan had a solid showing, demonstrating his abilities as he dribbled past screens and shooting a mid-range from the post position.

“It allows me to be more aggressive offensively and to not be one-dimensional. It gives us another dimension to our offensive,” said Gebrekidan on his mid-range abilities.

The highlight of the game came when there was 4:30 left in the fourth and Jalen Levene hit a three, stealing back the ball back from Toronto immediately after they inbounded the ball and throwing a dime to Maxwell Voorpool for another 23-footer. This cut the lead down from 10 to 6.

Toronto was not letting up, and it seemed that Laurier’s efforts might have gone to waste. However, the home squad managed two three-pointers within 30 seconds, Donald Taye squeezing the last three through with two seconds on the game clock. Unfortunately, Laurier loses the game by two.

It would have been a nice addition to Taye’s MVP level portfolio, but this potential game-winner was not one that Taye says will keep him up at night;

“I wouldn’t hit my head on it, you know? I got the shot, that’s what we wanted. It didn’t go in, it happens. We move on to the next one.”

Unfortunately for the Golden Hawks, the Varsity Blues were simply the better team this game.

Although there wasn’t significant pressure on the Golden Hawks to perform, they did not play like themselves, said Serresse, the team’s coach.

“The whole game, I didn’t like the energy. I didn’t like the flow of the game. I didn’t like how we played offensively, defensively. If you have seen us play before today, you [would] understand that it’s not us,” he said.

“We must find our rhythm before the playoffs, because we’re running out of time. It’s not the time to get away from what we do.”

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