Woodsworth’s Dominant Male Basketball Team Plays UTM in Next Week’s Intramural Final
Chris Granicolo, Howl Staff
Woodsworth College’s Male Div.1 Basketball team is en route to its fourth intramural final in as many seasons, a magical run that has solidified the team as a perennial contender in the world of U of T inter-collegiate sports.
Concluding that the current team is a U of T intramural dynasty may be considered a bold statement. However, the team’s recent accomplishments demonstrate its power. Four dominant regular seasons, four finals appearances, one champion title and the likelihood of a second will disprove any naysayers.
With a dominant 70-53 victory by UTM over Phys-Ed in this week’s semi-final, Woodsworth will face-off against UTM next Wednesday in what is sure to be a climactic end to this year’s long season.
The past four seasons have seen a bitter rivalry develop between Woodsworth and the strong UTM team. The Wolfpack lost to UTM in the 2009 championship, but came back in the next season to beat their adversaries in the 2010 championship. A Woodsworth victory over UTM in the regular season has earned the Wolfpack a home-court advantage in next week’s final.
The Howl recently sat down with small-forward, four-year team veteran, Christopher Bon, to shed some light on the team’s recent drive to the championship, along with what this game means to the other veterans on the team.
Howl: Tell us about the regular season: how did the Wolfpack manage just two losses over a ten game schedule?
Bon: Our first game of the year, we were not as prepared as we would like to have been against a tight-knit Phys-Ed team. It was the first time we all played together, so it was not a good indication of the chemistry our team has since developed.
Howl: How about the other loss?
Bon: It was a close match against Scarborough that we allowed to get away in the final few minutes of the game. We were leading throughout the entire game, but we did not do our best to protect the lead at the end. We were taking shots when we should have focused more on possession, leading to some unnecessary turnovers that the other team capitalized on. We had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but we couldn’t drain the final shot. There is no point to dwell too much on that loss, though, since we beat Scarborough in the semi-finals, when it mattered most.
Howl: What was the other competition like?
Bon: Well, our toughest matches are against UTM, Scarborough and Phys-Ed. Those three teams and the Wolfpack make up the four main contenders of Div.1. Games against those three teams are usually the toughest. Every other team was usually not a problem. We typically out-matched them at every position, so victory was expected and achieved each time.
Howl: I noticed you guys dominated Law 67-49 in this years quarterfinals, what contributed to the strong performance?
Bon: Law did not do as well as we did in the regular season. They lost six times and won just four, so we were heavily favoured going into the game. The Wolfpack players clicked really well throughout the game, so we had no problem beating the other team.
Howl: The Wolfpack was leading 30-18 at half-time against Scarborough in the semi-final, but you guys won by just 6 with a final score of 60-54, how did they get back into the game after such a Wolfpack-dominated first half?
Bon: I guess we did not play with as much urgency out of the half as we did at the start of the game, and Scarborough crawled back to within 4 points. Coaches Kash and Tsiokos (who is also team captain) did a great job motivating us to get back into the game, telling us to continue doing the little things that allowed us to dominate the first half.
Howl: What were the results of the mid-game pep talks?
Bon: We tightened up our defense really well after that. Great efforts were made by everyone, with big games from point guard Eddie Kagemana and shooting guard Steve Ambrose. We also got crucial contributions from Elvis Ibrahimovic, Victor Borkovsky, Igor Korolija, and Ernest Modekwe. Strong defence, rebounding, and clutch shooting allowed us to keep Scarborough at bay and come out on top.
Howl: The final against UTM is less then a week away. What is Woodsworth doing to prepare for the championship?
Bon: We have a few practices planned in the lead-up to the final. We’ll be working on our plays and our defense and adapting our playing style to that of UTM.
Howl: You’re a veteran of this team now, for four seasons. How important is this final game?
Bon: I’ll be graduating this year, so this is going to be my last game as a part of Woodsworth. In fact, many of the players have been together since our first years. We’ve grown together over the last four years, so we know each other’s playing styles very well. It leads to better on-court chemistry, which is reflected in our success during these last four seasons.
Howl: So you’ll be giving it your all in this last game?
Bon: Definitely, and without question. This game means a lot for our team. We’ve been through this entire trip together, so it has extra meaning for us. We want to end on a bang, not a whimper. The team is full of great spirits and they’re all good guys, truly a team of winners. I’m confident going into the final against UTM.
Howl: Where will you be taking your talents next year?
Howl: Thanks, and best of luck in the final.
The Wolfpack takes on UTM on Wednesday March 14th at 9PM in Field House (Varsity Centre). It’s not a home-court advantage unless we have a boatload of supporting fans there, so show up next week to cheer for our Wolfpack! Belligerence is necessary.