The Waterloo Warriors’ men’s basketball team took to the PAC court Thursday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 11, as they hosted their 47th Naismith Classic Exhibition Tournament. The teams that attended included the Queens Gaels, Nippising University Lakers, the Waterloo Warriors and a non OUA team, the MacEwan Griffins from Edmonton, Alberta.
The Warriors faced off against the newcomers, the MacEwan Griffins, for their first affair of the tournament on Thursday night. The Warriors couldn’t secure a victory, losing by a basket to the Griffins 71–69 during the opening game.
The Warriors were looking for a better result during their second game against the Gaels on Friday night. After a couple of missed shots and hard-fought rebounds, the Warriors managed to draw first blood against Queens, who seemed to have difficulties adjusting to the Warriors’ fast-paced offence. The Warriors led for all of the first period and had control of the game due to their strong defensive skills and four steals that gave them the advantage over the Gaels, making it 18–12 in favour of the Warriors by the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors continued their dominance for the rest of the second period, scoring 15 points and continuing to play strong defence, thus securing the pace of the game. Queens tried to catch up to the Warriors by the way of three-point shots, but ended up losing valuable points that cost them the game.
After the half the Warriors were leading the Gaels 33–22, but Queens were pretty successful in fighting back and closing the gap for most of the second half. The Gaels looked like a completely different team after the break, getting rid of the sloppy defence, blocking Warrior shots, and securing more rebounds.
The Warriors had a hard time containing the energized Gaels during most of the last period, giving up easy fouls and steals. The Gaels took advantage of the Warriors mistakes and tied the game 64–64 with four minutes left. During the final minutes of the game, it seemed as if the Warriors were going to be handed their second loss of the tournament, but it came down to the last seconds with the Warriors holding a one point lead during the final minute of play.
The game was resolved during the last 15 seconds of play when the Warriors got a foul and took the lead by the way of free shots, defeating the Gaels 74–70. The Warriors went on to defeat the Nippising Lakers but finished in second place of the tournament. The MacEwan Griffins claimed the championship of the 47th Naismith Classic. The best players for the Warriors during the tournament were Myles Charvis — recognized as a tournament all-star for his 25.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game — and Jaspreet Gill, who scored 15.6 points per game and had 2.7 steals per game.