LANGLEY — Call it third place the hard way.
Or, if you care to cast your eyes to the future, you can call it the first chapter of their 2019-20 championship run.
Toronto’s Humber Hawks tore off a red-hot 15-0 run in just under three-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter Saturday to top Laval’s Montmorency Nomades 84-76, capturing third place at the CCAA national championships which wrapped up a three-day run at the Langley Events Centre.
To ctake third place in the tourney’s unique draw, it is necessary to win two games on Saturday, and in the case of the Hawks, with virtually no turnaround time.
Humber knocked off No. 1 seeded Holland of Charlottetown in a 12 noon tip, then came back for a 5:30 p.m. tip against Montmorency.
“Coming back from a quarterfinal loss, it’s tough to get the guys motivated,” said Humber head coach Samson Downey whose team lost its Thursday opener to Quebec champion Vanier. “But we came back to win three straight. And today, it was such a short turnaround, only about a three-hour window.”
Humber returned to their hotel five minutes away from the LEC, took treatments and relaxed for about 90 minutes, then returned and did their best to play their best game of the season.
It took a while against a talented Montmorency squad.
The Nomades, in fact, built their largest lead of the game at 12 points (56-44) with 3:34 left in the third quarter on a driving lay-in by guard Mcfadden Jean.
At that point, it looked like Humber’s fatigue was about to kick in.
Yet it’s been at that very stage over the previous two wins that the Hawks found their second wind, and when they summoned it Saturday afternoon, it quickly kicked in.
The third quarter’s stretch drive gave way to a fourth-quarter takeover, and once in their zone, Humber’s combination of dynamic half-court ball-movement, tough, driving hoops and wide-open three-point looks was lethal.
“We’re a pretty deep team so the game plan was that it would start to show in the second half,” Downey added.
Humber’s balanced attack produced four double-digit scorers.
Jordon Francis led the way with 18 points, Jaylan Morgan added 15, Curwin Elvis 14 and DeQuon Cascart 10.
Blondeau Tchoukuiengo led all scorers with 26 points for Montmorency. Charles Cousin added a dozen more.
With only two seniors departing from the roster and the Hawks set to play host to next season’s CCAA nationals, Downey admitted that Saturday’s win was like the first page of the next chapter.
“It really is,” he said. “We lose our captain Curwin Elvis, and another fifth-year in Jordan Rose, but our future looks bright. We are really looking forward to hosting.”
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