EDMONTON, AB–The NPH #6-ranked NAIT Ooks (18-2) dispatched the Keyano Huskies (7-13) 95-79 to sweep the Huskies in their three-game series in first round of the ACAC playoffs at NAIT gymnasium.
The Ooks were able to pull away from the Huskies in the fourth quarter after the NAIT held a slim two-point lead headed into the final frame. In the fourth, the Ooks outscored the Huskies 30-16 to end the Huskies’ season.
“The toughest one to get is the elimination win,” said Phillips. “They had a lot of fight in them, they played like a team that didn’t want to be eliminated.”
NAIT head coach Don Phillips credits his team’s success to their commitment to playing strong team defence.
“The recipe for winning is defence when you reach this stage,” explains Phillips. “Lock-down defence and share the ball on offence and you should be successful.”
Ooks starting point guard Gerard Mozwa finished the game with a team leading 22 points, shooting a 9-18 field goal percentage. Ooks forward Bol Kong dominated in the paint coming down with a team leading 11 rebounds while adding 21 points of his own. Kong led the Ooks in minutes played with 35:30.
The #6-ranked Ooks await the NPH #10-ranked Mount Royal Cougars who are fresh off an 87-70 victory over Grant Macewan at Stanley Gym in Calgary.
The Ooks have had season success against both the Cougars and the Griffins as the Ooks have beaten both teams twice. However, Phillips maintains that the playoffs are an entirely different beast and either team can win.
“At this point of time in the season we gotta chin up, you got to chest-up and you got to make it happen,” said Phillips. “Any team can win it.”
Despite the teams success and talent, Phillips believes his team doesn’t receive enough respect among those in the media and in the league.
“A lot of articles have been written on other institutions but thats okay, it’s just fuelling us right now,” “Right now we feel like we have a lot to prove, we feel disrespected.”