George Brown head coach calls the loss “a learning lesson for all of us”
After winning their first four games of the season, George Brown’s men’s basketball team received a wake-up call on Saturday, losing 77-66 to the Centennial Colts.
The first quarter was a promising start for the now 4-1 Huskies, who jumped out to a 23-13 lead. But after a 23-14 second quarter in favour of Centennial, the game’s second half became a grinding, back-and-forth affair.
Playing without the crispness and swagger often apparent in earlier tilts, George Brown managed to keep pace with Centennial until the game’s final minutes, when the Colts pulled ahead on their way to the final score.
“In the second half, we didn’t come out as strong as we usually do, and we folded today in terms of effort,” said Huskies guard Dejazmatch James, George Brown’s top scorer on the night with 18 points. “They out-hustled us, they just beat us in every aspect of the game.”
After dropping their season opener, Centennial has rattled off five straight wins. According to Colts forward Paul Walwyn, who led the visitors with 20 points, his side earned the victory by playing what they knew.
“One thing we did was settle down, and we started running the plays a little better,” said Walwyn. “After halftime, coaches got at us a little bit, reminded us that we have to run our plays, and then we executed.”
Coaches on both sides were keenly aware of the game between the ears. Colts assistant coach Chris Stewart spoke of just running their offence and letting George Brown’s nerves get the best of them, while Huskies head coach Jonathan Smith recognized that his side faced a situation they’ve seldom seen.
“We wanted to jump on (Centennial) early, and we did,” said Smith. “We wanted to see how they reacted when they were down, see if they self-destructed. To their credit, they played great, they fought back. When we got down, we haven’t been down much, we buckled a bit.”
Now ranked 12th nationally by the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, George Brown next faces another streaking team in Durham College, which has won three straight. Heading into Friday’s road game, the loss to Centennial isn’t without value for the Huskies head coach.
“It’s a learning lesson for all of us,” said Smith. “Now we understand what it takes: you have to play forty minutes hard. Just because you’re ranked doesn’t mean you can play thirty minutes or twenty minutes. You got to play the full thing.”