Bahamian Trio Help Knights’ Battle For Ocaa Playoff Spot
WITH just the regular season finale left to play, the Bahamian trio for the Niagara College Knights will need to finish the year strongly and hope for a little help if they are to make a post-season run.
Marako Lundy, Delroy Grandison and Tenerro Ferguson have led the Knights to an 11-6 win-loss record, currently tied for fourth place in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) West.
But the team missed a pivotal opportunity to take sole possession of the conference’s final playoff spot as, over the weekend, they split a pair of games against the St Clair Saints and Lambton Lions.
On Saturday afternoon, the Knights travelled to Windsor for a date with the Saints. The Knights overcame an 11-point half-time deficit to take an 83-74 win. Grandison finished with 13 points while Ferguson added 10. Lundy missed the game due to injury.
Despite a slow start in the contest, Knights Head Coach Keith Vassell commended the team’s response. “I was pleased with the composure we showed after a rough start,” he said.
On Sunday, they lost an important game in the playoff standings, 94-72 to the Lions. The result moved both teams into a fourth place tie in the division. Lundy was back in the lineup a day later and finished with a double double, 17 points and 10 rebounds while Grandison scored 10.
On Friday, the Knights will host the final game of the regular season, a match against the top ranked team in the division, the Sheridan Bruins, currently 14-3.
After battling injuries for much of last season, Lundy has returned to miss only one game in the 2015-16 campaign and lead the team in scoring at 18.7 points per game.
Shooting 41 per cent from the floor, he also grabs 5.6 rebounds per game while dishing out two assists. He opened the season with back-to-back 20-point games in wins over Cambrian and has gone on to pass that scoring mark six times this season. In a November 28 meeting against the Lions, his game high 24 points included a buzzer-beating half-court heave to force overtime.
Grandison has come on late towards the end of the year and in seven games averaged 12.4 points. After he missed the first nine games of the season, Grandison made his debut on January 8. In his third game back, he finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds in a 96-88 win over Mohawk. He also finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds against Sault.
Ferguson has again been a key contributor off the bench for the Knights. He has reached double figures in scoring in five games this season, highlighted by a season high 14 on November 13 against Sheridan. He is averaging 6.1 points per game.
Last season, the Knights fell in the opening round of the OCAA playoffs to Seneca College after previously missing the playoffs and winning just three games in 2014.
The trio figured prominently for the team for much of the season and that trend continued into the playoffs. Lundy averaged 15.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game in the final eight contests once he returned from injury. Grandison, in his first year with the programme, averaged 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Ferguson averaged six points per game in seven appearances
Grandison was named the SAC athlete of the week three times over the course of the season while Lundy was the most recent recipient of the award for his play down the stretch.
The trio are all local products of Noble Preparatory Academy (NPA), Nassau.
The connection between Noble and and Niagra College continues to produce top flight basketball talent for the Canadian institution and provide Bahamian student athletes with an education.
Geno Bullard is the founder and serves as the president of NPA and is also the international recruiter for the entire Caribbean region for Niagara College. NPA has academic ties with Ridley, Niagara and Brock University.