For the fourth year in a row, Red River College’s Rebels basketball teams have fought their way to the top of the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) Championships.
In front of packed crowds at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) over the weekend, RRC’s women’s team took home their fourth straight title after defeating CMU 36-34, while the men’s team earned an unprecedented seventh-straight championship with a 65-35 win over Providence University College (PUC).
In past years, the Rebels have had success with high-powered offensive lineups that dominate their competition, but this year’s wins had more to do with defense. By allowing their opponents to earn just 87 points (combined) in the two championship games, both Rebels teams pushed their way to “a new chapter of their legacy through a physical, high-intensity brad of basketball that may not have shown up on the box score, but engraved their name on the trophy all the same,” according to the MCAC.
The women’s game quickly turned into a defensive clinic, with quick turnarounds, tough battles for rebounds, and exceptional hustle from both teams. Leading the charge for the Rebels was tournament MVP Zara Lynn Panesa, whose smooth dribbling and exceptional court-awareness gave her team the edge needed to take control.
The men’s game was a fairly physical battle — though Providence started out strong, they were out-muscled by the Rebels, who took a 36-23 lead in the first half.
The real fireworks started in the second half, when Providence rallied and reduced that lead to one point. Thankfully, tournament MVP Evan Walker used his speed and strength to turn the game around, forcing his way to the rim or the free throw line again and again, frustrating the Providence defense and effectively preventing them from charging back.
Click here to learn more about the MCAC’s 2015 Championships.
(Photo credits: Joey Traa, MCAC)