Division 1 and division 2 Eagles anticipate a potential rebound. Hai Bao/The Medium
Hai Bao/the Medium

One week after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Woodsworth College in the men’s division 1 championship matchup, the UTM division 1 Eagles had a chance for redemption against their sibling rivals, the division 2 Eagles.
Overconfident long range passes and fancy plays limited the division 1 team from developing momentum in the first half. Division 2 stormed out to a 26-11 lead. Tariq Baig did not make it easy for division 1, sinking seven points on a following 9-2 run for division 2.
Division 2 made crisp passes around the disoriented division 1 team, drawing double teams and leaving a free man open for the shot on multiple occasions. The division 1 Eagles found themselves throwing out fouls and digging themselves into a bigger deficit. With six minutes left in the first half, the division 2 Eagles led 41-20. Down by 21, division 1 coaches Ammer and Anish called a timeout to rally their group.
An orchestra of taunts towards the division 1 Eagles serenaded the RAWC Gym, frustrating the players. It was possible the division 2 Eagles could pull off the big upset against the supposedly superior division 1 team.
“I could not believe we were down that much at that point,” said division 1’s Ambrish Patel, who only scored five points in the first half. “We knew we couldn’t lose to these guys.”
Immediately following the timeout, guard Kent Bray sunk a three pointer for division 1. Han Wang carried the momentum, finishing a tip in off another shot attempted by Bray. The division 1’s sudden desperate and tight defensive play resulted in division 2 turnovers. Wang capitalized on two drawn fouls, and Patel profited from a steal that sent him on a clear breakaway for another 2 points. Division 1 finished the first half on a 14-0 run, reducing their deficit from 21 points to seven.
“There’s one thing that no sports teams should do, and that’s underestimate any other team,” said division 1’s Elias Sbiet. “In the first half, that’s exactly what we did.”
The comeback saw the rowdy UTM fans shift sides, cheering on a comeback from their championship challenging division 1 Eagles.
“The start of the comeback has to be credited to the young guys and Harpreet, who came off the bench and starting chipping at the lead,” said Sbiet.
The division 1 Eagles showed why they were the championship finalists during the second half. Increased communication between the players saw the game tied for the first time.
“We just kept our composure and chipped away at the lead gradually with our defensive stops,” said Patel, who scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half.
In the first half, division 2 penetrated the division 1 defence with ease. In the second half, they were kept to perimeter shots. Kent sunk his second three pointer of the night to give the division 1 Eagles their first lead of the game.
Division 2 kept things interesting, as both teams were cautious on defence and patient on offense. They exchanged one-point leads until the final minutes of the game.
“It was at this point that we put on our press, which caused a lot of turnovers for [division 2], where we were able to finish,” said Sbiet.
Wang sunk a tip in off the backboard and Patel made a successful jump shot to solidify division 1’s 76-74 comeback victory over their division 2 counterparts.
“There was no way we were going to lose to these guys,” said Patel. “They were overconfident starting out hot and we had to capitalize on that.”
Considering it was a sibling rivalry game, it should be expected that the players engage in a little trash talk. Division 1’s Ambrish Patel wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion after the big comeback victory.
“We all know that real ballers come out in crunch time,” said a smirking Patel. “Sorry to say, but they [division 2] just aren’t as clutch as we are.”
Although the division 1 Eagles weren’t able to capture the championship this year, they certainly made up for it with the effort they displayed on Wednesday. The character-building victory may provide them with some confidence heading into the summer and allow them to build on the momentum heading into the 2010/2011 season. Hopefully, they will be able to recapture the glory of the 2008/2009 team and reward their fans with a championship title.