Last Saturday, November 18, the UTM women’s varsity basketball team played against the Redeemer Royals. Redeemer started off strong by gaining seven points quickly, but the UTM women were not slow to catch up. Within the first quarter, Redeemer took the lead with their strong layups and well-aimed free throws. The UTM Eagles displayed immense strength and admirable team work, refusing to lose spirit as they continued to play with great enthusiasm. Despite missing free throw shots and falling behind by 11 points, the Eagles cheered each other on with encouragement throughout the game. The score at the end of the quarter was 23-12 for Redeemer.
The crowd watching the game started off small, but grew larger with the intensity of the game as students and family members came to show their support. The Eagles had many openings to score baskets, but the fierce defense of the Royals topped with the fast pace and tensions of the game led to a lot of baskets that almost made it—but not quite.
In the second quarter, Redeemer stayed ahead with the score at 22-9, at which point the Eagles Mascot joined the game, engaging the audience and providing entertainment. With the help of free throws, the UTM women started to catch up to Redeemer, putting themselves at 25-19. The Eagles played with strong defense as they blocked baskets from the opposing team, quickly turning the score around as the second quarter ended with a tie at 33-33.
In the third quarter, Redeemer reclaimed their high score at 58-48. Nonetheless, Eagle supporters, along with members of UTM’s own team, unremittingly cheered the UTM women on, chanting, “Let’s go Eagles, let’s go.” The school mascot also encouraged them on with a little dance of its own.
Both teams consisted of players that were highly motivated and portrayed awe-inspiring team work. In the final quarter, more friends and family arrived, and there were some anxious moments in the game where the opposing teams seemed to get a little heated in their defense tactics. Throughout the game, players from both sides put the game first as they sustained numerous falls, tumbling to the ground in order to secure the ball for their teams. One player from Redeemer ultimately had to sit out for a good part of the game due to a substantial fall, as she tried her best to keep hold of the ball. There was also some apprehension displayed from viewers in the audience and the teams playing, over the credibility of certain foul shots that were called, though it was all in the spirit of the game and quickly subsided. Although both teams displayed immense determination to win, ultimately, with the help of free-throw baskets, Redeemer won the game with the score ending in 72-64.
Redeemer may have won the basketball game, but the Eagles celebrated a victory of their own. In a brief conversation with UTM’s head coach, Salee Johnson-Edwards, she said, “It was a tough loss for us but, overall, as a team we took a step forward and that one of the players went down with an injury during practice but everyone stepped up their game,” she continued, “Obviously we wanted the result in our favour, but we can’t be mad at a game like this when we played hard and the girls clawed their way back up, putting themselves in a position to win the game.”