It looked like they'd be chased out the David Braley Athletic and Recreation Centre to start, but the Redeemer Royals came from 20 points down, then held off a late Mohawk rally, to down the Mountaineers 93-85 Tuesday (Dec. 4).
Mohawk totally dominated all aspects of the game in the first quarter, as they opened a 30-14 lead.
But Redeemer started to turn things around in the second period and trailed by a more manageable 10 points at the half.
It was hard to believe the difference in the third quarter, as the Royals outscored the home side 31-16 and it was Mohawk struggling to keep up.
Down by 14 points with five minutes remaining, the Mountaineers seemed to find their second wind and looked like they might salvage the decision when they got to within two points (84-82) with two minutes left on the clock. But the Royals kept their cool and pulled away at the end.
Spencer Kerssies led Redeemer with with 29 points and 17 rebounds. Jacobus Vanderpol scored 21 points and added 11 boards.
For the Mountaineers, Emanuel Otong scored 29 points and had 14 rebounds. Milos Mladjan and Aaron Case had 14 points apiece.
Redeemer upped its record to 7-3, while Mohawk dropped to 3-6.
Mohawk head coach Brian Jonker felt his team missed an opportunity to be up 15-20 at the half and that may have made a big difference. "The second half we turned the ball over too much. We looked tired down the stretch, but we were down 13, cut it to two and even had the ball, but we couldn't get back even," the coach said.
One of the big questions now is how this young squad will take a defeat like this. "That's our biggest challenge right now," Jonker said. "When times get tough, our body language gets down. We don't really pick each other up. That's what we need to do. Now we go to the break and you have a bad taste in your mouth for some time, but I also believe having this break isn't a terrible thing either," said Jonker.