The NAIT Ooks men’s basketball team have won the 2016 CCAA National Championship with a 79-74 win over the Humber Hawks in the Gold medal game Saturday night. The NAIT Ooks women’s basketball team defeated the Dynamiques de Sainte Foy 63-62 in the CCAA Nationals Bronze medal game Saturday night in Windsor, ON at St. Clair College.
Quater-Final – Thursday, March 17
#5 Mohawk Mountaineers vs. #4 NAIT Ooks
Ooks win 85-84
On paper the most exciting and closest games in seeded eight-team tournaments is when No. 4 tips off against No. 5. Such was the case at the 2015-2016 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Championships (Presented by Aircon) when the NAIT Ooks (No. 4) of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) met up with the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) No. 5 seed Mohawk Mountaineers. Of the eight teams participating in the three-day, 13-game event, it was easy to see that these were the closest matched teams. It was anybody’s ball game. One of the key elements that changed the game was when the Mountaineers went away from feeding the ball to their hot shooter Jeff Hunter. When the final buzzer sounded it was the Ooks 85 Mountaineers 84.
Ooks Player of the Game; Adrian Curtis 22 points
Ooks Top stats: Jackson Jacob 18 points 5 steals
Semi-Final , Friday, March 18
#4 NAIT Ooks vs. #1 VIU Mariners
Ooks win 87-82
An incredible opening 10 – minutes shooting 10-for-16 from the field and a 26-19 edge, set the pace as the NAIT Ooks defeated the No. 1 seed Vancouver University Island Mariners 87-82 in the second semi-final of the evening at the 2015-2016 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Championships, presented by AirCon.
Connor Dolson held the early hot hand, draining several three pointers for the Ooks and would go on to play the entire 40 minutes while also providing some solid defence.
Teammate Jackson Jacob thrived in the open court but was held scoreless for a while due to the defensive pressure applied by Mariners’ Bryson Cox.
Mariners made a late run but failed to get the ball into the hands of CCAA Player of the Year Josh Ross.
Ooks Player of the Game: Jackson Jacob 29 points
Ooks Top stats: Connor Dolson 26 points 6 rebounds
National Championship Game – Saturday, March 19
#4 NAIT Ooks vs. #2 Humber Hawks
Ooks win 79-74
Defending Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Champion Humber Hawks (OCAA) met up with a team that was destined to win in the form of the NAIT Ooks (ACAC) last night.
Destined because a 25 year-old rookie by the name of Jackson Jacob had waited his entire life for such a moment.
When the final buzzer sounded and the score board read 79-74 in favour of the Ooks, the diminutive quicksilver guard fell to the court, exhausted, tears soon to be streaming down his face.
A native of the Bahamas, his dream was to come to North America to play basketball and get an education.
“When I graduated from high school (C.B. Walker High School, Nassau/Paradise Island) I did not have a passport because both of my parents were born in Hatti,” recalled Jacob. “It was a long process to get one (passport) to come to Canada.
“So, for a few years I worked as a mechanic at my stepfather’s garage and played in the local men’s league. It was frustrating, because my dream was to come to North America and play basketball and get an education.”
Currently enrolled in Academic Upgrading with a goal to enroll in a Heavy Equipment Technician course, Jacob finally arrived to Canada in 2014 and had to redshirt his first year with the Ooks.
“Yes it was frustrating, watching and not being able to play,” said Jacob. “But I was happy just to be on a team. I had to focus on my schooling, stay and shape and improve my game.
“I may be a bit older than most rookies, but this was my dream to play and go to school.
“It’s a dream come true. It is finally here. All the hard work paid off. Coach had us prepared for every game like he always does.”
Well thanks to his dream, another dream was answered as Ooks head coach Mike Connolly, one of Canada’s most well respected coaches with a long tenure, earned his first CCAA gold medal. Jackson Jacob was named Most Valuable Player of the National Championship.