Hawks remain unbeatable at home court, beating Hamilton’s Redeemer Royals

Jan 16, 2024 | Headlines, Sports

The women’s Hawks basketball team started the New Year by extending its winning streak to four games — and remaining undefeated on home court — by defeating the Redeemer Royals on Saturday afternoon.

The Hawks closed the game with a 71-58 final score, adding to their perfect home record of 5-0.

With this win, Humber remains undefeated against Redeemer, improving to 47-0 all-time record.

Hawks Kia Watt garnered a double-double with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds.

hawks Kia Watt driving the ball as she scores game high of 23 points .

Hawks Kia Watt driving the ball in a weekend game against the Redeemer Royals. She scored a game-high 23 points and recorded 10 rebounds. Photo credit: Hawi Tulu

Even though the team secured the win, Hawks head coach Ajay Sharma said he saw some mistakes from his team.

“We looked like we had a lot of rust on us. We hadn’t played since December,” he said. “I still gotta remind them of the mental errors, and we gotta correct those.”

Sharma said the takeaway from this game is to play better defensively and develop a new team identity so they can be good on both sides of the ball.

Hawks led the game throughout the four quarters, and while the Redeemer had many defensive plays and runs, the Hawks’ pushback and response helped them close the game.

Sharma said he talked to his team at halftime and adjusted to play better in the second half.

“We discussed focusing on the things we’ve been doing in practice and delivering on them. When we did that, we saw the game open up,” he said.

“We also went to a press midway through the third, which gave us some extra opportunities where we stole the ball and got some layups.”

Humber face to face with redeemers .hawks guard sarah Baptie fouled by the redeemers .

Hawks guard Sarah Humber Sarah Baptie lies on the court after being fouled during a weekend game against Redeemer Royals. Photo credit: Hawi Tulu

The Hawks came away with a nail-biting win against a team they had beaten by almost 60 points a couple of weeks earlier.

Redeemers assistant coach Patrick Iavarone found some positives in his team’s game.

“First and foremost, we’re mostly healthy,” he said. “We ended 2023 with half our team injured. So it was nice to see the majority of us on the court and able to play.

“Humber is always a good battle,” Iavarone said. “And so the fact that we were able to stick with them proved that we’re good enough to stick with the best of them.”

Iavarone praised Humber’s coaching staff and said he learned that his team is good enough to face the Hawks again.

“Humber’s very well coached. They have been around for a while,” he said. “So to respond to the runs that the Humber gave us and then come back to the game showed that our girls were very poised and ready to battle.”

Iavarone reflected on the gaps he saw in his team.

“We were able to hold them off defensively, but offensively, if a few more shots dropped for us throughout the game, it could have been a different story,” he said.

The Hawks brought in a few new faces to the team this season and they’ve had half a season under their belt filled with the challenges and lessons of college basketball.

After the game, Hawks rookie guard Hope Manglal-Ian said the Humber Hawks emphasize family and togetherness as a team.

“There’s a lot of unity on this team, just being disciplined, being there for one another on and off the court. I think that builds our team chemistry,” she said.

Manglal-Ian said coming to Humber and playing here has been a special journey for her.

“I love this team. I was really nervous coming in because it’s a lot of intimidating and talented women and coaching staff. But so far, they’ve accepted me as part of their family,” she said.

Although Manglal-Ian and the rest of the rookies are new to the team, Sharma still holds the same expectations as if they were veterans.

“We demand the things that we emphasize, and the accountability. It doesn’t matter if we’re up 25, 35, or down six,” he said. “The expectations are the expectations.

“We call it putting them in the washing machine,” Sharma said.

The Hawks travel to Kitchener to face the Conestoga Condors. The last time the two teams met, Humber took the victory in convincing fashion. The Hawks, who are 6-3 after the weekend win, are looking for the season sweep while the Condors, with a 2-8 record, look to bounce back.