Brock hoops: Kissi wins 100th, women fall to Laurier
Brock head coach Charles Kissi and assistants Mike Rao and Frank Mete look on during a recent game at Brock. Photo by BERNIE PUCHALSKI.
Five seasons ago, Brock men’s basketball head coach Charles Kissi saw his first year end with a last-place record of 4-18 in the Ontario University Athletics West Division.
In the next three seasons, Brock improved to 7-12, 13-6 and 15-4 in league play and Wednesday night, the second-ranked Brock Badgers moved to 17-2 with a hard-fought 73-69 road victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks.
The win represented Kissi’s 100th career coaching victory.
“It’s pretty cool,” Kissi said. “Obviously we don’t pay attention to that stuff, but it was a neat little accomplishment and there were a few that night.”
Kissi agrees 100 wins is many miles ahead of where the program was when it started 4-18 under his watch.
“To do it and have the start we had is kind of impressive, but it is a testament to our players, our coaches and our staff here who help us continue to build,” he said.
Kissi has managed to built a program that looks like it is primed for a sustained run of success by stressing culture.
“We say culture is king here at our program,” he said.
That culture is as strong as it has ever been and continues to get stronger.
“Everybody knows no matter what role they play, that nobody is bigger than this program, including myself,” Kissi said. “We continue to put our program first and then everything become easier.
“All of our guys and our staff understand that this is all bigger than us and where we are trying to go is pretty special and that there’s a lot of pieces to getting it done.”
That mentality is felt by the rookies and the fifth-year players.
“All of our recruits have come in and no one is trying to change the world,” he said. “Everyone is trying to add value and the birth and the growth of our culture has been the biggest piece.”
Kissi feels he has grown as a coach in his tenure at Brock.
“Every summer, whether I spend time with the Raptors or whatever I do, I have an area I am trying to get better in,” he said. “This year we are trying to score more points and I think we are up by about 13.”
Earlier on in his career, the goal was to hold teams under 70 points and Brock has been able to do that over the last couple of seasons.
“Every year, I pick a different thing and it’s the same philosophy we use around our athletes. We try develop different pieces every year and not throw everything at them all at once,” he said. “If I have this expectation for our players to get better, then I have to make sure that I am doing that myself.”
Kissi believes he has many more areas to grow as a coach and he has yet to decide which one he will focus on next.
“Maybe I will try to be a little bit more patient with certain things,” he said, with a laugh. “I will figure that out when the season is done.”
Kissi’s 100th victory was anything but a walk in the park. Laurier led 16-12 after one quarter and 37-28 at the half before the Badgers pulled out the win by outscoring the Golden Hawks 43-32 in the second half.
“All credit to Laurier,” Kissi said. “They came out real hard and played really hard.
“Everyone below us now is fighting for position and their playoff lives and they came out with a lot of great intensity.”
Brock was led again by fifth-year forward Dani Elgadi, who continued his second-half surge with 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
“He is rolling right now,” Kissi said. “He’s doing pretty well, he’s figured out his spots and it’s sort of all coming together for him.
“It’s culminating and he’s playing like a fifth-year senior should.”
Also contributing to the Brock win were: Daniel Cayer, 21 points and seven boards; and, Cassidy Ryan with 11 points and six rebounds.
Laurier (9-10) was led by Ali Sow with 31 points and Kemel Archer with 14.
Up next for Brock is a Saturday road game at Waterloo (7-12).
GOLDEN HAWKS 73 BADGERS 58
Laurier’s women’s basketball team built quarter leads of 16-11, 31-25 and 53-41 Wednesday on the way to a 73-58 victory over the visiting Brock Badgers.
Brock fell to 6-13 with the loss while Laurier improved to 10-9.
Leading the way for Brock was Courtney McPherson.
“Courtney was outstanding,” Brock head coach Ashley MacSporran said. “She had 16 points and 16 rebounds and it felt like she could have had 30 points.”
Also contributing for Brock were: Miranda Smith, 12 points and four rebounds; Kristin Gallant, 11 points, five boards and five assists; and, Brooke Murdoch, 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Top point getters for Laurier were Nicole Morrison (18) and Maya Day (12). Jean Vanier product Sarah Dillon added 10 points for Laurier.
“We had our best game offensively in a while with only 15 turnovers and they came on doubles (double teams) and all our ball action screens,” MacSporran said. “We made some adjustments and settled down after the first quarter where we turned it over seven or eight times.”
MacSporran felt her team did some great things and her team had some excellent offensive performances.
“Miranda was great for us again, shooting the ball well,” she said. “Brooke (Murdoch) hit a couple of threes and so did Baelie (Campbell), who has been struggling with her shot.
“She looked more comfortable yesterday and got us rolling in the first quarter.”
Brock’s women excel at setting a tone for a game with its defence. It did that well early Wednesday and then lost track of it.
“We are one of the top OUA teams defensively when it comes to opponent’s field goal percentage and we are the best at holding opponents to the lowest three-point percentage,” MacSporran said. “We let Laurier shoot the lights out and lost track of Morrison, who they need to get them rolling.”
Morrison finished 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.
“That is not Brock basketball,” MacSporran said. “We are disappointed in ourselves for that effort because we control that.
“We had that opportunity, but that’s part of a young team and we get to learn from playing under pressure.”
Brock is at Waterloo Saturday (1-18) before hosting Lakehead (12-6) next Friday and Saturday night.
“This team is capable of great things when healthy and all in. They fight so hard,” MacSporran said. “The Lakehead series at home will be an interesting test for us and it’s going to be lots of fun.”