DeMont’s heroics spark Badgers
Ever since she started playing travel basketball in Grade 2 with the Pelham Panthers, Kaley DeMont has made a career of scoring the basketball and helping her team win basketball games.
The 19-year-old St Catharines native has done that for the past decade at the high school, travel and Juel level but no stage for her scoring exploits has ever been bigger for the 5-foot-7 guard than Saturday’s Ontario University Athletics West semifinal game against the visiting Marauders.
With Brock trailing in the third quarter, the business communications major hit three straight threes, added an assist and a quarter-ending block to help her Badgers head into the fourth quarter with a 41-33 lead. The home team barely hung on in the fourth quarter but managed to escape with a 49-45 victory to advance to the OUA West final Wednesday at home against the Western Mustangs.
Brock head coach Mike Rao agreed the outburst was the turning point in the game.
“She is good and I have seen it for awhile,” he said. “We have been working on her shot for a little bit and today I felt they were jamming the paint a lot more so I decided to throw her in and she what happens. She is not shy and I knew she was going to fire it, which is good.”
The nine points scored represented a season-high for DeMont, who didn’t attract a lot of fanfare when she signed with Brock at the end of the 2020 season.
“We were happy to get her here and I think she is going to be a very good USPORTS player,” Rao said. “Defensively, she has a bit of work to do but offensively she has all the tools.”
Like all first-year players, DeMont had to adjust from being the star player with the ball always in her hands to someone who has to scratch and claw for playing time. That situation is magnified when you are trying to earn minutes on the top-ranked team in the country.
“It is hard for her to come in and play the minutes she is used to but you have to remember she is a first-year player,” Rao said.
DeMont admitted she wasn’t expecting to play such a prominent role in the semifinal.
“Today we were all excited when we woke up and we were ready to get to work.”
When her name was called in the third quarter, she was ready.
“Coach always says that I am out there to shoot and play defence. Coming off the bench after not playing in the first half, I had to do my job,” she said. “I went out there and showed what I could do and I earned having him keep me out there.”
As each three-pointer fell, DeMont reminded herself to stay confident.
“After I hit the first two, it gave me a lot of confidence to shoot the third,” he said. “When I hit the third, it gave everybody more confidence that we could keep the lead.”
DeMont agrees it has been tough adjusting to coming off the bench and not playing major minutes.
“Honestly, it is just keep your head up and don’t get down because you are going to have to wait for your chance, especially in university basketball,” she said. “I am young and I am going to get my chance. I have to wait for my turn and show what I’ve got when I am allowed out there.”
DeMont feels she has taken strides in her game during her time at Brock.
“Defensively, I have gotten a lot better and because we are such a defensive team, that is what I work on,” she said. “We have also done a lot of work on my shot and it has made me a lot more confident since the start of the year.”
On Friday, Rao said his team would have to have a next man up mentality to compensate for the loss of Sam Keltos, who is now playing pro hoops in Australia. The Badgers did just that Saturday, getting key contributions from a multitude of players. Ten players saw playing time against McMaster with nine playing five or more minutes and seven seeing double digits in floor time.
“A lot of people contributed today and that is the way it has got to be. My job is to try and find a lineup and that is hard at times,” Rao said. “That is why I am mixing and matching and it was trial and error.”
The Badgers were lucky to hang on to the win and a big reason why was Jenneke Pilling. The St. Catharines native went 4-4 from the free throw line in the final 3:13 of the game to provide some crucial scoring when nothing was falling for Brock.
“She knows she wants to get fouled so she handles the ball,” Rao said. “She is the best.”
Badgers 49 Marauders 47
BPSN Player of the Game: Brock’s Kaley DeMont with nine points in the third quarter.
For the Brock Badgers: DeMont 9; Jenneke Pilling 9; Victoria Lawrence 9; Ivana Twumasi 8; Mackenzie Robinson 8.
For the McMaster Marauders: Amy Stinson 13; Sarah Gates 11; Deanna Mataseje 11.
Game stats: Shooting percentage: Brock 21.3, Mac 25.4. Free throws: Brock 11-16, Mac 4-6. Rebounds: Brock 48, Mac 37. Turnovers: Brock 19, Mac 24.
Up next: Brock hosts Western in the OUA West final Wednesday.
BADGERS 82 GOLDEN HAWKS 58
The Brock men’s basketball team also advanced to the OUA West finals with an 82-58 victory over the visiting Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks Saturday afternoon.
Brock built quarter leads of 21-14, 43-26 and 58-38 to record the win.
Leading the way for the Badgers were Kascius Small-Martin and Isaiah Bujdoso with 17 points, Godsman Kwakwah with 11 and Tajinder Lall with 10.
Ali Sow had 22 to top Laurier.