After cruising through the opening rounds at the ACAC Men’s Basketball Championship defeating the Ambrose Lions 113-80 and the Augustana Vikings 100-70, it was finally time for matchup everyone has been waiting for all season. The ACAC South #1 SAIT Trojans vs. the ACAC North #1 Concordia Thunder in the gold medal match. The contest was as action packed as everyone anticipated however it was the favorite Trojans who ended up claiming the title defeating the Thunder 95-84.
The Thunder opened up the scoring and applied amazing defensive pressure in the first led by the heart and hustle of #7 Keaton Souster who drew multiple charges in the first quarter and helped give his team a 2-point lead heading into the second. Offensive support came from Concordia's #9 Ryan McLaren with 17 points on the night and #15 Ronald Bacon Jr who led with 19 points.
The Trojans would strike back in the 2nd quarter with 8 points from guard #6 Ian Tevis including a massive dunk that brought the game back to two points. SAIT capitalized on the Thunder turnovers as the Trojans led at the half 44-42.
The second half would prove frustrating for the Concordia Thunder. SAIT head coach Marty Birky adjusted his defense and double teamed Concordia star #15 Ronald Bacon Jr. and lead heavily on their best 1-on-1 defender #1 Charlie Conner to put a padlock on Thunder leading scorer #9 Ryan McLaren. All the while the crowd was full with supporters from both sides cheering and jeering each other on.
The fourth quarter opened with #7 Keaton Souster planting his feet to take his fourth charge of the game, continuing his amazing defense. However, turnovers from Concordia at the 5:00 mark gave SAIT a ten-point lead 82-72. Concordia had a late push but the reign of terror from SAIT's #11 John Smith continued as he forced a timeout from the Thunder as he hit a big contested tree to increase the lead to 90-77.
#6 Ian Tevis would score 31 and the Trojans would hang on to win the game 95-84 and be crowned the 2019 ACAC Men's Basketball Champions.
Keaton Souster from Concordia and Ian Tevis of SAIT were your ACAC Championship players of the game.
Congratulations to the silver medalist Concordia Thunder on an incredible season that had an amazing finale.
Best of luck to the SAIT Trojans on representing the conference at the CCAA National Championships in Vancouver, BC from March 13-16, 2019.