The 1989-90 edition was a unique blend of individuals coming from different areas of the province and difference basketball backgrounds.
Unlike the 1984-85 National Champions, which I’m told I discussed non-stop that year, this group of players experienced numerous losses early in the year. The real problem, in the early stages was the lack of a true point guard. Garnet Richards and Frank Parris were forced to play the point, and with all due respect to those two players, the team was not going to the Promised Land until they solved their problems at point guard. Santa was good to the 89-90 Bruins as not one, but two great guards joined the Bruins in the New Year. Humphrey Hill and the return of Peter Mahoney gave the Bruins all the parts necessary for a Championship run.
From January through the remainder of the season the Bruins were the team to be reckoned with in Ontario, but it was up to the team members to embrace each other and gel as a team.
The Bruins had 10 losses by Christmas, but with a regular season record of 13-3 the Bruins were warming up for the OCAA playoffs. After a convincing semifinal win over Mohawk, the Bruins faced George Brown in what many consider the greatest OCAA Final in history. In a see-saw battle the Bruins received great play from forwards Marc Wysocki, Rob Drasdo and Garnet Richards, who had an amazing 3 point play in the dying seconds to bring the Bruins to within one point. But it was the combination of Peter Mahoney dribbling the length of the floor and finding Humphrey Hill by way of a deflected pass, who hit a floater from the right baseline as the clock expired.
The OCAA title was crucial, as the CCAA had opted for a 6 team National Championship, meaning that the 5 Provincial Champions and the host from Quebec made up the tournament field. No wildcards. Because of the Bruins early struggles the were seeded 5th and had to beat the number 2 seed from BC Langara and number 4 seed Cape Breton College to reach the final. After narrowly disposing of these 2 teams, it was on to the final versus the number one team in Canada, SAIT from Alberta. In a game scheduled for 9PM that actually started at 1015, it was a long wait for these anxious Bruins on that Saturday in March. The Bruins stumbled out of the blocks and fell behind early. It wasn’t until some physical defense from Rudy Donick who shut down the SAIT 3 point shooter that the Bruins believed they could win. Being down 10 at the half and shooting poorly from the free throw line- all the players in the room decided that they would not be denied the Canadian Championship.
The 2nd half was not much different from the 1st half as the Bruins could not get closer than ten points. A power failure literally shot the lights out, halfway through the second half and a ten minute delay ensued. It was during this down time that it became clearly evident that the Bruins had the belief that they were not out of it. It was the players on the bench, who had played very little or not at all, that encouraged and assisted the guys on the floor. Down by 11 with less than 5 minutes to play, Humphrey Hill and Marc Wysocki went to work and the Bruins found themselves tied, with the ball, with less than 10 seconds to play. A half-court shot by Humphrey barely missed forcing overtime.
Again in the first overtime the Bruins fell behind and were down 3 with less than 10 seconds. It was then that Marc Wysocki rebounded a missed 3 pointer and scored and was fouled with 2 seconds to go. After a time-out, Wysocki, (who would be named tournament MVP) came back on the court and calmly drained the free throw to send the Bruins into a 2nd overtime.
Finally in the 2nd overtime the Bruins got the lead and held on to win by 4 points in what was probably the most dramatic game in CCAA final in history. A much deserved celebration followed for the Canadian Champion Bruins.