Photos: SAIT Trojans defend ACAC basketball title in championship nail-biter

Trojans claim fifth ACAC title in a row since 2016

The SAIT Trojans celebrate their seasonal victory in front of the ACAC broadcast on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won 91-88 over the Keyano Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The SAIT Trojans and the Keyano Huskies took the final game of the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference men’s basketball season right down to the wire.

On the line for the Trojans was a defence of their title as the reigning champions since 2016. For the Huskies, it was a chance to take gold after a season that put them four points ahead of the Trojans in the conference standings.

The Huskies took an early lead, giving them a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter. The Trojans pushed back, and after layups by Camille Kamba and Taliik Ross, were able to give themselves a lead by five at the end of the second.

Battling further, the Trojans were able to score a 10-point advantage over the Huskies by early in the third quarter. A hard press and some crowd raising three-pointers by the Fort McMurray team pushed the Huskies back into a fighting position, giving them the lead heading into the fourth.

Leading into the last five minutes of the matchup, a three-point jump shot by Trojan Amin Suleman returned the Trojans to a four-point advantage. Which would rise to five points in the final 26 seconds of the game. It was whittled down to two after a final layup by Husky Sean Micheal-Clancey with eight seconds to spare.

On the win, an exhausted men’s basketball head coach Marty Birky said that clinching a fifth ACAC title spoke to Calgary being a great basketball city.

“This is a fantastic program and a great city, it’s a great organization, and we get really good people and really good basketball players,” he said.

The win was also an emotional one for the Trojans, who lost John Smith Jr. in Oct. of 2021, after he was murdered outside a Calgary nightclub.

“I feel a lot man. I love my guys, I feel exhausted thrilled, I feel like it all. It’s been an emotional year. My team has been through a lot,” said Birky.

Trojan Charlie Conner wrote on the SAIT Trojans Instagram that Smith was there with the team all the way through the final game.

“I know he helped us win this game, and I know that for a fact because all day I have been hearing stuff that only John would say,” wrote Conner.

“Even in the fourth quarter, I was hearing it ‘Burner, you’re fine. I don’t care if you miss a thousand of them, keep pushing it. I got you.’”

A hard fought gold medal game

Keyano Husky Sean Michael-Clancey attemps to block SAIT Trojan Matur Maluach at SAIT on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won a nail-biter finish of 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
Nothing but net for SAIT Trojan Taliik Ross SAIT on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won a nail-biter finish of 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
SAIT Trojan James Owolabi hooks the ball back around into the hoop at SAIT on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won a nail-biter finish of 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
SAIT Trojan Marcus Masters weaves through a Keyano Huskies defence at SAIT on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won a nail-biter finish of 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
SAIT Trojan Charlie Conner scores the last Trojan point of the game, finishing the Trojans with a game winning 3 point lead at SAIT on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Trojans celebrate victory

SAIT Trojan Amin Suleman is lifted high as the team celebrates their seasonal victory on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won a nail- 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
SAIT Trojan media and communications coordinator Brody Mark gives a big hug to Gemie Muya, celebrating the team’s seasonal victory on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
SAIT Trojans Charlie Conner, centre, and Gemie Muya move in for an emotional hug to celebrate their seasonal victory on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
SAIT Trojan head coach Marty Birky picks up his daughter at SAIT after achieving a fifth first-place seasonal finish for the team on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY
The SAIT Trojans celebrate their seasonal victory in front of the ACAC broadcast on Saturday, March 12, 2022. The Trojans won 91-88 over the Huskies to clinch the gold medal in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference final. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

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