By Crina Mustafa
In what was probably the most anticipated return of the year, Rams men’s basketball beat…Rams men’s basketball?
The team held an intersquad scrimmage Friday, Oct. 1 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) with Team Blue taking a tight game over Team Gold, 95-91. The contest had everything, from blocks to dunks and even a halftime three-point contest.
“We just always got to start with energy…even if we mess up, the energy makes up for our mistakes,” said Rams forward Kayode Fakomi, who was aggressive on the offensive boards to start the game. Fakomi used his size against Team Gold, who ended up fouling him quite a bit as the game moved on.
After a rough offensive start for both teams, Tyler Sagl was able to get the ball flowing for Team Blue. Sagl, who couldn’t play with the Rams last year due to the pandemic, felt good about Friday’s scrimmage.
“We’ve all been working really hard during the summer and during the offseason, we’re coming together as a group of guys,” said Sagl.
Team Gold quickly responded, with first-year Aaron Rhooms scoring the majority of their points in the first quarter. He also led all scorers in the game with 21 points. Rhooms is a newcomer fresh out of high school and he’s taking in every moment.
“The thing that I’m [most] excited for is just playing with these guys, the coach, the team, it’s a great environment. Ryerson’s been great so far,” said Rhooms.
The newcomers were certainly blending well with some of the veterans. The two teams were communicating on both ends of the floor. You could hear them yelling out actions and the occasional, “Let’s get some defensive stops!”
After a tight first quarter, Team Blue was able to make a run in the second quarter. Rams guard Marcus Upshaw and Fakomi both started to manipulate the defence and connected on an and-one for a three-point play.
Veteran guard Jaaden Lewis wasn’t having it though. He knocked down a couple of jumpers to cut Team Blue’s lead down to 45-41 when heading into the break.
As previously mentioned, there was a three-point contest at halftime. Team Gold may not have won the scrimmage, but Ankit Choudhary was on a mission. He was the clear winner of the lighthearted three-point contest and shot lights-out.
The second half was closer than the first, with the offence now starting to flow for each team. Buckets were exchanged back and forth, but Team Blue led 66-65 going into the fourth quarter.
The Sagl-Tom Dumont duo would quickly take over to close out the game for Team Blue. Sagl found his shooting rhythm, draining three-pointers from beyond the arc. Prior to transferring to Ryerson, Sagl shot 37.1 per cent from deep during the 2019-20 season at Marist College in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Sagl’s biggest takeaway from Friday’s action and the team’s practices so far has been communication, adding that the Rams are coming together well as a team.
The last ten seconds of action were stretched out with fouls, but Team Blue was able to come away with the win.
After the game, Rams assistant coach Jeremie Kayeye was able to reflect on the event. Although his squad Team Gold lost the game, he had nothing but good things to say.
“These guys are highly competitive, they love the game,” said Kayeye. “We’re kind of young, but that will carry us through the season.”