By: Nathan Cooper
This week’s Flashback Friday features the 1995-96 men’s basketball team.
Back Row (L-R): Tim McGarrigle (Head Coach), Sarah Gordon (Trainer), Gerry Faber (Manager), Tremayne Howe, Fred Perry, Blair Pollopson, Christian Currie, Dallas Shannon, Shawn Plancke, Tim Elliot, Reggie Oblitey, Jeff Mayo, Stanleigh Mitchell, Jim Charters (Assistant Coach)
Front Row (L-R): Clive Henry, Kevin Bellamy, Dwayne Hopkinson, Brian Parker, Tim Maloney, Kannin Osei-Tutu
Going into the 1995-96 season, the Tigers were considered to be one of the favourites to take the Atlantic Championship. Led by All-Conference players Brian Parker and Reggie Oblitey, the Tigers were heading into the season with great confidence.
The Tigers were set to travel to the country’s capital to play in the University of Ottawa Gee Gees Preseason tournament. The other three teams playing in the tournament were Waterloo Warriors, University of Toronto Varsity Blues and of course the hosts, Ottawa Gee Gees. This was the first exhibition play of the season.
The Tigers edged a very competitive Varsity Blues team in the first game. The Warriors had beaten the Gee Gee’s in their first game, therefore a Warriors-Tigers final was set. The Tigers had a much easier time against the Warriors, winning 81-62 and taking gold home to Halifax. Shawn Plancke was named tournament MVP and Reggie Oblitey was awarded tournament All-Star.
One more preseason tournament was scheduled before the regular season began. The Tigers were off to Fredericton to compete in the UNB Tournament. The Tigers yet again matched up against the Varsity Blues in their first game.
Playing with confidence and a growing chemistry, the Tigers were comfortably victorious in their first two games against the Varsity Blues and the X-Men. This landed them a spot in the finals against the tournament hosts. In a hard-fought game, the Tigers yet again came out on top, defeating the Reds 80-77. Brian Parker was named tournament MVP and Shawne Plancke was awarded tournament All-Star.
It was hard to picture a better start to the season for coach McGarrigle’s team. The regular season was just around the corner, and the Tigers had already earned two exhibition gold medals. The Tigers were finally going to play on home court, as their first two games were at home against the X-Men and the Huskies.
The Tigers picked up right where they left off in New Brunswick. Defeating the X-Men and the Huskies 87-76 and 70-66 respectively, the Tigers were 2-0 and aspirations of a AUAA title were only growing.
Dalhousie went on to win their next five games by no less than six points. The Tigers were not defeated until they played the Reds for a third time and it took double overtime for it to happen.
The Tigers were not without setbacks during the season. During regular season play, both Shawne Plancke and Kevin Bellamy injured their ACL’s and were finished for the season. Despite the injuries, the Tigers went on to finish the regular season with a 17-3 record, losing only to the Reds, the Capers and the Panthers. The Tigers were the first team to ever sweep the province of Nova Scotia.
In the AUAA Championship semi-finals, the Tigers were victorious once again against the X-Men. The stage was set for a Tigers vs. Panthers AUAA Championship. The Panthers were the last team to defeat the Tigers in regular season play, at which the Tigers could not contain the Panthers offense, giving up 102 points.
There were many basketball observers at the championship game that said it was the most exciting championship game they had witnessed. The Tigers and the Panthers treated the crowd to a double overtime thriller, ending 98-95 in favour of the Tigers.
For the first time in history, the Dalhousie Tigers Men’s Basketball team captured an AUAA Championship. This led them to the CIAU Championships, at which they were defeated by the Varsity Blues and the Axemen.
The 1995-96 men’s basketball team winning the AUAA Championship was a pivotal point for the program, as the Tigers have now earned another five championships since this team.
Reggie Oblitely and guards Jeff mayo and Clive Henry were the graduating athletes of the team. Oblitely and Parker were both named AUAA 1st team All-Stars.