Badminton and basketball on display at Tait this weekend

It’s all about the court sports at the Tait McKenzie Centre this weekend as badminton and basketball take centre stage.

Left: Lions doubles pair in action

The York University Lions badminton team will play host to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships on Saturday in the main gym. The Lions will face the four-time defending champion Western Mustangs in one semifinal beginning at 9:30am, and the Toronto Varsity Blues and Waterloo Warriors will square off in the other at the same time. The winners of the two semifinal matches will battle for the gold medal in the championship match at 1:30pm and the losers will fight for bronze also at 1:30pm.

The Lions are participating in the event for the first time since 2006, when the team finished in fourth place, and are looking to capture their first medal since winning bronze in 2003. The Lions advanced to the OUA championship after a thrilling 7-6 victory over the McMaster Marauders in the final game of the regular season. Overall, the team went 2-3 in the regular season, with its other victory coming over the Ryerson Rams by a 9-4 score.

The podium has looked identical in each of the last four years with the Mustangs winning gold, the Warriors silver and the Varsity Blues bronze each season. This year’s championship is shaping up to produce a similar result as the undefeated Mustangs are the top seeds, the 4-1 Warriors finished the regular season in second spot and the 3-2 Varsity Blues were third, but all four teams will be battling hard on the court and each one has a chance to capture the OUA title.

Also at Tait for home games are the men’s and women’s basketball teams for a pair of doubleheaders. They will play the visiting Lakehead Thunderwolves on Friday night and the McMaster Marauders on Saturday. The women’s games will begin at 6pm and the men will follow at 8pm on both nights.

Both Lions basketball teams recorded their first wins of the season last weekend. The women (1-4) topped the Guelph Gryphons 72-71 in a nail-biter that required overtime and a pair of last-second free throws by Kate Mowat to seal the victory, while the men (1-3) posted a convincing 78-62 win over the Brock Badgers.

This weekend’s opponents have played some impressive basketball of late, and all four teams come into the games with winning records. On the women’s side, the Marauders are a perfect 3-0 to start the season, one of three undefeated teams in the OUA, while the Thunderwolves are 2-1. The Lakehead men are also undefeated at 4-0 to hold down top spot in the OUA West and the Marauders are right behind them at 3-1. This is the only meeting between York and both Lakehead and McMaster this season.

Looking ahead to early next week, the Lions women’s hockey team will face the Waterloo Warriors on Tuesday evening at 7pm at Canlan Ice Sports in a make-up game for one that was postponed earlier in the season. The Lions are currently on a three-game winning streak and have a 5-3 record to sit fourth in the OUA. The Warriors have struggled early and have just one win in seven games (1-4-2).