The York University Lions basketball teams will welcome hundreds of school children to the Tait McKenzie Centre on Feb. 7 for the second annual School Day Games.
More than 700 youth will be in attendance as the Lions host the Ryerson University Rams in a pair of Ontario University Athletics (OUA) regular-season games, with the women tipping off at 11am and the men following at 1pm. Both games can also be seen live online on OUA.tv.
Schools, teams and community groups from around Toronto have been invited to these midday games to watch the Lions square off against their cross-town and OUA East Division rivals. There will be a special presentation by local community heroes and York University Lions alumni Jamal Campbell and Chris Kolankowski, both members of the 2017 Grey Cup winning Argos. On the court, there will be an intense rivalry that will play out as the Lions and Rams battle for an important two points in the division standings.
In the women’s game, the Lions (10-9) will be looking for their second win of the season against the perennially strong Rams (10-9) in a potential playoff preview and a battle that may decide who gets home court in the first round. Three weeks ago, the Lions travelled downtown to the Mattamy Athletic Centre and posted a huge 89-78 win, their first over the Rams since 2014.
The victory started a four-game winning streak for the Lions, and despite a loss to second-place Queen’s University last Friday in their most recent contest, the Lions have already clinched a playoff spot and doubled their wins total from last year with four games still remaining. The Rams, meanwhile, have lost five in a row dating back to that defeat against York University, most recently last Friday by a single point to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
In the men’s game, the Lions (2-17) will be looking to knock off the two-time defending champion Rams (13-6), who remain a strong team in the powerhouse OUA East. The young Lions, who underwent significant roster overhaul in the off-season under new head coach Nate Philippe and feature just three players from last year’s team, have played many of the top teams tough but have struggled to find the win column.
In the first meeting of the season between the two teams, a game the Rams won 83-70, the Lions had cut an 18-point deficit to just one with 6:24 remaining but were outscored down the stretch. That win for Ryerson was part of a four-game winning streak that was halted by No. 1 Carleton, but the Rams won their most recent contest convincingly, 96-76 over Toronto.
As part of their weekend schedule, the Lions will also face their other city rivals, the Varsity Blues, on Saturday night in their final regular-season home games. The women will tip off at 6pm and the men will follow at 8pm.