Stills from the Ken Gould Basketball Tourney from this Saturday Oct 15th, 2022, between Holland University and St. Thomas University. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

The 11th Annual Ken Gould Basketball Pre-Season Tournament commenced with a ceremonial tip-off by Gould’s daughter, Stephanie, between the St. Thomas University Tommies and the Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics.

Born in 1941, Gould led the Tommies to the New Brunswick College Basketball Conference Championship from 1963 to 1965. He was inducted to the Tommies Sports Wall of Fame in 2011 – the same year the tournament launched.

Gould died in September 2020.

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Tommies women’s basketball head coach Fred Connors knew Gould and said he was always a fixture at the tournament.

“[He’d] frequent our hospitality rooms and have all kinds of stories of when he played. He was a wonderful man who we miss quite a lot,” said Connors.

Connors believes that Gould will be remembered and his history speaks for itself. He said that he was an incredible athlete and person who did a lot for STU.

“There’s a reason we named the tournament after him,” he said.

The game started with MSVU jumping out to an early 8-0 lead after eight minutes of play.

STU guard Vanessa Soffee and forward Ava Prosser sprung into action by taking the game into the Mystics end, where Soffee was fouled multiple times and swished her free-throws after hard work in the paint. She followed up with a layup two minutes later, cutting the lead down to two points for the Mystics halfway through the first quarter.

The last minute saw Prosser pulling up for a jumper and Soffee making another layup, tying the game at 16-16. MSVU was able to get a three point buzzer beater to retake the lead.

In the second quarter, forwards Charlie Connors and Olina Ross joined the game where Ross gave STU their first lead of the game, 20-19.

The second was full of back-and-forth play with both teams battling hard for possession and exchanging leads. Despite the strong effort, the Mystics would close out the second with a 13-point run.

Within a minute into the third quarter, forward Sam Stordy scored from a quick pass by guard Alyssa Jeffrey. Prosser soon followed by netting two shots, igniting the Tommies comeback.

While MSVU continued to score, the Tommies caught up to their pace. Soffee made another three pointer after rotating the ball around with guard Kylee Roi, while wing Emma Connors followed up with her own.

The Mystics then fouled with a minute left in the third quarter. Connors made both of her free-throws while Penney found the basket from mid-range, making it a one possession game.

Meanwhile, first year students and fans Alejanvra Baca and Timothy Bu were taking in their first Tommies basketball game, cheering from the stands.

“I liked it, it was a close game,” said Baca.

The final quarter broke out with Prosser rushing to make a layup, then later passing the ball to Soffee, who would drain another three pointer. Less than 50 seconds later, Soffee got another, giving STU a rare lead, 57-55, however, their effort came up short.

The Mystics came out on top in the opening game of the Ken Gould tournament with a final score of 69-64.

Soffee said she was happy with the Tommies effort during the game.

“We’re still learning how to play together, but we’re always putting a 100 per cent effort,” she said. “We have lots of room for growth.”

The tournament wrapped up on Oct. 16, with both Tommies basketball teams getting games in to prepare for their upcoming season. The men’s and women’s teams start on Oct. 29, when they’ll travel to Mount Allison University to face the Mounties.