1999 Men's Basketball
Inducted in 2014
"Know your role"; the perfect mantra for the 1999 Saint Mary’s Basketball Huskies. They were a big team, a deep team with skill that liked to play a physical style; a team of solid rebounders who could ‘bump the cutters’ with the best of them. When you played the Huskies, win or lose, you remembered the experience.
The Huskies, coached by Ross Quackenbush, who won a pair of titles as a player with Saint Mary’s in 1978 and 1979, finished the 1999 regular season with a 12 and 8 record good enough to win the East Division. In the playoffs, where the ultimate prize was a berth in the CIAU finals, the Huskies’ ‘win at all costs attitude’ worked to perfection. The Huskies got a 22 point effort from Jonah Taussig and 18 points from Kurt Henry in defeating Dalhousie 86-66. In the final against Acadia, another strong showing from tournament all-star and MVP Taussig and a 20 point game from 2nd team all-star Patrick Toulousse would send the Huskies to the nationals with an 81-62 victory, their first AUAA title since 1982.
In the Final 8 championship at the Halifax Metro Centre, the Huskies, ranked 7th going in, faced the Western Mustangs. Corey Janes with 23 points and 15 rebounds and the Huskies got the start they wanted - a 66-62 win. In the second game the Huskies drew McMaster, a team they lost to in an exhibition game earlier in the season. In this meeting the player who directed the offense from his point guard position, Jonah Taussig, poured in 20 points in a 77-68 Huskies win. The final, the Huskies’ third game in less than 48 hours, would feature the Halifax school against the best in the West, the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Like the Huskies the Golden Bears were big and physical and led by a dynamic point guard. The championship game was back and forth with Alberta going in front by 3 points with less than 2 minutes to play. Quackenbush would signal to Taussig to go for the three-pointer using a play they had only practised a couple of times. The Huskies set up the double screen and gave the ball to Lloyd Thomas. ‘The Shot’ from the 5th year Huskie, appearing in his final game, would tie the game at 69-69 and for the first time in CIAU basketball history force overtime. The Huskies outscored the Bears 4-0 in OT and won the CIAU title 73-69 - SMU’s 4th National basketball crown. The coach, Ross Quackenbush, who never started a game that he didn’t expect to win, became the first ever to play for and coach the same team to a National title.
The Huskies peaked at the right time, went on a big roll, but more importantly played for each other, liked each other, parked their ego’s and knew their roles. That was and still is an unbeatable sports combination.
Portrait Artist: Barb Dorey
Portrait Art Photographer: Shannon Doane