The Leon’s Centre became the battleground for the infamous Engineering versus Commerce rivalry last Thursday, Sept. 22.
The Tricolour Classic team worked for months to organize the matchup with the goal of raising money for Dr. Donald Mabbott at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
“It was a lot of work. Pulling sponsors was actually one of the hardest things because this is our inaugural year,” executive member Carson Kunce, Eng ’25, said in a pre-game interview with The Journal. “Nothing was set up for us, and we had to lay all of the groundwork ourselves.”
Their hard work paid off; students packed the stadium decked out in purple Engineering jackets and Smith School of Business crewnecks. However, as the stadium buzzed with excitement and anticipation, one of the locker rooms had a different tone.
Commerce players stood crowded around a whiteboard, going over plays and discussing different strategies. The atmosphere felt like a classroom with everyone sitting silently as they listened to their coaches.
This starkly contrasted the Engineering locker room, where players had casual conversations as loud rap music played in the background. These different atmospheres not only reflected the stereotypes of each faculty, but also foreshadowed the outcome of the game.
Within seconds of the first quarter, Engineering scored a basket as they carried their locker room energy onto the court. They then transitioned to defense and immediately showcased a ruthless strategy which demonstrated they could keep up with Commerce’s quick passes.
Commerce eventually penetrated this defensive wall towards the end of the quarter to knot the score at 7-7 with four minutes left.
Despite Commerce’s efforts, however, Marcus Fletcher scored a three pointer for Engineering that caused the crowd to erupt. The quarter closed at 14-13, Engineering leading, but just barely, showing how evenly matched both teams were.
As the second quarter began, Commerce tied it up. Soon after, Engineering found its stride, as they blocked, stole, and danced around the Commerce players, extending their lead to 23-14.
Commerce students in the arena started to find themselves embarrassed and frustrated.
“Eng is so much scrappier, but Commerce is playing too politely,” Marcelo Chaman Mallqui, Com ’26, said to The Journal from his courtside seat.
When coaches called time-outs during the second quarter, fans were given the opportunity to show off their air guitar and Kiss-Cam skills. Both sides of the crowd were engaged and riled up, but the Engineering fans really got rowdy when their team started to play dirty.
The crowd lost its mind after a slam dunk from Engineering’s Simon Bailey.
Simon Bailey, Sci ’25, hangs from the hoop after slam-dunking. Photo: Curtis Heinzl
His huge smile beamed towards the stands, and he hung on to the basket to taunt the opposing team. This earned him a technical foul and he was pulled from the game, but it only seemed to give the Engineering team more confidence as they took a 34-25 lead into half-time.
Queen’s students were witty in their chirping towards the opposing side.
Engineers screamed “Daddy’s money” and “Recession,” while Commerce responded with a booming “We employ you.” Commerce’s rebuttals easily silenced the crowd.
Classic 90s rap songs blasted through the arena even while plays happened on the court, causing the energy in the audience to become electric as students danced and sang along.
During half-time, they held a Slam Dunk Contest and gave coaches a break to analyze their strategies in the locker rooms with players.
“We gotta make sure we rebound the ball,” Commerce Co-Coach Sam Kong said in an interview with The Journal.
“The only difference is the hustle and mentality,” other Co-Coach Gianni Itegeli said to The Journal when commenting on the two teams’ strategies. “We just gotta put it all on the line.”
Engineering nursed a 35-27 lead during the third quarter, but the movement of the game got more intense and began to pick up pace towards the end. The teams fed off each other’s energy; when Commerce scored a three pointer, Engineering immediately retaliated by scoring one, too.
However, double and triple teams could not stop the Engineering team from scoring—the third quarter closed with Engineering holding a 47-36 lead.
“Mr. Brightside” by The Killers rang in the fourth quarter, with both sides of students becoming louder and louder as players ran back onto the court.
Commerce started it off with two back-to-back layups, cutting the Engineering lead down to seven. Engineering didn’t take long to recover; they re-extended their lead with beautiful assists and free throws. With less than five minutes left, the score was 59-47.
Commerce once again retaliated. With less than two minutes left on the clock, Commerce had cut the lead to two, but Simon Bailey found himself on the free throw line and sank both shots, sealing the victory for Engineering.
As the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read 65-57, causing the crowd to explode into complete madness. One side jumped for joy, while the other side clapped out of courtesy.
Thursday night’s game showcased Queen’s legendary school spirit, but also how supportive students are when a fun-spirited rivalry benefits a good cause.
Flynn Larson, Sci ’24 and captain of Team Engineering, accepts the Tricolour Classic trophy. Photo: Curtis Heinzl
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