This is the first in a series of profiles to highlight the achievements of Sheridan's varsity student athletes academically and competitively.
IT ISN'T OFTEN that one moment can perfectly encapsulate an entire five-year varsity career, especially one as decorated as that of three-time OCAA men's basketball champion Dylan Periana.
But this wasn't just a moment; it was One Shining Moment, when the 2016-17 men's basketball team claimed a 12th Ontario championship and secured the first undefeated OCAA season in Sheridan's storied hoops history - completing the year with a pristine 28-0 record against provincial competition in exhibition, conference, and post-season play.
After George Brown tied the game on a 3-pointer with 9.7 seconds remaining, Periana calmly took one quick look back at the Sheridan bench to see if a timeout would be called, before racing down the court and passing to teammate Brian Owusu for the potential game and championship-winning shot.
Although the shot didn't fall, Periana found his way to gather the offensive rebound while seeing that Owusu had been left open 15-feet from the basket and passed him the ball again.
This time Owusu wouldn't miss.
It made Periana a double three-time champion - having come to Sheridan after winning three ROPSSAA high school championships at St. Margurite d'Youville - but it was also the epitome of the lessons he had taken away from his time in Double Blue.
"I've learned what it takes to win," he says. "It takes sacrifice, commitment, determination, trust, and positive thinking."
In the span of a play that lasts less than 10 seconds you can run down that list and place check marks next to each of Periana's lessons.
The glory could have been his had he attempted the game-winning shot - certainly when given the second chance if not immediately. And really, who could have blamed the team captain with a career resume like his for taking the shot to try and secure a title? Sacrifice ✔️
There are many basketball teams at many different levels that would have called a timeout prior to that play. But Sheridan basketball tends to do things differently and the players have embraced the ownership that is bestowed upon them by the coaching staff. Commitment ✔️
When the ball comes off the rim, angling slightly towards the Sheridan bench, there are five George Brown players within 10-feet of it. All of them are taller than Periana - the closest of whom is nearly a foot taller - but it's still Periana that retrieves it. Determination ✔️
Giving a teammate not one, but two chances to be the author of the play that defines an historic season. Trust ✔️
With the season on the line, knowing that your teammate can get a good shot and will deliver your team a championship. Positive thinking ✔️
Although the shot belonged to Owusu, Periana's play on that weekend was anything but overlooked. After completing a second straight OCAA All-Star campaign in the regular season, Periana took his game to a different level in the 2017 playoffs and in that championship game in particular. He scored 28 points against George Brown - averaging 24 over the course of the three-day tournament - and was named championship MVP.
It was a fitting individual accomplishment in the twilight of a career defined by team success, but it wouldn't be his last.
After the completion of the season, Periana was named a co-male Athlete of the Year alongside teammate and fellow three-time Ontario champion Paul Williams.
With that accolade Periana stands alone. In a half century of Sheridan Athletics there had been four men and three women to be named Sheridan Athlete of the Year on more than one occasion, but there had never been someone to claim the award three times.
Even though he values the championships and the Athlete of the Year awards as the highlights of his playing career, the way his academic career ended was just as important. Periana completed his diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology this year and walked across the stage as a Sheridan graduate on June 7.
"Graduating completes the story," he says. "It's like the credits at the end of a movie where they tell you what the character went on to do and I graduated."
Periana had worked diligently to get and keep himself on track to graduate. In 2014, he took a year away from basketball to focus on his studies, thinking, at the time, that his competitive basketball days were over.
Of course, that didn't end up being the case, but it's probably not a coincidence that some of his best basketball moments came after his year away when he returned to the varsity court in 2015. With a renewed enthusiasm for his studies, he found a sweet spot that enabled him to enjoy the fruits of both academic and athletic achievement.
And now - as he embarks on his next journey to find a meaningful career - Periana says his time as a Sheridan Bruin is something he will always remember.
"I couldn't be happier," he says. "I played basketball for five years and I graduated; I got everything I could have asked for. My experience was golden."