One (Close) Step Ahead

Slow Second Half Nearly Ends Stingers Post-Season

Photos Amanda Laprade

Concordia 66 Laval 65

In front of a boisterous packed house at Loyola, Concordia’s men’s basketball team recovered
from a late deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Laval Rouge Et Or 66-65 in the semi-final of the RSEQ playoffs.

The win was captured by senior point guard Kyle Desmarais’s clutch foul shooting in the final seconds, and as a result the Stingers earned their place in Saturday’s RSEQ basketball championship game against the UQAM Citadins.

“We didn’t play very well, we were frustrated and they outworked us,” said Stingers assistant coach David Bloom. “Overall we are glad we pulled it out, but we were definitely not happy with the overall effort.

The game was close throughout, but strong play from Laval in the second half had them ahead of the Stingers by as much as 12 points early in the fourth.

That’s when Evens Laroche brought life back into the Stingers with a critical three-pointer, followed by a field goal. This may have been the difference on a night when Concordia just didn’t have their usual spark—but it certainly ignited Stingers fans.

“The home crowd was great. The people really came out tonight. They were our sixth man and
that makes a huge difference,” said Bloom.

With the crowd on their feet and 37 seconds left on the clock, RSEQ second team all-star Kyle Desmarais brought the Stingers within two points. But he wasn’t done there. With 25 seconds on the clock he made another basket to tie it up.

Laval had the ball for a final shot, but with strong defensive pressure from the Stingers, the ball found its way to Desmarais, again. He sealed up the win with one made foul shot and two
seconds left on the clock.

“We practice a lot of different situations. We were not extremely nervous but I was a little nervous,” said Desmarais. Coach told me to make the first and miss the second on purpose so they don’t get a chance to call a time out and have a chance at a three. I took so many foul shots at practice and that’s why I was prepared. I just had to go out there and knock it down.”

In a game that the Stingers struggled for large stretches, Bloom was glad they got the win, but admitted this wasn’t his team’s best effort.

“We have to be better than we were tonight because UQAM is a very athletic team,” he said. “We have had good success with them for most of the year but we have to be ready to defend, rebound, and push the ball.”

The Stingers are now preparing for the game they planned and hoped for all season. The championship game takes place March 3 at the Loyola Gym. Tickets can be purchased by calling athletics at (514) 848-2424 Ext: 3898 The action starts at 7 p.m.