Black Friday

Stingers suffer pair of heartbreaking defeats

Photo Dylan Maloney
Photo Pierre Chauvin

Close Call for Men’s Ball

Concordia 65
McGill 67

In the final seconds of Saturday’s men’s basketball game against the McGill Redmen, a truly bizarre foul call seemed to go Concordia’s way, but the normally-clutch guard Kyle Desmarais missed two key free throws with no time remaining and the Stingers dropped a 67-65 heartbreaker to their cross-town rivals.

It appeared that the Stingers were attempting to foul the Redmen with under ten seconds left, as ConU needed to stop the clock to prevent McGill from holding onto the ball until the buzzer. But in a strange twist, no foul was called, and the Stingers managed to steal the ball with mere seconds remaining—much to the surprise of Concordia coach John Dore.

“We did try to foul,” said Coach Dore. “I don’t know why it wasn’t called […] A player has to be in tune with what’s going on; well, so do the officials.”

Desmarais was fouled with what appeared to be one second left on the game clock, and after extended deliberation, the officials awarded him foul shots. The prolific guard finished with twenty points and six assists, but sunk only six of 13 from the foul line.

Desmarais wasn’t the only Stinger to struggle with this aspect of the game.

“We were 13 for 24 from the free throw line, which is a terrible percentage,” said Dore. “I mean, that’s the game in a nutshell right there.”

The home team was able to close the gap in the fourth quarter with an aggressive full-court press and fearless guard play. And even though Desmarais wasn’t able to provide the finish the home fans wanted, McGill’s coach knows better than to let him get in that position again.

“Like I told [Desmarais] after the game, ‘you’re gonna make more winners than you’re gonna miss,’” said McGill coach Dave DeAveiro.

McGill’s star guard Simon Bibeau didn’t let the Stingers get all the way back, as he hit a few clutch shots to deter the ConU’s run. Bibeau finished 23 points and five rebounds.

“For us to get a kid like Simon Bibeau in our program is a big step,” said coach DeAveiro. “When we need a bucket, he’s going to be our go-to guy and he wants that pressure, he accepts that pressure, and that’s what great players are made of.”

The loss was a disappointing one for the Stingers, but they remain at .500 as they prepare for the stretch run leading up to the Quebec playoffs. To take the next step, they’ll need to stop hurting themselves and let their talent and athleticism shine through.

“We’ve been repeating the same mistakes,” said coach Dore. “We have to learn from our mistakes and move forward.”

The Stingers may have to prepare for the stretch run without veteran leader Evens Laroche however, as he injured the same ankle that he had wounded just a week earlier. It was unclear how long he would be sidelined as of press time.

The Women Let ‘em Back in the Clutch

<.br> Concordia 60 McGill 72 (OT)

A furious fourth quarter rally drained the Stingers completely, as the gassed home team had nothing left to fend off the Quebec division-leading McGill Martlets in overtime of a 72-60 loss Saturday at Loyola Gym.

The game was marred by some questionable officiating, as Concordia guard Magalie Beaulieu was twice called for questionable charging in overtime after getting run over near the end of regulation—with no response from the officials.

“Referees make mistakes sometimes, but what you want from them is a certain level of consistency,” said Concordia coach Keith Pruden. “And that was totally absent.”

Despite the debatable calls, the Stingers made a very impressive recovery against the favoured Martlets, taking the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter off a huge three-point shot from guard Yasmin Jean-Phillipe.

The Stingers looked poised to win after Kaylah Barrett made two free-throws to stretch ConU’s lead to 60-58 with 30 seconds left. After a McGill turnover, the home team had a chance to throw in and force McGill to foul with just 18 seconds left. But after what appeared to be a shove from a McGill player that went uncalled, Beaulieu was forced into the backcourt off the inbounds pass, causing a turnover and a last chance for McGill to tie.

Guard Francoise Charest blew by Stingers forward Kendra Carrie for a layup with seconds remaining to send the game to an extra period. Charest finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 assists.

“She’s our starting point guard, a great leader, she’s from a championship program [at Ste. Foy], so just that pedigree allowed her to come through in the clutch,” said McGill coach Ryan Thorne. “Not much I did, she just has that in her.”
It was all-downhill from there for the Stingers, as they were outscored 12-0 in the overtime period.

“We were too tired,” said Pruden. “We had nothing left […] they were devastated [when McGill tied the game.]”

The Martlets knew coming in that they could not expect this Concordia team to lie down, as the home team has built a reputation for not quitting on games.

“Concordia is always tough,” said Thorne. “There’s no point where you can say, ‘hey, you know what? You’ve put them away;’ they never stop coming at you.”

Despite the praise, the Stingers’ coach wishes his team would show as much urgency at the beginning of games as they do at the end.

“Some people perform better under stress,” said Pruden. “I don’t think that’s a very good way to go through life—like waiting to study ‘til five minutes before your last final kind of thing. Some people love that, I just don’t think it’s healthy. The odds will catch up with you at some point.”

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 20, published January 25, 2011.