Concordia 78, Bishop’s Gaiters 68: Stingers Defend Home Court
Ranked Ninth in the Country, Stingers Men’s Basketball Close Out Gaiters in Annual Shoot for the Cure Game
It would surprise some to hear that a team with the Stingers’ record could be shaken by a team they defeated by double digits before the Christmas break, but that’s what happened in Thursday night’s Shoot for the Cure game, where both teams came together in support of breast cancer awareness.
The Stingers managed to fight through a hectic 40-minute battle despite the score being tied several times. Player of the game Olivier Simon executed his task as a virtuoso scoring 21 points and boxed out nine rebounds.
“We had to clean our defensive rebounds. If we could execute in passing the ball, we can prevent them from applying pressure and to really distribute the ball better,” said Simon.
He also emphasized the importance of communication, describing that it’s not where they want it to be as a team yet. Nonetheless, he still credited the focus they brought in as a team during the last 10 minutes that allowed them to win.
Veteran Adrian Armstrong notched 15 points and six rebounds in 35 minutes off the bench.
The Gaiters made the trip from Lennoxville to Montreal pledging to earn a win after a crucial 14-point loss against the Stingers before the break.
With one of their standout point guards, Joany Castor Thadal, back on the court from a previous injury that kept him away for some time, they were primed to pay the Stingers back.
Castor Thadal teamed up with fellow Gaiter Abdul Kamane to hustle for a combined 26 points and 10 rebounds. Teammate Nervens Demosthene defended the rim, rebounding the ball nine times for the away team.
When the Gaiters needed him, Connor Kelly came off the bench to hit a set of triple threes. Despite the outcome of the game, the Stingers had a difficult first half that left them down by two points.
Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic said that the principal reason why the Stingers struggled to make better use of the ball during the first half was that they didn’t do a good job handling the ball when they had to. He still noted that his team handled themselves well defensively.“We had a good start defensively. We did what we were supposed to do, but you can’t relax in basketball. The shot clock is 24 seconds, if you do a good a good job for 20 seconds but you don’t do good for the last four, you screwed up,” he concluded.
The tempo was far from slow early on from both sides. It was a one-point game often, the Stingers were caught off guard, and it was surprising perhaps that it was not until the last quarter of the game that the home side exerted any real and noticeable control.
They prevented the Gaiters from scoring any field goals three minutes before the end of the game and they maintained the largest lead of the game by ten points.
Popovic responded by bringing veterans Cedrick Coriolan and Garry Merisier in for some good possessions and defence.
“They executed. I gotta give them credit defensively on how great of a job they did. I’ll take those two guys with me into war if I need to because they’re tough. I love these guys because they compete. They’re not big but they’re tough,” said Popovic.
The Stingers have just come back from a mini training camp in Florida that allowed the team to practice and play three games against Florida National University, Olivet Nazarene University and Keiser University. They won one game out of three.
The coach, however, described the experience as a bonding trip for Stingers men’s basketball unit.
Remaining first in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec, the Stingers will be playing once again against the Gaiters Jan. 12 in Lennoxville.
A previous version of this article quoted head coach Rastko Popovic as saying “they executed. I gotta give them credit defensively on how great of a job they did. I’ll take those two guys with me in hell if I need to because they’re tough. I love these guys because they compete. They’re not big but they’re tough.” In fact, the quote should read “they executed. I gotta give them credit defensively on how great of a job they did. I’ll take those two guys with me into war if I need to because they’re tough. I love these guys because they compete. They’re not big but they’re tough.” The Link regrets this error.