The Stingers advanced to the QSSF championship game after they defeated Bishop’s 89-68 in a rematch of last year’s men’s basketball Quebec Conference semi-finals. They play the championship game Friday against the Laval Rouge et Or.
The Stingers, ranked third in the country, avenged last season’s loss on their own court, dominating the Gaiters at both ends and getting big contributions from veteran players. Third-year forward Pat Perrotte led all scorers with 24 points and fourth-year captain Philippe Langlois chipped in 13 points and 15 assists. The Gaiters had just 12 assists as a team.
Concordia got off to a slow start, falling behind 11-4 just four minutes in. However, they quickly turned things around with sharp perimeter shooting, as Benjamin Sormonte scored eight points, in as many minutes, to help spark a 24-5 run. That run helped Concordia to a 39-29 halftime advantage.
Although Bishop’s was still within striking distance to start the second half, Concordia wasted little time reestablishing their offensive dominance and blowing up the score.
Langlois kick-started the surge, taking less than 30 seconds to set-up one play and score on another. He kept up the unrelenting onslaught as all of his 13 points came in the half, along with eight assists.
After going cold for a stretch, Sormonte broke out of his funk and hit his fourth three-pointer of the game on his way to an 18-point performance. The entire team found their rhythm at the same time and went on another torrid run, this time outscoring the Gaiters 29-3 over an 11-minute span and building a 76-43 lead. “This game gave us a lot of confidence,” Sormonte said of his team’s dominating performance. “We’ve been working really hard to get to where we are today.”
Concordia continued to run the court with an ease that belied the game’s importance.
When they weren’t dismantling Bishop’s with their near-flawless transition play and stellar execution from the perimeter, Concordia was adding to their tally with their free-throws. The Stingers shot 82 per cent from the charity stripe, which included going 13-for-14 in the second half. Bishop’s, however, was a dismal 11-for-20 in the game.
Rookie Jamaal Gallier, Concordia’s tallest player at 6-foot-7, edged out Bishop’s Jeffery Szita, also 6-foot-7, in the battle of the big men. While the players were virtually identical in every statistic, Gallier played a far more significant role in helping the team keep their momentum going.
With the game already secure, Concordia pulled their starters for the last few minutes, which allowed the Gaiters to put a small, yet insignificant, dent in the lead by game’s end.
“Whether we win by one or 21 it doesn’t make a difference,” coach John Dore said after the game. “This team has a willingness to listen and grow. They listen as a team and grow as a team.”
Concordia will now prepare for a Laval team they went 3-1 against this year. The last time the teams met in playoff action was in 2003, in a best-of-three Quebec final. Laval won that series in three games.