by Archives March 14, 2007

Stinger seniors Patrick Perrotte and Ben Sormonte have combined to play more than 80 games at Concordia Gym. But few compare to last Friday’s Quebec Final.

The top-ranked Stingers took the provincial title in dominant fashion, beating Laval 84-57 to advance to this weekend’s national championships in Halifax.

“I don’t know if you can describe this in words,” Sormonte said during the post-game celebration. “It’s unbelievable to come back and win another [Quebec championship]. We have to go all the way now. We want a ring.”

Playing the final home game of their university careers, the seniors made the most of it. Sormonte had a game-high 25 points, while Perrotte had 23.

“They have meant so much to this program,” coach John Dore said. “Pat for five years has been the heart and soul, he’s come a long way, and Ben is the glue that kept us together here. We really appreciate the seniors and what they’ve done for us. They played like seniors tonight.”

Perrotte played only 17 minutes after picking up two early fouls, but he used his minutes effectively. His 11 first half points came in just six minutes of floor time.

The Verdun-native is one of five Stingers who reached the national final two years ago. Sormonte, Dwayne Buckley, Jamal Gallier and Andre Johnny were also in uniform when Concordia lost to Carleton 68-48 in the 2005 championship game.

“For Ben and I, we know that this is the last time we can go to the nationals,” Perrotte said, “so it’s really emotional for us. The hardest part was having to wait until the last two minutes of the [Quebec Final] before really starting to celebrate.”

And celebrate the Stingers did. Those on the sidelines jumped in unison as the clock wound down, while point guard Pierre Thompson threw the ball skyward when the game officially ended. Add to that plenty of on-court dancing, a Gatorade dump for coach Dore, and the customary cutting down of the nets and the Stingers had themselves a party.

“Any championship at any level, you have to enjoy it,” Dore said. “We still have work to do, but there’s certainly no shame whatsoever in celebrating this win.”

In most cases when a college basketball team plays its final home game of the year, the coach will take his seniors out of the game one-by-one, ensuring that they each receive the recognition they so often deserve. Last Friday however, with four minutes remaining and the game no longer in doubt, Dore took Perrotte and Sormonte out of the game together.

As they stepped off the floor, the sell-out crowd rose to its feet. So did the entire Concordia bench. The seniors were greeted on the sidelines with hugs from their coaches, then from their teammates and finally from the trainers. Perrotte and Sormonte then shared a tight embrace with each other, sharing in a moment that only they themselves could fully appreciate.

“It’s sad,” Sormonte said, his eyes moistening at the thought of his Concordia days winding down. “But even if this was my last game [at home], it’s unbelievable to finish this way. I never could have dreamed to have it finish like this.”

“Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been telling myself that I’m going to be playing my last game [at Concordia], and now this was really the last time I’ll ever get to play in front of these crazy fans.”

The Stingers are the top seed, in the eight-team national championships. They face the St. Mary’s Huskies in the tournament opener Friday at noon EST. Should Concordia advance, they would play in the semi-finals on Saturday, with the national final going Sunday at 3:30p.m. The championship game will be televised live on TSN.

Other quarter-final match-ups include No. 2 British Columbia against No. 7 Ottawa, while No. 4 Brandon takes on No. 5 Windsor. The four-time defending champion Carleton Ravens come in as the third seed, and they face sixth-seeded Acadia.

Concordia’s only national title came in 1990.

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