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Stingers championship dreams fade in Ottawa

by Archives March 17, 2009

It was a disappointing end to the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team’s season – a 83-76 loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees in Sunday’s consolation final of the 2009 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Final 8.
However, the real disappointment for the Stingers came in their tournament opener, losing 76-67 to the No. 2 Calgary Dinos. The first round loss sent the Stingers to the consolation side of the bracket and prematurely ended dreams of a National championship.
“It wasn’t the game we wanted to play on Sunday,” said Stingers coach John Dore. “Guys want to win. Period. It doesn’t matter if it’s here or in the playground.”
Things started off well for the No. 7 Stingers in their third Nationals appearance in five years. They had a 23-10 lead in the first quarter, but failed to hold on. Calgary went on a run in the second and third quarters that turned a 13-point deficit into a 15-point lead.
“We were doing what we were supposed to do,” said Stingers guard Dwayne Buckley who was playing in his last game as a Stinger. “We went away from that and that’s what started their run. If we kept on going, we could have gotten the job done.”
Concordia knew it had to stop brothers Henry and Ross Bekkering, but fell short of that goal. Ross led both teams with 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Henry had 25 points for the Dinos.
In the fourth quarter the Stingers cut the gap to four, but then Calgary pushed back to the final deficit of nine.
“It was too much. They’re bigger than us and they’re very athletic. When a good team gets into a flow, it’s hard to stop them,” Buckley said.
The next day, Concordia faced the No. 6 Dalhousie Tigers. The Stingers had a lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
Decee Krah had 16 points off the bench and Evens Laroche grabbed 11 rebounds for Concordia.
For the Tigers, Dalhousie guard Simon Farine went off on the Stingers, scoring 30 points and grabbing six rebounds. Unfortunately, no other Dalhousie player had more than six points in the loss.
There was some competitiveness for the Stingers going into the game against the Atlantic champions. Concordia thought they should have been ranked above the Tigers, given the fact that they were ranked all year and Dalhousie was not ranked in the week leading into the seedings being announced.
“If anything we showed the seeding committee they were wrong and that we should have been ranked ahead of them,” Dore said jokingly.
In the consolation final, they played the No. 5 University of Ottawa and played a game of cat and mouse with the Gee-Gees. Concordia remained close with Ottawa for most of the game, but could never get all the way back.
The Stingers had as much as a six point lead in the first quarter and trailed by as many as 10 throughout the game.
“A consolation final is difficult for both teams, but as far as consolation finals go it was a pretty good game. Both teams played hard and that’s all you could ask for at this stage,” said Dore. “It really means nothing except for individual pride.”
“It’s for the younger guys to see what it takes to get back here,” said graduating Stingers centre Jamal Gallier. “You have to prove you could beat these teams so in the future you can have that mindset,” he said.
In the final game, Damian Buckley scored his 2,000th career point at Concordia, counting playoffs, exhibitions and national championship tournaments. Buckley scored his 1,000th career regular season point earlier in this year as well.
Buckley just finished his fourth year as a Stinger and is uncertain whether he will return for his fifth year of eligibility. His brother Dwayne and Gallier have just finished their fifth and final year.
“It’s tough because I’ve been with those guys for four years and it’s a decision I’ll have to make with the coaches,” he said. “We haven’t talked about it much during the season, but it’s definitely something we’ll think about and talk about over the summer.”

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