The Concordia Stingers pulled off an 89-85 victory over the Bishop’s Gaiters at home last Saturday evening.
Last season, the Stingers were the bottom dwellers of the division, coming in dead last with a disappointing 4-12 record. What a difference a year makes.
With the victory, the Stingers ended the season with a 12-4 record and clinched the RSEQ division.
The team was lead by guard Decee Krah, who drained four three-pointers on his way to a 20-point night.
“I’ve said before that Decee is one of the best shooters in the country,” said Stingers head coach John Dore. “Every time he shoots the ball it has a chance to go in. In fact, he’s a guy we beg to shoot the ball. He’s made some big shots for us all year long.”
Stingers guard Kyle Desmarais and forwards Evens Laroche and Zach Brisebois also made a significant impact on the game.
Laroche chipped in with 12 points and 10 boards and Brisebois added 17 and grabbed eight rebounds of his own. Desmarais contributed 16 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals.
The Stingers looked good in spurts in the game’s first half. They were aggressive on both ends of the floor in first quarter, pouncing on the visitors and taking an early 23-14 lead.
However, in the second quarter, the Stingers’ defensive intensity dropped significantly as they gave up 29 points, more than double the points they had allowed in the first. This allowed the Gaiters to cut the Stingers’ lead to 46-43 at halftime.
In the second half, the Stingers tried to regain control of the game and were successful early on but their intensity gave away again, as Bishop’s was able to out-rebound them and consistently knock down open threes.
Concordia failed to properly close out on Gaiters shooters, allowing them to shoot nine-for-18 from three-point land, good for 50 per cent. Considering the Gaiters usually only make 30.1 per cent of those very shots, that was somewhat significant.
Fortunately, the Stingers were able to weather the storm in the game’s final minutes and came away with a four-point victory.
Concordia heads into the provincial playoffs as the 10th ranked team in the nation.
Dore attributes the drastic turnaround to an overall gain in experience and improved personnel.
“We’re a year older, we’re more mature and we’re more experienced,” he said. “We got rid of some players that didn’t fit into with what we trying to do this year and we added players such as Zach Brisebois and Kyle Desmarais on top of the players we already had such as Decee Krah, Evens Laroche and James Clark.”
On another positive note, Desmarais was named to the RSEQ First All-Star Team as well as being voted league co-MVP. JÃ©rÃ´me Turcotte-Routhier from Laval shared the MVP honours with him.
The Stingers take on the UQAM Citadins in the playoff semifinals at home tonight at 7 p.m.