Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams improve to 5-1
Both Concordia Stingers basketball teams walked away with a win against the Bishop’s Gaiters Thursday night at the Concordia Gym. It was the first ff a back-to-back games between the schools, as they meet again on Sat. Jan. 12 in Sherbrooke.
The Stingers women’s basketball team won 66-53 with a good performance in their first game after the holiday break. The Stingers held a 28-point lead at halftime after having dominated the first half.
The momentum of the game change in the second half as Bishop’s dominated the last portion of the game. Despite giving up points in second half, the Stingers were able to hold on to a comfortable lead and found a way to win.
“I think on the first half we came out with a lot of energy,” said head coach Tenicha Gittens about her team’s performance. “Especially on the defensive end.”
What started off looking like a potential blow-out win turned into a tight game during the second half. The Stingers were slower and gave many turnovers to their opponents, opening the door for a big offensive push by the Gaiters.
“We did not stick to our game plan and we did not take care of the ball offensively so it caused turnovers,” Gittens said. “At the end of the day, you want the W and that’s what we want.”
Both guard Myriam Leclerc and forward Coralie Dumont led the Stingers offensively with 19 and 18 points respectively. Dumont scored 16 of her points in the first half alone.
“The first half was really good and that what we practiced in defence paid off,” Dumont said. “Yes we won, but it’s disappointing to win by that margin when we were up by a lot more. We will look back at the second half and will make sure we are ready for Saturday’s game.”
She continued to say that the Stingers dropped off in the second half because they “had no legs and [Bishop’s] played without fear.”
Good rebound control and ball possession combined with speed made a big difference during the first two quarters, and allowed the Stingers to win the game.
The men’s team also picked up a win following the women’s game, by a score of 78-68. It was a really tight game, as there were 15 lead changes during the game. The Stingers took a seven-point lead during the first quarter, but lifted their foot off the gas at the beginning of the second half. This allowed the Gaiters to came back in the game and take the lead for a little while.
Sami Ghandour’s buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter allowed Concordia to regain some momentum. They readjusted and showcased toughness for the end of the game.
“We played hard, we competed, we had a good start on defence,” said head coach Rastko Popovic, who was happy with his team’s performance. “We did not pay attention on the scouting report details and it made us look bad on defence. You can’t relax at basketball.”
Popovic thought his team bounced back really well at the end of the game. “In the fourth quarter we played really well defensively; we showed some toughness and character and we found a way to win,” the coach added. “It’s never easy to win by a lot. If you relax any team can come back.”
Popovic was happy by the defensive performances from Ricardo Monge and Cedrick Coriolan. “The key was that we made good plays; many of them made a big difference both offensively and defensively,” he said. “There is some plays you don’t see on the score sheet but we know they made a difference.”
During the holiday break, the Stingers played three exhibition games in Florida. Popovic contributed their second-half success to their trip. “The trip allowed us to be prepared for the second half, because it’s tough if you don’t play during the break,” he said.
Forward Olivier Simon, who finished the game with 21 points, said key three-point shots helped the team win. They went 9-for-25 from three-point shooting.
“We need to be more tough mentally and be focused, and that’s what we have been able to do during the last five minutes of the game,” Simon added.
Moving to their game against Bishop’s on Saturday, Popovic is looking forward to how his team responds. “We have to watch video, we have to take care of the basketball better. It’s like a challenge and I am looking forward to that game,” Popovic said.
Simon is also looking forward to it. “I am really confident for Saturday. We will look at video and have a good practice,” he said. “We will showcase that we deserve our ninth spot in Canada.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams improved to a 5-1 record this season.
Main photo by Gabe Chevalier.