Lady bees earned playoff berth with back-to-back victories
It was a memorable weekend for the Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team, as they beat McGill twice to steal the final playoff berth from the Martlets.
Concordia entered Friday’s game with a disappointing 3-11 record, while McGill was two games ahead at 5-9. But despite these grim statistics, the Stingers beat McGill 70-43 on Friday, and won 68-54 on Saturday.
In order to guarantee a playoff spot, Concordia had to win both games and they started off on the right foot. On Friday, Feb. 20, they dominated their opponent during the whole game, with the end result being a commanding 70-43 victory on the road.
The 27-point beating set the tone for the next day’s game, and gave the Stingers a much needed confidence boost. It was a must win for both squads, and it was back and forth for much of the game. The Stingers eventually won 68-54, and proved they can perform under pressure.
Kristin Portwine tallied the first basket of the game on a layup leading the first half into a 32-28 Stingers lead after a hard fought 24 minutes. Portwine scored again right in the first offensive possession of the second half, which helped calm the Stingers down. The third quarter proved to be crucial as they outscored McGill 22-14. The Martlets exposed their defensive weaknesses and Concordia took advantage. The Stingers played good defence as they held the Martlets down for the opening five minutes of the second, while going on a 12-2 run.
The Stingers entered the final period of play with a 12-point lead and never looked back. Melissa Anne Campbell, who played her final league game for Concordia, scored seven points in a row including a three-pointer with two minutes left, which ended any hope McGill had of clinching a playoff spot. As the clock ticked down, the Stingers celebrated a mission accomplished.
Rookie Anne-Marie Prophete led the team in scoring with 13, while Krystle Douglas scored 12 and fellow senior Campbell added 11. The last two were both honoured before the game along with Felon and Ebony Harris as a thank you for their talents, since they played their last league game in a Stinger uniform.
Men’s team wins back-to-back games against rival
A week after clinching the regular season title and managing to keep home court advantage throughout the playoffs, the Stingers men’s basketball team played back-to-back games against local rivals McGill.
Concordia came into the weekend having won four in a row, as well as eight out of their last 10 games. They continued their excellent play and beat McGill on both occasions with a 94-89 win on Friday, and a 83-73 follow-up win next day.
Friday’s game at McGill was a thriller. The Stingers proved they were ready to succeed in the playoffs. The game was filled with lead changes topped off with an exciting ending.
With McGill ahead, Dwayne Buckley took an inbound pass and hit a three-pointer with less than a second left, sending the game into overtime. In the extra session the Stingers dominated and won the game 94-89.
Damian Buckley, who scored 1,000 points for Concordia two weeks prior, continued his stellar play by scoring 32 on 10-17 shooting. He was also named MVP of the league earlier in the week, a prize he has definitely earned.
Both teams met again on the following day at Loyola, and the Stingers did not disappoint. They were very much in control; this time they wouldn’t need overtime to reach another victory against their rivals, beating McGill 93-83. Rookie Evens Laroche scored a team-high 19 points, but what most stood out was how the team provided a very balanced offence, with seven different players scoring in double figures.
John Dore, recently named coach of the year, emptied his bench and gave all 12 players a chance to play, while also resting some of his star players. Jamal Gallier, the league’s outstanding player, contributed 10 points as the Stingers prepared for the playoffs.
Concordia finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, much improved from last year’s disappointing 9-7, especially when considering the success the men’s team has had in the last few years, finishing 15-1 two years ago and going to the finals. Concordia is poised for another successful playoff run to prove they are one of the country’s elite teams.