How is Stingers’ basketball doing so far?

Stingers’ forward Serena Tchida in a game vs. McGill, 2022. KYRAN THICKE/ Concordia Athletics

Both Stingers basketball teams are facing strong competitions this year

As the holiday break approaches, the first half of the season has proven challenging for Concordia’s women’s and men’s basketball teams.

The women’s basketball team currently ranks fourth out of the five teams in the RSEQ, just ahead of crosstown rivals McGill. Although the start of the season has been rough, the Stingers are confident that they are improving with every game.

“We’ve gotten better across the board, and at some point the results will show in the win column,” said women’s head coach Tenicha Gittens. “Right now, we’re picking up Ls, but we still see we’re getting better.”

Gittens said that the elements they practice still have a hard time translating over to the game. They’ve especially been working on their defence, but are still lacking the “toughness, grit, and discipline” needed to win games.

The women’s basketball team is working with a lot of rookies this year. The Stingers experienced a similar situation back in 2018-19. Although a young team had once been advantageous back then, it is now currently plaguing them.

“It’s taking a little bit more time for them to get it,” said Gittens. “With a young team, it takes some time to figure it out and to trust themselves, their teammates, and the coaches.”

But Gittens also sees improvement in the team’s morale. “It was down, but it’s better and steadily climbing.” she said.“Right now, the morale is good but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to equate to a W. For us, it’s a good thing that we’re feeling good.”

Although players like forward Serena Tchida and guard Areej Burgonio have been scoring some desperately needed points for their team, Gittens wants to make sure everybody is putting in the effort so they can be as unified as possible.

Men’s basketball is shining bright

Concordia Stingers’ guard Sami Jahan in a game this season. KYRAN THICKE/ Concordia Athletics

The men’s basketball team on the other hand, has done great so far starting the season with a five-game winning streak presenting a close-to-perfect track record leading on top in the RSEQ. However, gaining the edge over the four other teams hasn’t been easy.

“Every game in our league is very hard, so a lot of credit goes to our guys for finding ways to win games,” said men’s head coach Rastko Popovic.

The five victories recorded by the Stingers have been challenging. Their latest three wins finished in close calls including a 75-74 win against Bishop’s, 83-79 against Laval and 58-57 against McGill.

According to Popovic, the team’s ability to turn up the defence in the second half of the game has helped them secure wins against Bishop’s and Laval. To Popovic, defence is one of his team’s greatest strengths.

“You can’t guarantee that you’re going to make shots, but what you can guarantee is having a great defensive effort every time you play,” Popovic said. “We have a very detailed defensive system that we spend a lot of time working on. It’s hard for younger players to grasp, but some of our guys have done a great job.”

The men’s basketball team is also working with a young squad this year, only having three players who are in their third year or higher. However, the preseason games have helped develop and flourish team chemistry.

“I purposely scheduled these games because I want our players to play against the best competition,” Popovic said. “Even though results weren’t great, it’s not all about wins and losses in preseason, it’s all about getting better. It definitely prepared us for league play.”

Going into the break, Popovic knows that his players aren’t getting too cocky about their success.“I remind them every day that we haven’t won anything or accomplished anything,” he said. “While it’s nice to win some of these games, it’s not like we won a championship or a playoff game.”

Unfortunately, after the Stingers’ game against UQAM on Nov. 26, their five-game winning streak came to an end after an 83-59 loss. The Stingers will be back at home on Jan. 14.

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