One win, one loss, and one point. In the opening weekend of Marauders’ basketball, the men’s team split their matches against the York Lions and Laurentian Voyageurs. The one-point loss to Laurentian was the most memorable moment of the weekend, after first-year guard Rohan Boney’s alley-oop off the inbound fell just short of falling in. Picking up a win in the first game over York can breed confidence in a young team, but the one-point loss to Laurentian is not one the squad will soon forget.
“This loss will haunt us for the whole season,” Head Coach Amos Connolly commented on the severity of the loss.
With Laurentian’s top guard, Manny Pasquale, sidelined by a concussion, the odds were in Mac’s favour. But instead, the young team could not string together four strong quarters.
The game was decided with the inconsistent effort on the defensive end of the court, with two Laurentian players scoring 44 of their 65 points. McMaster also held the visitors to two 10-point quarters, yet gave up a 27-point second quarter. Voyageur Georges Serresse was lights-out, knocking down six threes.
“We didn’t play with passion on the defensive end for one quarter of the game,” commented Connolly.
After smothering defense on the inbounds pass, Mac failed on the final defensive possession of the game. A missed defensive assignment left a Voyageur wide-open for a baseline jumper to give Laurentian a one-point lead. The play summarizes the game for McMaster: hard work undone by the defense falling asleep.
Aaron Redpath and Adam Presutti did not play, but Connolly does not want to focus on that.
“It’s not about who is not here. It’s about who is here and did they make plays, or not?” said Connolly.
With the weekend in the rear-view mirror, the team is looking ahead to what could be the toughest weekend in their schedule. On Nov.17, the reigning CIS champion Carleton Ravens host McMaster followed by a game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
The Ravens dropped their first regular season game since February of 2010 over the weekend. Carleton’s loss does not show weakness, as they are still the No.1 team in the country and their star Phil Scrubb can put up points in a hurry. Connolly stressed the players need clear heads against the formidable opponent.
“I need the players to focus less on winning,” said Connolly, “They need to worry more on the process and the steps to win.”
The bench boss confirmed that Redpath and Presutti would return over the weekend, granted there are no new obstacles that appear in the Friday morning walk-through. But the play of the guards will not be the key to victory.
“We need our big guys to have a huge weekend,” Connolly said. “Rebounding is the key to winning both games. We need some sort of scoring from them.”
Coming out of the weekend with two victories is unlikely. It’ll take the best performance of the early season to defeat the Ravens, and a strong effort to take down the Gee-Gees.
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