It has been a busy month for the McMaster Men’s Basketball team.
At the end of December, the team took part in a training camp at the University of Chicago. They got a chance to use the facilities and work on their skills in a new environment. They had the opportunity to walk the streets of the Windy city as tourists and went to a Raptors-Bulls game while they were there.
“It’s always good to go away with the team for bonding,” said Aaron Redpath, fifth-year guard.
Of course, the trip was more for business than anything else.
Basketball great Michael Jordan once said, “some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
This team is making it happen, and has started off 2016 with three dominating wins. Last week, the team went to Waterloo and three days later played at the neighbouring university, Laurier.
“I feel like we are now seeing the type of basketball we want to play which is a fast, up-tempo style,” said Redpath.
Wednesday night’s game against the Waterloo Warriors ended in a 93-66 win for the Marauders. Six McMaster players scored in the double figures, with guard Leon Alexander leading the way for the team with 17 points.
A similar narrative was witnessed days later as Saturday afternoon’s game favoured the Marauders with a 105-81 win.
Though there was solid performance from a number of players on the team, the player of the night was second-year forward Connor Gilmore. He scored a career high of 32 points and made eight out of 10 attempted three pointers. His performance led him to be the Pita Pit Athlete of the Week.
Being with the basketball program for five years, Redpath knows the importance of keeping a clear focus as that is what this team needs to compete with the best and contest for a national championship.
“When we play with high energy, we’re very good. But when we get lackadaisical and we get into a slump that’s when things can turn negative,” said Redpath.
Playing lazy can cost this team a shot at a banner and they know that. The effort they put offensively must be matched defensively for them to get the results they work so hard in the gym to see.
The biggest game of the year so far is the one that was played last night, when the Windsor Lancers took the three-hour drive on the 401 to visit the Burridge Gym.
As a memory refresher, the Lancers is the team that spoiled the Marauders’ playoff dreams last year when they took a 85-70 OUA quarter-final win over McMaster to advance.
For the players on the team, they don’t need to be reminded as this is a game they have been preparing for.
“Windsor is a huge game. It’s one of the ones I circle on the calendar,” said Redpath.
The Marauders want to avenge the loss they so badly felt last season and are ready for the competition.
“We all know what we are capable of and we all know our potential so as long as we stay focused and play with high energy and really lock down on the defensive end, scoring won’t be a problem,” said Redpath.
Scoring wasn’t a problem as the team got their revenge on the Lancers with a comfortable 106-74 defeat. The Marauders are on a seven-game winning streak.
With playoff seeding decided by the next few games of the regular season, defense will be indicative of how far this team goes.
Catch Marauder home action on Saturday, Jan. 23 as the Marauders face the Western Mustangs. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. at Burridge Gym.
Photo Credit: Jon White/Photo Editor