In an interesting season that has seen its fair share of ups and downs, the men’s basketball team has not seen much consistency. However, there is one consistent player who has donned the maroon since pre-season tipped off. Third-year forward Matt Quiring is the only player on the Marauders to start every possible game this season, playing in one more game than guard Kareem Collins.
“Just trying to stay consistent and stay in the right mental space,” said Quiring on his ability to stay on the court. “The game is so mental. Trying to stay focused, and being diligent and disciplined on what I need to do with regards to the team — like being a leader with the younger guys and also supporting the other guys as well.”
In that time, Quiring has managed to average 10.7 points in 23.8 minutes per game. Quiring also puts a lot of work on the glass, leading the Marauders with 6.2 rebounds. Quiring kept that average in his most recent performance on Feb. 10, adding six rebounds to his team-leading 23 points against the second-place Western Mustangs.
“I’m kind of a leader on the team and also [play] a support role,” Quiring said. “Our main guys are [David McCulloch, Collins and Miles Seward] and I’m kind of that fourth guy to support them and just be that body on the floor that needs to hit screens, clean up the boards and do what I need to do and focus on those simple things so that they can do what they need to do as well.”
“Even when we are down, guys are still supporting each other. It’s like that really tight-knit family,”
Men’s Basketball Team
In this role on the team, Quiring has had a front-row seat to the turbulent season the Marauders have had. While there were some bright spots throughout the year, the team could never quite finish off a game. There were flashes, but in a game of runs they could never convert on the last few minutes of a match and often fell short.
So while players like Quiring have been able to stay consistent and show up for every game, the same could not be said about the team as a whole early on in the season. Looking back, it is easy to split the season into two very different sections.
All but one of the team’s eight wins this year have come since play resumed after the winter break. And frankly, the Marauders look like a different team than the squad that hit the hardwood in the fall.
This newfound ability to finish games has not happened by accident. It is a direct result of implementing coaching changes during the team’s practices and then executing them on the court. The hard work the team has put into training is certainly paying off, helping the team finish games properly.
“We have been focusing a lot on finishing games because in the first half we had five games that we lost within five points,” Quiring said. “So that’s been a huge factor. We have been focusing a lot on situational kind of things, like last three minutes of the game and we are up a couple of points, we are down a couple of points and we have to finish, have to execute.”
Despite the bumpy road thus far, the team has still managed to stay together. Some teams are never quite able to get things back on track after a tough start to the season, but that is not the case at Mac thanks to the makeup of this team. This is where the intangible part of the game that does not directly show up on the box score makes the difference, and is what Quiring says is his favourite part of the game.
“Just the emotion and the camaraderie that goes with the guys, and when guys are happy — and even when we are down, guys are still supporting each other,” Quiring explained. “It’s like that really tight-knit family. Regardless of what happens we are still there for each other and while we are celebrating it is so much fun. It’s such a great time.”
Now that the team has rallied and played well enough to make the playoffs, winning six of their last seven contests, the boys in maroon are poised to make a strong playoff run.
“[We will] keep having that playoff mentality and finishing games,” said Quiring. “We have a couple of games left. We have to finish them hard, play them hard and continue to play our best. Just getting more wins.”
As playoffs start, the regular season tends to be forgotten. While teams carry the lessons they have learned and the plays that have worked with them, the tough wins fade away along with the heartbreaking losses and agonizing defeats. While the playoffs follow a year of hard work, they are almost certainly an opportunity for a fresh start where anything is possible.