Assistant Sports Editor
As McMaster’s regular season approaches its conclusion, the team is running better than it ever has, blowing out teams it should blow out and hanging tough with teams it can hang tough with. While earlier in the season the team played to their potential for only brief periods at a time, the Marauders are now doing it for 40 minutes a night.
And there is no better time for the team to find themselves. With four games remaining in the season, all at the Burridge Gymnasium, Mac knows that it’s crunch time. The rest of the games have enormous consequences, as the Marauders sit only __ points back from the Lakehead Thunderwolves. But with all home games remaining, head coach Amos Connolly says his team is relishing the opportunity.
“The advantage of this scenario is that these games now have a playoff feel without being do-or-die games,” said Connolly.
The Maroon and Grey have solidified a home playoff spot, an impressive turnaround for a team that was once 2-5. But they aren’t finished, nor are they satisfied.
Mac’s men’s goal is a second place finish, meaning a bye to the OUA Final Four. Connolly and his staff do hold a fear of looking too far ahead. The most important games of the season will be the doubleheader against Lakehead to wrap up the season. Of course, that’s only if they can defeat the Waterloo Warriors first.
“People send me messages all the time saying ‘those Lakehead games could be huge’. Yeah, they could be. Or they could be meaningless,” explains the Mac bench boss.
Connolly has confidence in his team’s leadership, pointing to the poise of Scott Laws as a rock for the team and expects his teammates to follow his lead.
In the home stretch of the season, McMaster is coming the closest to fielding a full roster as they have all season. Adam Presutti has looked like a completely different player since logging serious minutes against Laurier on Jan. 30.
After settling into the offence, the second-year guard was running a tight ship for the Marauders and it didn’t take long for his team to adjust to his play-making skills. The pick-and-roll offense flourished, resulting in back-to-back wide-open dunks for Taylor Black.
Aaron Redpath faced a minor setback after suffering an ankle injury four minutes into the first quarter of the Laurier match. Redpath made a return against the Gryphons finishing with _ points and _ assists.
Unfortunately, the Marauders will likely be without forward Brett Sanders, who has been one of the most vocal voices on the bench and a steady hand when he steps on the court. After suffering an injury on the Jan. 19 against Waterloo, the third-year forward has not dressed and Connolly says the team will get him back by playoffs if they are lucky.