Simply put, last Tuesday’s trip to Le Salesien represents the low point of Spartans Basketball 2022-23. We went in overconfident (we’d beaten our opponents handily back in November – always a curse) and proceeded to lay a real stinker. Despite a spirited push in the last four minutes in a last-ditch effort to salvage the game, we’d dug ourselves too much of a hole, and ultimately lost 40-38. An important lesson, that: points in the first quarter are just as important as points in the fourth quarter. Another lesson? Never underestimate your opponent. One more bonus lesson? Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
The bus ride home was quiet. The next few days offered players and coaches time to reflect. I’ve always believed that you learn more from losing than you do from winning – this was a golden opportunity to prove that principle.
Five days later we found ourselves right back at it, this time at Triolet. It had been a long week for everyone. Heck, it had been a long month. We were still tired. Twelve games in 16 days will do that to you, especially when ALL of the games are AWAY games! And now, against the only undefeated team in the league, we’re supposed to dig deep, re-discover our mojo and bring back the intensity? On a Sunday, no less?
I am proud to report, that’s exactly what these players did. From the opening tip, they pushed through their fatigue and found another gear. Hustle plays? Our first basket of the game featured no less than four(!) offensive rebounds before we found the basket. Rebounds? We dominated Les Harfangs on the glass, on both ends. Defence? Our on-ball defenders were committed, the help was everywhere, we held Triolet to less than 6 points per quarter, and according to super-statistician Maddie we had 20(!) steals. Press-break? Our point guards worked beautifully together to neutralize the full-court pressure. All-around contributions? Out of 10 players, eight scored at least one point, nine had at least one rebound, and seven recorded at least one steal.
Most importantly, we fashioned this comprehensive 45-23 victory together. Every player was invested, working their tails off on the court, and cheering their lungs out on the bench.
Looking back on this eventful past week, I’m actually glad that our fourth quarter rally vs Salesien fell short. Given how we played, winning that game would have sent the wrong message, i.e. that we could dog it and get away with it. Winning that game would have blunted the lessons that we needed to learn.
The title at the top references one of my favourite clichés: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
If that’s true, I like our chances as we head into the home stretch of this season.
I like our chances a lot.
- Coaches VD & W
The season so far
Overall Record: 15 wins 9losses
RSEQ League Play: 5 wins 1 loss
Points for per game: 37.6 Points allowed per game: 28.4