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Senior Boys Basketball

Four for the Road

By Duane Liverpool
Bonjour mes amis de basket.I am a little behind on my write-ups so, in this issue of “Duane’s Diary”, I will combine our last four contests into one great big beautiful report. Here we go!

Wednesday Jan. 24, 2018
Stanstead 23 @ BCS 40
Really not much to say here. After having played this team twice already, we knew what to expect and were prepared to engage in another closely contested battle. However, before this game began we found ourselves (due to a variety of reasons) down three starters. Regardless of level and even sport, take three starters from any team’s lineup and victory often becomes quite elusive. This day was no different, we found it very difficult to put points up on the board and let things slip away defensively late as we were overcome by fatigue. In the end we lost by 17 points to a team that we had beaten earlier in the year by 10. It’s unfortunate but these things happen in sport and what becomes really important is how you bounce back. I look forward to meeting this team again with our full squad on the floor.

Player of the game was Alexis Bernier. Alexis pretty much faced a double-team the entire game and still managed to put up 11 of our team’s 23 points. It was a tough day offensively for everyone, but Alexis managed to forge through and keep us in this one.

Monday Jan. 29, 2018

Stanstead 48 @ La Poudrière (Drummondville) 31
The good news to start this one off is that we had two of the three starters missing from last game ready to go for this one. However, the unfortunate news is that for disciplinary reasons three players were forced to sit out the first quarter and this placed us in a 10-7 hole at the end of the first. We played the second quarter even and remained down by 3 at the half. Fortunately, we came out of the second half gates flying and outscored our opponents 16-3 when all was said and done. We continued our solid play through the fourth quarter and left Drummondville with a solid 17-point victory.

The player of the game was Andrei Bucatel. Andrei led the way in both scoring and rebounding. He pulled down 8 rebounds and muscled his way to a team-high 11 points. The Muldovian Menace was a monster in the paint today. Honorable mention goes to Gage Larkin. Gage worked extremely hard within the confines of the offense. He was calm and controlled from the high post; constantly making good decisions that led to scores for him or great opportunities for his teammates.

Tuesday Jan. 30, 2018

Stanstead 48 @ Tandem Boise (Victoriaville) 35
To keep it short and sweet, this was a game we were supposed to win. While it tightened up midway through the fourth quarter, we managed to keep our composure and stretch our lead late. As the final buzzer sounded we exited the floor with a 13-point victory. Even though we started out like a house on fire (sorry for the oft-used cliché), our offense struggled a little in the second half and allowed our opponents to crawl their way back into the game. With a slim 1-point lead at the half, our attention turned to the defensive end and the need for an increased intensity. After yielding a whopping 14 points in the second quarter alone, we dug in and gave up only 17 the entire second half! I think the boys are starting to believe in the power of DEFENSE! When all was said and done, we had chalked up our second consecutive victory. All that was left now was a date with the best team in the league. This would be our final game of the regular season and determine our playoff positioning. Win and we would be in, lose and we would most likely be out!

Player of the game was Lucas Etienne. Lucas played his usual, long-armed, disruptive defense and frustrated our opponents on several occasions with either steals or batted balls. However, it was his offense, and particularly his shooting, that merit this POG award on this day. He scored 14 points on 7/14 shooting from the field. Considering many of his shots were taken from outside the paint, these numbers are quite impressive. Honorable mention goes to Gage Larkin who continues to prove that he deserves to be in the starting lineup. He scored 11 points on 50% shooting from the field and threw in 5 rebounds and two steals.

Sunday Feb. 4, 2018
Stanstead 38 @ Triolet (Sherbrooke-Sport Etude) 36 (OT)
It feels like after every game I say, “that was our best game of the season boys!” Well, I guess that is a good thing as it means we are improving, we are learning, we are getting better. As a coach it has always been my motto that we end up a better team at the end of the season than we were at the start. Sounds simple, but I have seen many a team do this in reverse! Our performance at Triolet on Super Bowl Sunday afternoon was easily our best performance of the year. We were focussed and aggressive and did not back down or shy away from the league’s top team. We believed we could play with this team and that is exactly what we did. As the score would indicate, this was a defensive struggle; the perfect type of game for us! We pride ourselves on our ability to lock down on defense and force our opposition into errors that turn into points for us at the other end.

We came out of the gates fairly strong but still found ourselves down by 5 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was a complete reversal of roles as we dominated and outscored our opposition 12-5 to take a slim 2-point lead into the half. The third quarter saw the momentum swing again as old MO (momentum) left us, joined the Harfangs and pushed them to a 3-point third quarter lead. So, we now found ourselves down by three, on the road, and with our playoff lives on the line. We battled back and tied the game at 32 and actually had a chance to win on the final shot of the game but came up just a few inches short, so off to overtime we go. I am a firm believer that in a short (in this case three minute) overtime, the first team to score generally wins the game. Well, we scored first, and second, and third to go up by 6 points. Triolet hit a free throw and a late three-pointer to draw within two, but we managed to hang on and secure ourselves a spot in the post-season festivities!

There was no player of the game as this was truly a team effort! I am so pleased and proud of our performance today, I am at a loss for words to try and explain (and believe you me, this is a rarity!). However, I would like to mention that the support from the bench players was phenomenal and I am, once again, extremely impressed by the way they handled their limited playing time. It takes a lot of parts to put together a successful team and it appears as though we just might be teetering on the verge of finding the right mix for us! Perfect timing.

– Coach Liverpool

ETIAC Record: 1-1
RESQ Record: 8-4
Tournament Record: 3-5
Overall: 12-10