Love Competition Hall was abuzz with basketball action over the weekend, as the Martlets and Redmen took to the court for the annual McGill Redbird Classic. Six teams from across Canada competed in the preseason tournament, eager to challenge the home teams and showcase their talents in front of a rowdy and enthusiastic crowd.
The Redmen entered the tournament with confidence on the backs of two decisive preseason victories against Queen’s and American International. They kicked off their weekend action against the Laurier Golden Hawks. Despite an evenly matched first quarter, the Redmen pulled away in the second half. They dominated the offensive glass and caught the Golden Hawks in futile defensive rotations with their quick ball movement. Starting point guard Adrian Hynes-Guery, and second-year forward Rodrigo Imperador de Paula had 14 points apiece. McGill ended the game on a 17-3 run, resulting in a commanding 80-59 victory.
The key to the win was McGill’s excellent defensive effort. Head Coach David DeAveiro commented on the significance of the team’s success on the defensive end.
“We have played extremely well defensively. [I’m] a little surprised since we haven’t had much time to practice with our group of guys,” DeAveiro said. “But I’m very pleased with how we are playing now … everyone is coming on and contributing.”
Following their decisive win over the Golden Hawks, the Redmen came into Saturday’s match looking to extend their winning streak and once again defend their home court against the Trinity Western Spartans. While both teams struggled to hit shots early on, it was McGill that broke its shooting funk first, led by freshman guard Christian McCue’s four three-pointers and Hynes-Guery’s 23 points. The Redmen continued to convert on hustle plays and received significant contributions from their deep roster. They came out on top 93-71 in another statement win. Coach DeAveiro was pleased with the depth of his team’s roster and second-year guard Vincent Dufort.
“Everyone has really played their part. Vincent Dufort does all the dirty work so he’s not getting a lot of credit, but Vince has been outstanding for us,” DeAveiro noted. “Christian McCue making shots [and] doing really well as a freshman, Rodrigo coming off the bench and giving us instant offense in the post… it’s been a team effort.”
McGill capped off their strong play by defeating the Ottawa Gee-Gee’s 85-64 and placing first in the Redbird Classic. Hynes-Guery was named tournament MVP and Coach DeAveiro earned his first victory over Ottawa, his old team.
The Redmen look to continue their success on the court at the Brock Invitational Tournament this coming weekend in St. Catherine’s, Ontario.
The McGill Martlets entered the Classic eager to impress and looking to capitalize on their own two-game winning streak. Unfortunately, the Martlets fell short, unable to convert their effort into victories.
McGill’s first game occurred on Friday evening against the St. Mary Huskies. The game was plagued by sloppy play on both sides early on, with the Martlets and Huskies combining for 16 turnovers in the first half. Despite the considerable effort and desire exhibited in the second half, the Martlets continued to struggle, resulting in a tough 76-57 loss. Point-guard Francoise Charest and freshman forward Mariam Sylla both scored a team-high 11 points in the loss.
Following the game, Martlet Head Coach Ryan Thorne reflected critically on his team’s performance.
“I think we’re young so we make some mistakes … I think we have to do a better job of preparing [our freshmen], but I also think we got to be more disciplined in what we do,” Thorne said.
Looking to recover from their loss the night before, the Martlets appeared energized on Saturday against the Regina Cougars. Once again, the team struggled to score, and failed to create any chemistry on the offensive end. Although there were bursts of defensive excellence from McGill in the second quarter, the Cougars ultimately forced turnovers and dominated the Martlets on the glass, leading to another disheartening 70-30 McGill loss.
That discouraging theme followed McGill into their last game on Sunday against the Ottawa Gee Gee’s. McGill fell 66-63.
Coach Thorne could only express disappointment in the Martlet’s play over the weekend.
“I don’t think we had discipline … I don’t have any highlights from this [tournament]. I’ve seen this team play really well, so I know that we’re a better team,” Thorne said. “I know that we have some injuries, but from this weekend [there are] zero highlights.”
The Martlets look to bounce back and end their preseason on a high note against Queen’s on Oct. 26.