Back to the basics for Mac

January 12, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Brandon Meawasige

Assistant Sports Editor


With a sizeable lead in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the Waterloo Warriors, the Marauders looked all the part of an 8-2 OUA basketball team who, fresh off a disappointing loss to Windsor, were poised to defend their home court.

An enthusiastic turn out at Burridge Gymnasium and solid performances from key players Cam Michaud and Joe Rocca, who both scored 20 points in the game, made it difficult to notice that despite the victory, the young Marauders are still learning some of the finer aspects of the game that will make them a CIS contender.

This critique is at least according to McMaster’s head coach Amos Connolly, who made sure his team remembered his message during a third quarter timeout.

After his team had taken a double-digit lead and looked to be poised to run away from the overmatched Warriors, the Marauders gave up an offensive rebound an easy basket at the end of the third frame – a play that did not please the second year coach.

“I said defend and box out five times at the top of my lungs,” recounts Connolly of the not-so-pleasant message he had for his team. “They haven’t had that from me in a timeout yet. I really wanted to shock them and see if they responded.”

That injection of intensity seemed to at the very least close out the game for the Maroon and Grey who eventually defeated the visiting Warriors by a score of 97-84.

Inconsistency in rebounding and on defense has been a concern for Connolly all season, but he shies from blaming the inexperience of his team.

“It’s not a coincidence that there are inconsistencies as a result of the youth on our team, but what it comes down to is as a coaching staff, are we going to accept that as an excuse? We don’t” says Connolly.

Although the team may not exactly be struggling in the OUA West standings, currently sitting third behind Laurier and Lakehead, the upcoming schedule is cause for some concern.

Success down the stretch is going to be indicative of the work put in by the coaching staff to iron out all of the wrinkles in the Marauders game. Scoring is not the issue for this team, so it is the fundamentals on defense and without possession.

“There needs to be some evaluation. The higher the level you get to, it becomes like chemistry equation, when really it comes down to fundamentals. To me it is just how do we teach it? And how do we make it stick?” Connolly asks somewhat philosophically.

Helping shoulder some of the load for his young team, Connolly questions his own involvement in helping make sure that this team continues to develop while making a push to contend.

“What I am questioning is what I need to do as a coach to get us playing back to the same level defensively as we were earlier in the season. All of a sudden we’re giving up 15 more points a game and it’s all about how were playing on defense.”

After a few days of practice and a game against Brock, this weekend will give the Marauders a chance to not only put their focus on fundamentals and turn up the intensity but also avenge their loss against the Lancers, who will visit Burridge on Saturday, Jan. 14.

In their Jan. 4 loss to Windsor, the Marauders had difficulties with their one on one defense, which Connolly pinpoints as the main area of need. “If we contain our guys one on one, it makes it easier on the rest of the defense and it will bring us closer to being a complete team. It’s all about being a complete fundamental basketball team,” says Connolly.

With twelve games remaining in the schedule, including two against Lakehead and Laurier, there is still a possibility for this season to go either way for this young Marauder squad. For Connolly, that success depends not only on the fundamentals of his team, but his own coaching attitude in teaching them. 


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