Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Stingers back to Nationals

For the 11 time in his 20 years at the helm of the Stingers, Head Coach John Dore leads Concordia to the CIS Nationals and this season, if the seedings are an indicator, Dore's club is viewed as a bit of an underdog. Dore won his only CIS National championship in his first year as Head Coach in 1990 and returns to the Nationals for the 3rd time in 4 seasons after coming back from a double-digit deficit at home to defeat UQAM Citadins by 3 before a sell-out crowd at the Bee's Nest in Montreal last Thursday night. The athletic Stingers like the tempo to be fast as they typically look to pressure the ball all over the floor, create turnovers and run, run, run off misses. Orchestrating Concordia's offense is 4th year guard Damian Buckley (Montreal Vanier), the Quebec league POY who played in Canada's national program last summer. Buckley can be a shut down defender, loves to get to the rim and is tough, physical guard when he gets in the paint. His older brother Dwayne (Montreal Vanier), a fifth year wing, is a lanky forward who also can get to the rim and gets alot of his on the offensive glass and in transition. Dwayne has also been a strong defender during his career. Up front, 6'7" Jamal Gallier (Scarborough L.B. Pearson) takes up alot of space and uses his size and strength at both ends on the glass. He also has improved as a perimeter defender but can be foul prone. Third year 6'3" Sebastien Martin (Granby CEGEP) complements Dw. Buckley and Gallier up front and doesn't need to score or get his offensively to contribute. 4th year 5'10" guard Pierre Thompson (Brampton Notre Dame) bided his time and now gets solid minutes as an upper classmen and first-year starter in the back court. Concordia's depth allows Dore to play virtually all 40 minutes at the Stingers desired pace, especially now that a pair of sophomores from Southern Ontario, 5'10" Decee Krah (Hamilton Cathedral) and 6'6" James Clarke (Toronto Eastern Commerce) have solidified their roles off the bench. Krah is Concordia's leading 3 point shooter and Clarke has a bright future as a probable future all-QSSF candidate as a combination forward. The emergence of 6'4" freshman Evens Laroche (Montreal Dawson) as a definitive offensive force gives the Stingers another in the long line of athletic "4" men in the Dore era. Laroche gets on the offensive glass and can shoot the ball out to the 3 point line when open. 6'3" Hamz Ruhezumihigo, originally from Burundi, is another Dawson graduate who has missed the last few weeks of Quebec league regular season and playoff action while participating in the African Continental basketball championships. Ruhezumihigo returns for the Nationals and will add more depth to the Stingers wings. Concordia also has 6'3" Adam Carneol (Los Angeles, CA) off the bench as the tenth man. The Stingers got back to the Nationals despite not having 5'10" Levi Vann, one of the top 3 point shooters in the nation during the two years prior to this. Vann suffered a severe ankle injury early in the season and has not played for weeks. He is not expected to be ready for this weekend's action. Concordia lines up against Calgary Dinos in the first round Friday afternoon and expect the Stingers to try to take advantage of their athleticism against the Dinos backcourt which has performed admirably this season despite the unexpected loss over last summer of one of CW top guards in 6'3" Jeff Price. More on Calgary and this game hopefully later this week.

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