By Brad Halasz
In many team sports, playoffs are the real start to the season and the regular season is just a means of getting there.
We’ve all heard that tired cliche before. But the sentiment didn’t seem to be lost on the University of Calgary men’s basketball team when they squared up against the Trinity Western University Spartans at the Jack Simpson Gym on Jan. 24.
Although the Dinos were downed 83-79, the game represents the tenacity and drive of both teams as the “real” season approaches.
The matchup had all the makings of an epic playoff battle.
Perhaps it was the atmosphere of nostalgia as Henry Bekkering was honoured before the start of his final home game as a Dino.
Maybe it was the crowd, who, with banners and flags in hand, created a feverish pitch to what was a seemingly meaningless game between two teams who had already clinched a playoff spot.
When it was time to get down to playing basketball, the Spartans took an early 23-16 lead that the Dinos never could rebound from.
They came close though.
At the half, there was one point separating the two teams. Bekkering, the man of honour, stepped up– like he has his entire Dino stay– and banked 13 points in the second half for a total of 17.
A graceful exit to what has been an incredible run for Bekkering.
He was named player-of-the-game for his efforts.
At 15-3 with four games remaining, the team will need to exert the same intensity they did against the Spartans in the last leg of the season, even if there isn’t a large home crowd, the honouring of a key player or the need to win to make playoffs.