The most difficult aspect of moving past a close defeat is feeling as though you could have done more. That is the feeling on the Dinos men's basketball team as they return from the East--a land of consistent three-point shots and comebacks.
Our Dinos started out in St. Catharines, Ontario against the Brock University Badgers Fri., Oct. 21. There they dominated in free throws, floor shots and rebounds. So what tipped the 72-70 score in the Badgers' favour? Three-point shots. A lot of them. Brock scored nine in total, with seven in the first half alone.
A mere six points cast a shadow over the Dinos Sat., Oct. 22 as they came up short against the Marauders. Three-point shots killed them again as McMaster hit eight in the first half alone, putting them ahead 50-40.
"The Dinos stretched it to a nine point lead with seven minutes left," recounted Assistant Coach Wayne Thomas, "but untimely turnovers allowed McMaster back into the game."
The final score of 96-90 against the Ontario team set the Dinos at 2-3 for the pre-season. But despite the dismal spin on the last two weekends, the season's hopes are not crushed.
In fact, in terms of confidence and success as a team, the Dinos have pulled through the pre-season glistening. Ross Bekkering stirred up trouble yet again on Saturday with 13 rebounds and 12 points, proving himself a significant contributor.
"[The play of the weekend] was Ross Bekkering's put-back dunk against McMaster," Friday's top scorer Brian Finniss affirmed, going on to express his excitement for the upcoming season.
"It's definitely not where we expected to be. But at the same time, it doesn't mean anything. The season starts for real this week. So that's when everything starts counting."
Other double-figure scorers out east were Robbie Sihota and Cody Darrah, two rookies who have been solid for the team. Co-captain Whit Hornsberger felt his way back into the game after recuperating from a leg injury. One of the three veteran players recuperating from injuries, the point guard is sincerely pushing himself to step up as the season begins.
"That pressure on myself is more than anyone else," he commented. "I'm feeling like my leg's a bit better, so hopefully I'll be playing 90 per cent."
As much as he doesn't want to let the team down, Hornsberger also knows what they can do as a whole. Head Coach Dan Vanhooren has this same confidence in the team and their potential to push the limits this season.
"Being 2-3 is not a problem," he explained. "Our youth is laying well, and, as the team grows together and gets to know each other throughout the year, we will be a tough team."
The season shoots into action as the men face the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium Oct. 28-29. Games are at 8 p.m. both nights.
"If we can slow down their top scorers we have a good chance," warned Hornsberger, "but we have to have a good week of practices and commit to playing team defense. If we step it up on D, the offense will take care of itself and the show will go on."