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October 24, 2002 Basketball Stingers lose chance to reach Final Eight



Stinger Louis Vigneault (left) in action.


Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

by John Austen

John Dore knew his team was better than its record earlier in the season. The head coach of the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team saw his troops sputter out of the gate before the Christmas break, going winless in their first three game.

“This team will turn things around — you’ll see,” Dore said at the time. “We have too much talent here not to win the majority of our games. We won’t be in last place for long.”

Smart fella, that John Dore. The Stingers won eight of their last nine games to make the playoffs and finish just one game away from winning the provincial championship. The Laval Rouge et Or earned that honour, beating Concordia two games to one in the best-of-three final.

Laval will now represent Quebec at the Canadian University Sport Final Eight men’s national championship, which gets underway tomorrow (Friday) in Halifax.

The Stingers, who failed to make the playoffs last year, upset Laval 93-90 in the series opener, played last week in Ste. Foy. With the opportunity to put their opposition away in game two March 6, the Stingers were the victim of a second-half meltdown, as Laval roared back with a 56-55 win at Concordia Gym.

Game three wasn’t close as the undermanned Stingers were dumped 76-56 last Saturday in Ste. Foy. It was the third straight league title for the Rouge et Or.

Concordia found itself down 43-20 at halftime as Laval’s offence was clicking on all cylinders. By contrast, the Stingers offence went south, hitting less than 40 per cent of their shots from the floor.

They also failed to score a single three-point shot in the game. Meanwhile, Laval scored seven three-pointers in the first half alone.

The Stingers tried to make a game of it, pulling to within 17 points in the second half, but that was as close as they would get. Philippe Langlois and Gavin Musgrave led Concordia in scoring, with 14 and 10 points respectively.

It was a tough day for the Stingers’ Daniel Lacasse, who used to play for Laval before transferring to Concordia. The six-foot-10 centre managed only one point and four rebounds and was booed every time he touched the ball.

The Stingers left the floor disappointed, and were still shaking their heads over their missed opportunity to win the series in game two.