Spartans ‘walking wounded’
The St. Stephen Spartans boys basketball team hosted the 41st Annual Ganong Invitational tournament on the weekend.
The Spartans fell 78-62 in the semifinal with the Fundy Middle and High School Mariners. Mark Gallant led the Spartans with 25 points, while Gregory Cooke put up 19 points for the Mariners, and Shane Brown and Blair Hawkins added 18 points each.
In the Spartans first game of the tournament, the squad defeated the McAdam Warriors 71-56. Gallant scored 22 points for the Spartans, while James Thibault scored 21 points (sinking five three-point shots), and Jakob Connick added 15. Dawson Boon put up 44 points for the Warriors.
The win was one the Spartans needed, after the recent 85-30 loss to the Rothesay Redhawks in league play, explained coach Greg Robinson.
“The win was huge for their confidence; we needed a win, absolutely.”
The team has been dealt a hand of poor luck, plagued with injury, dressing just eight of a roster of 12, and down two starters– the team is “walking wounded” Robinson admitted.
Robinson said the team (which is comprised of four seniors and the remaining as Grade 11 students), has had “a lot of growing pains,” but added the players are realizing the importance of contributing.
“It was preached at practice and [before the tournament] that everybody has to step up – it’s a lot of minutes for everybody, people are going to play more minutes that they’re not accustomed to.”
The Spartans now sit in third place in the AA southern conference standings with one win and one loss (Rothesay High is first, while the Mariners are in second). Though the season is still young, Robinson said the goals for the team have changed.
“I told the kids, I don’t care what the score is at the end of the game; I just want effort for 40 minutes from start to finish.”
Thibault, a senior who was named player of the game in the game with McAdam spoke of taking on more responsibility with the injuries, and admitted the team chemistry has changed with the loss of senior Josh McFarlane, who broke his foot in a game earlier in the season.
“Josh is a big part of the team, and we had a great chemistry with him,” Thibault said, while adding mending the chemistry is a goal for the season.
“We want to get better, turn the ball over less, have good chemistry with everyone on the floor, and win some games.”
The Spartans are slated to host the Mariners Tuesday in league play at the St. Stephen High School. Game time is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.