Men’s and women’s basketball teams win season openers

Calvin LeBlanc dunks the ball during the first regular season game last Wednesday against Mount Allison University. (Shane Magee/AQ)

The 2011-12 seasons for the men’s and women’s basketball teams couldn’t have got off to a better start, with both of them beating the Mount Allison Mounties on Wednesday night.

With a capacity crowd at the gym, the Tommies seemed to have had an extra step in their game with the ear piercing chants of the home crowd backing them up throughout the nights’ events.

The evening started off with the women’s game. This was a rematch of last year’s semi-final, which STU ended up winning en route to the ACAA championship.

The Tommies came out a bit flat at the beginning of the game and it showed – especially in the second quarter with only eight points. But even with a rough half, they still took a 12 point lead into the locker room.

“Well, we knew going into the game that at least the first half was going to be a battle, so we had to refocus at half-time and address the little things that we weren’t doing well,” said co-captain Kelly DeBow.

The second half was a completely different story. The Tommies controlled and dominated at both ends of the court for the entire 20 minutes and eventually ended up winning the game by 58 points.

With contributions from everyone, STU shot an impressive 61 per cent in the second half, while only allowing the Mounties to take 14 points.

Renee Leblanc had the hot hand from behind the arc and led the team in scoring with 17. All of the returnees showed great poise in the second half with major contributions from each one.

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Game two of the evening saw the men battle the Mounties behind one of the loudest crowds the gym has seen in years.

“It was amazing to have a packed crowd like it was Wednesday; it’s always great to have support from the sidelines,” said third-year guard Corey Delong.

The first quarter got off to a fast paced start that had both teams making a lot of unforced turnovers. Mount A jumped off to an early lead, but saw it diminish by the end of the first half as the Tommies took a five-point lead into the break.

The second half was back and forth the entire way until there was about two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Tommies caused three straight turnovers that lead to fast break points from Richie Wilkins, Stefan Bielecki and Calvin LeBlanc.

With some foul shots to wrap it up at the end, the Tommies won the game by 11.

“Honestly it was an ugly win. I mean, it was good that we closed the game, but there was a lot that went wrong in that game, little things that could easily have been avoided, simple things like boxing out and rebounding as a team. We were also flat on our feet; those are the kinds of things we are looking to fix for the next game,” said second-year player Will Kowalsky.

With a minor injury to Nathan Mazurkiewicz, first-year guard Richie Wilkins had a chance to start for the Tommies and he didn’t disappoint. He scored a game high of 22 and played in key moments of the fourth quarter in what was his first regular season game as a Tommie.

[showtime]

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