Playing against teams outside of their local league, the Mount Allison men’s basketball team recently celebrated two wins.
The team travelled to Ontario during the weekend of Oct. 19 to 21 in preparation for the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) league play. The team played two exhibition games against Algonquin College and St. Lawrence College, both Ontario College Athletic Association (OCAA) teams, as well as a controlled scrimmage against Queen’s University, a U Sports team.
The team ended their first game against Algonquin College Thunder with an 85-81 win. They trailed 39-38 at the half but were able to come back in the fourth.
The Mounties also won their second exhibition game against the St. Lawrence College Vikings 82-71, the result of another comeback from behind. These close and exciting games are just a preview of what their current season has to offer.
Jeshua Becker, a fourth-year environmental science student who plays on the team, said that although the team usually goes to a St. Thomas University tournament at this time of year, “We just wanted to change it up. We definitely played better competition [in this tournament].” Becker said that playing against comparable teams in the OCAA gave the Mounties a new opportunity.
Coach Steve Chapman is back for his third season with the men’s basketball team. Chapman coached Mt. A’s men’s basketball from 1992 to 2000 while teaching in Sackville. However, upon moving to Moncton, he stopped coaching at Mt.A. When he retired from teaching three years ago, he was asked to come back and coach.
Chapman said team is “quite young,” and that these exhibition games allowed the coaching staff to see how their team plays together early in the season.
Of the 14 members of the team, only five have played more than one year of university-level basketball. Eleven players are eligible to return next season.
James French, a second-year psychology student, said the team dynamic was different this year, with many new players asking second-year players for advice. Compared to previous teams, French said this team is close even this early in the season. “That trip really brought us together,” he said.
Chapman said he hopes that the team makes progress every week and improves from each game. He said he has already seen improvement from their first game of the season. “It’s too early to tell, but we have a tradition of winning and we play to win,” Chapman said. The Mounties have finished second place overall in the ACAA for the past two years.
The Mounties men’s basketball team will look for a win as they host STU in the home opener at 4 p.m. on Nov. 4.