Can Mounties thrive without Chisholm?
If you were fortunate enough to attend a Mounties basketball game this past season, you were in for a treat. Both the Mount Allison Men’s and Women’s varsity teams proved they were good enough to play with anyone in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA), but they played inconsistently, and granted inferior teams a chance to beat them. Next season, both teams will try to shed that inconsistent play and move into the upper echelons of their respective leagues.
For the men, the biggest challenge this upcoming year will be to find a replacement for graduating forward Ben Chisholm. Averaging nineteen points and ten rebounds per game, Chisholm was the most outstanding player for the ACAA this season, and the only player who averaged a double-double per game.The men’s team finished with a record of twelve wins and nine losses, good enough for fifth place in the ACAA standings. The Mounties relied on their tight defence, allowing only sixty-one points per game, and will have to be even better on their side of the court with the departure of their leading scorer. Look for guard Tyrell Laurent, a first year who joined the team halfway through the season, to play a key role on defence.
For the women, their highpoint of the season actually came in a close loss to the St. Thomas University Tommies, who were one of the top collegiate teams in the entire country. Like the men’s team, Mt. A finished fifth in the standings, but with a sub .500 record of nine wins and thirteen losses. Forward Mackenzie Gray was the team’s best player, averaging fourteen points and 9 rebounds a game, third best in the ACAA in each category.
The main loss for the Mounties women will be coach Al Hart, who will not return as coach after seventeen seasons. New coach Matt Gamblin seems to be just what this team needs as he brings a commitment to winning. “We return a strong core of players from last year’s team,” Gamblin said, “and we have championship aspirations.” He also demonstrates a strong commitment to hard work, saying, “For our goals to be met we need to establish a winning culture, which we will be working towards day-in and day-out.” These commitments to hard work and winning will help with what has been inconsistent play quality at times.
It is shaping up to be an interesting season for both teams this upcoming year. The men look to finally join the upper echelon of the ACAA, something they were close to achieving last year. The women hope to remove some of the inconsistent play that hindered their season last year, and a new coach with a winning attitude looks to see them to a stronger finish this season.