Nationals: Day #6

As I said in yesterday’s post, there are lots of clichés available for underdog teams to sling around heading into tough games. There are just as many clichés for players and coaches following a lopsided defeat but we’ll try to avoid using any of them. We approached last night’s game with an attitude of that we belonged, so today we’ll assess what worked, what didn’t and then move on like we would any other defeat.

The up side of last night’s game was how our team defended the Ontario side pick-and-roll which is the primary action they use to start their offense. We decided to force them to reject the screen by pushing them down the sideline. At first this worked as planned plus we were able to score some early buckets. With the game tied at 11 five minutes into the first quarter we were feeling pretty good. Unfortunately at that point Ontario drilled four consecutive 3 pointers and never looked back.

Hopefully our top players come away from that game with some confidence that they can complete with the elite players in the country. At the same time they also need to realize they need to make a bigger commitment to their physical conditioning as on too many occasions the Ontario players simply overpowered our guys. Improving their strength and stamina should also help improve our shooting percentage which was extremely poor against Ontario (14 for 60 for 23% last night) especially after the 1st quarter as NB players got tired.

Today (Saturday Aug 4) we take on Alberta in a consolation semi-final. A win today will put us into the 5th place game on Sunday. Not only would this be a great accomplishment considering how we started the week, but would be a huge advantage for next year’s Summer Game team.