Playing with only six players, the Lions lose a game that they dominated throughout the night
What happens when there are six enthusiastic Lions on the court? A very strong and intense first half.
Friday’s basketball game started off well; David Tyndale and Justin Bell were quick with retaliating all of the Voyageurs’ two pointers with two point shots of their own. During the first quarter, the two teams were trading baskets. Whenever York would pull a lead, the Voyageurs would come back and even the score again.
The Lions were playing with such an intensity though that it was easy to think that they would be taking the game—even with only six players dressed to play. Defence was strong and it was undeniable that the Lions were in control of their zone as well as Laurentian’s.
With the way the first two quarters played out, there was no way of knowing what could have come in the second half. The game was close and there really was no hint that the Lions would be laying down anytime soon.
“My team underestimated the Lions during the first half,” said Shawn Swords, Laurentian’s head coach. “They weren’t focused, and there was no intensity. I think it was in their head that there was only six players playing so we had a chat during half time.”
With a motivational Voyageurs half-time talk, the ball was in the Lions’ zone for the better part of the two last quarters. Laurentian had gained control of the ball, flew by players and controlled their half court sets. What had been a back-and-forth point battle soon became a staggering lead in favour of the Voyageurs.
Laurentian had taken a lesson from the York Lions and brought up the intensity for the second half of the game. During the fourth quarter, the Voyageur’s hit several three-pointers bringing the score to 108-72.
In the last 20 minutes of the game, all the intensity we saw in the first two quarters was gone. The Lions were worn out.
“I was frustrated,” said Tyndale, “but I was trying to stay positive. There really wasn’t else much I could do.” When asked what happened during the second half of that game, Tyndale said, “Fatigue kicked in and they learnt how to deal with our zone. Our zone was giving them trouble at first, but they started cutting in different spots and it hurt us good—we weren’t able to rebound.”
The two point shots had slowed down, the deficit was gradually increasing, but players like Tyndale were still trying to muster up some of their previous intensity. The only shots being scored by the Lions were foul shots, but even some of those foul shots missed out completely. Bell was out on bench with injury leaving York with five players and no more substitutions.
Tyndale admits that this was a major turning point for the Lions.
“We were stuck with five guys because Bell got hurt so we couldn’t really play aggressive defence,” he says. “We were passive and that hurt us.”
From the first tip off to the end of the first half. Lions’ fans were left believing that York would have been ending that game with a win. But the second half became a Laurentian game: the Voyageurs were quick and extreme.
Maybe it was that there were only six players for York that night, or maybe Laurentian came back in the second half with a force that the Lions just weren’t prepared for, or maybe it was that the other regulars were benched for undisclosed reasons. But the second half concluded with a lacklustre feeling and frustration for York fans and players.