Red and gold basketball: opposite start to the season
The first half of the Laval University Rouge et Or’s season on the basketball courts was surprising for the women’s team, which was in second place before Wednesday’s game despite numerous injuries to key players. On the male side, however, the Rouge et Or is still looking for a first win, a situation that is starting to play in the minds of the players and their coach.
“We lost all of our players playing in center and strong winger positions and we only played one game with all of our players,” said women’s team coach Guillaume Giroux, citing including injuries to star wing Khaléann Caron-Goudreau and Djamila Amidou-Triquet and Léa Dominique centers, which were all due to return to play on Wednesday evening.
“We lost close games , but we were competitive in all of our games. We changed our style a bit, we ran a lot and it paid off. Fortunately, we have a lot of depth. There are girls who had very important roles to play earlier than they should and that allowed us to compete in all the games even if we lost a few close games, “he continued.
Giroux is particularly proud of his performance against the Windsor Lancers and the Queen’s Golden Gaels at a recent tournament at Bishop’s University. The Rouge et Or then defeated the teams that are currently ranked sixth and eighth in the country. “We are entering the second half of the season with great optimism. Our team pleasantly surprised very early this year and we still want to go to the Canadian championship, “he said of the national title which last year escaped his proteges, who bowed before the McMaster Marauders. “We remain realistic, because we know that the University of Saskatchewan has a team that is really wow this year, but we think we can be in the top 5 or 6 in the country.”
The emergence of the wing Carrie-Ann Auger, who shows an average of more than 10 points per match, and the defector Maude Archambault partly explains the success of the girls of the Rouge et Or. “Carrie-Ann, we suspected although it could explode after being in the shadow of Sarah-Jane Marois and Claudia Émond and it did. She really raised her level of play “, underlines Giroux
On the male side, the picture is much darker. The absence of center Marc-André Fortin, injured for the season, weighed very heavily on the team which had still not won before Wednesday’s game. “We always need greatness at the defensive level, one on one. The absence of Fortin forced us to do defensively a lot of things we wouldn’t have to do if we had someone like him, “said Nathan Grant, who is looking forward to enjoying his first win as coach of the Rouge and Gold.
“I don’t sleep anymore!” I watch videos, I analyze each match to see what we could do, “admitted Grant, who also did not give up the dream of participating in the end of season playoffs. “If we win a match this week, we fall back into the mix . I think it’ll take a 6-5 record to play in the playoffs. Guys like Sidney [Tremblay-Lacombe] and Steeve [Joseph] and Tamsyr [Dioumassi] are warriors and of course they believe in them. We sometimes lose by less than 10 points and we are there every game, ”said Grant.
Tremblay-Lacombe agrees. “We’re still close. It’s a bit hard to lose by a small spread and it’s flat to have a start to the season like that, “he said. “However, we know that we have a young team that we are building something. We know that when it will be four years that we will be there, it will appear, ”comments the first year winger.
REINFORCEMENTS FOR 2020-2021
When embarking on the second half of the season, the coaches of Laval University’s Rouge et Or basketball teams must also think about the 2020-2021 season, for which they have already begun their recruitment efforts. The women’s team announced Wednesday that they have come to an agreement with two of the seven best scorers on the college circuit, guard Frédérique Beaudry-Blais of Dynamiques de Sainte-Foy and wing Érika-Charlène Madjouka-Nzodoum of Nomades de Montmorency.
“Frédérique is an exceptional player and, unlike many others who are tempted by the adventure of the NCAA in the United States, it was known soon enough that she wanted to stay in the area,” said the coach. women’s team, Guillaume Giroux. “As for Érika, I never directed her because she arrived in Montmorency after my departure. However, I have always followed it and I have always appreciated it. She is very athletic and has developed her game a lot over the years, ”he continues.
Giroux added that to secure Madjouka-Nzodoum’s services, he had even agreed to provide transportation to his brothers, who live in the Montreal region and with whom the player wishes to keep in touch. “It is not very difficult for me since I am often in Montreal”, he underlines.
The coach is now working on another Sainte-Foy Dynamiques guard, Sabrine Khelifi. “She is interested in studying dentistry and is evaluating her options in the United States. We expect news from him soon, “said Giroux, who however had to give up on the Rosemarie Dumont wing of Dynamiques, who accepted a scholarship from Butler University in Indiana.
On the male side, the newcomers are Leonardo De Coninck from Dynamiques du Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf and Loïc Savard from Dynamiques de Sainte-Foy, who are 6 feet 5 inches and 6 feet 7 inches respectively. “They will automatically be our two biggest!” Says Nathan Grant, happy to fill this gap in his team. “Leonardo is a winger who is intelligent on the field and able to get rebounds while Loïc is a guy capable of making 18 points and nine rebounds per game. With Marc-André Fortin’s return to the game, that should bring about a whole change, ”he concludes.
THE LACTANTIA CLASSIC IS BACK FOR A 26TH YEAR
Nearly 900 players from 90 school basketball teams and the Rouge et Or men’s and women’s teams meet at PEPS at Université Laval, at Cégep de Sainte-Foy, at Séminaire Saint-François and at school secondary school for the 26 th Lactantia Classic Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Become the most important competition of its kind in the Quebec region, the Classic will take place this year under the coordination of the head coach of the men’s Rouge et Or team, Nathan Grant. “This is my first year in the organization and I realize how it is a gift from heaven for an event like ours to have such strong support over such a long period of time,” said Grant about the support of the subsidiary of the French food giant Lactalis, which has also doubled its sponsorship of the event this year.
“It is a source of pride for the Rouge et Or to get involved in order to promote our sport. This contact between the young participants and our student-athletes is worth gold! ”He added at a press conference on Wednesday. The two Rouge et Or teams will be in action starting at 6 p.m. Friday, the first day of the tournament, at the Desjardins amphitheater in PEPS. The coach of the Rouge et Or men’s team adds that these games are also a great showcase for the program since they give the next generation a first contact with Laval University. “I’m sure there is a player in this gymnasium who will be the next Chris Boucher, the next Charles Fortier or the next Guillaume Giroux,” said Grant,
For his part, Charles Fortier stressed that the Rouge et Or matches played during the Classic always attract a large number of spectators. “Over the past 20 years, it has become our busiest game, even before the opening game. With all the kids on the stands, it even looks like a playoff game! ”
The two Laval teams will face their counterparts at McGill University Friday evening after meeting them in Montreal on Wednesday.