– Kyle Morrison, staff

Winning isn’t always everything when you’re a young team in its first year of competition.

The Laurier Brantford men’s extramural basketball team learned that lesson Friday when they lost all three of their games in a tournament at Sheridan College.

But looking past the results, third-year team captain Matthew Wright saw some real positives throughout the games played, “We definitely knew going in that these were probably the strongest teams in our area and to be tied or even be beating one of these schools is incredible,” he said. “I’m so proud of these guys.”

The team had their moments, and were indeed beating some tough teams going into the second half of play. They had a good opportunity to win and push on to the playoffs, but they couldn’t quite keep it together. One of these losses was against the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus by a score of 43-35 that was especially difficult, one that Wright called “heartbreaking”. “Going into the second half we were tied with them and it was a close game, but they ended up pulling away from us in the end.”

It seems like the effort and skill is there – even if they didn’t win a game on Friday – evident by the bronze the team won in a tournament earlier in the year. But what will put them over the top is the mental side of things, something Wright feels is lacking on the team. “I know a lot of these guys played high school basketball on good teams, so being down and coming back is tough because you’re used to being on top.”

If you get the players to buy into the mentality they need to have, you get a team that knows what it has to do to win. And when you have a good mix of students from first-year all the way up, there is a good basketball team bubbling under the surface.

Wright certainly realizes this and takes great pride in being able to say that they do have varsity potential, “If we have some good guys coming in next year, we can build on the younger guys as well and breed them to incorporate what they’ve learned through us [the older players].”

The basketball team’s presence on campus will continue to grow once the new athletic complex is completed, giving them a proper court to practice and play in, also giving the students a chance to catch them in action. Hopefully a much improved team will match the much improved facilities, because all signs point to the team reaching their potential.