The extramural men’s basketball team is looking to get on track in what could be their final tournament of the year at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus on January 23. The biggest task for the Golden Hawks is to overcome their slow starts. “Usually what happens is that we go into the first two games and we lose because we aren’t use to the basketball court, once we get use to them we start winning,” says Ojeifo Izirein.
The Golden Hawks could be playing in their final tournament thanks to how they placed in previous tournaments. In the final tournament, teams are given invitations based on previous performances in previous tournaments, but due to a couple missed opportunities and overtime losses, the Golden Hawks have a lot of ground to make up in order to qualify for future tournaments.
However, in the last tournament, the Golden Hawks were able to start fast. They played well in their first two games, but things fell apart at the seams for the team when they played Sheridan College. “Yeah, we played back to back to back games and you can say we were tired, but the thing is that we weren’t prepared for that team,” says Izirein.
One of the strengths with this team is their team defense. Izirein acknowledges that, saying that the key players like Alex Packer help communicate with the other players on the court to spread out while playing a zone defense. The team switched from a man-to-man to a zone defense, where everybody is responsible for an area of a court, which puts emphasis on who is the better athlete on the court.
This team is very balanced in terms of age, with three first year players on the team. Jacob McConnell is the biggest talk on the court, according to Izirein. “He is very vocal on the court, he is the guy people look to when something goes wrong, he is there for positive re-enforcement.
As the season went along, the team started to learn their roles, which is expected to happen over the course of a season. The issue is that the Golden Hawks have to succeed quickly or their season will not last for long, because there is such a limited time to gel as a team.
The main thing that this team wants to work on is getting the ball in the middle of the court and scoring effectively on offense. In the last tournament they played in, the Golden Hawks were leading by 23 points when the first string players came out. The other team was able to storm back from that lead and the Golden Hawks lost the game. Sometimes, teams need a killer instinct and to know that they should never take their foot off the gas. That is what this team needs to do and something Izirein stressed during the interview.
It remains to be seen if this team can continue their season, but the one thing that is for sure is that the next tournament is their biggest so far.