Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – If there is a flower to bloom out of the ruins of MacEwan's heartbreaking 88-84 overtime loss to Manitoba in Canada West men's basketball action last Saturday, it's in this post-game quote from Bisons head coach Kirby Schepp:
"That was a very, very tough – probably our toughest – game this year just in terms of the compete level that they had."
Indeed, it was the Griffins' defining effort of the season – one that eventually figures to pay off with a win to put the program's 13-game losing streak in the rearview mirror. If they can keep the effort train rolling, that is.
"We should be doing that every day in practice and that's how it moves forward," said MacEwan head coach Mike Connolly. "So, even though we did it there in a game, it's something we've talked about how we need to do it in practice.
"We have been and we've got to continue to do it so we can do those things in games. Saturday showed us that all the hard work we've been doing in practice finally (paid off)."
With that in mind, the Griffins (0-10) have hit the practice court hard in preparation for a road trip to Winnipeg (4-6) on Friday (7 p.m. MT) and Saturday (4 p.m. MT, both Canada West TV presented by Co-op). The Wesmen are among a group of four teams currently occupying the final playoff positions in the conference, eight points above the Griffins.
"We've had a good, hard week," said Connolly of the Griffins' practice sessions. "We shot the ball well Monday and had a good practice, we practiced Tuesday and today and we've just got to keep at it. That's the good thing about sports is 99 per cent of the time you can live to play tomorrow.
"We've got a chance to show ourselves and prove that it wasn't a fluke Saturday night and that we're here or it was a fluke Saturday night and we've got a lot more work to do to prepare during the week to get ready for the weekends. Everything that happens on the weekend is the result of what happens during the week."
At the very least, the fact the Griffins have already moved on from Saturday's heartbreaking outcome is positive.
"We just forgot about it and started worrying about the next team," said Connolly. "We just didn't dwell on it, moved on, we watched video and we're ready for Winnipeg. That's all you can do."