Cougars rebounded from tough start
by Blaine Meller
It’s been an up and down past three seasons for the Mount Royal Cougars men’s basketball team.
In 2008-09, the team captured the ACAC championship, the 11th in team history. The squad also captured its second CCAA national title that season.
Last year, the Cougars failed to capture an ACAC medal.
After a strong regular season this year, finishing second in the south division with a 15-3 record, the Cougars once again found themselves in the medals, capturing bronze with a 91-81 win over Lakeland College.
Cougars’ head coach Marc Dobell said while the team is pleased with bronze, they were capable of more.
“I certainly think so. We definitely had the talent to go to head-to-head with anyone in our conference,” Dobell said.
After falling to NAIT in the semifinals, the Cougars were aware of a few areas that needed work, namely rebounding and dribble penetration. The team responded well.
“We gave some people opportunities, to play minutes of significance when the game mattered. The guys seemed really engaged and came out with an effort they could be proud of,” Dobell said.
The Cougars started the regular season losing three of their first five games. The team then reeled off four consecutive wins heading into the Christmas break. But Dobell said the team wasn’t necessarily happy with the way they played in those games, and a change needed to happen.
That change did happen, and came in an unusual form: the team lost three players. And for whatever reason, it seemed to be just what the squad needed.
“We really came together after that. Our practices were a lot better and the team chemistry, for whatever reason, really improved,” Dobell said.