By Keegan Lavigne, Spoke News
The Conestoga College varsity basketball team had a tough season last year, but it has worked hard during the off-season and hopes to have better results for 2018-19 campaign.
The 2017-18 season was the first year Conestoga has ever had a basketball program. The team finished with a 4-16 record last season, but many of the players have remained positive and believe the team has improved in many ways.
Jamal Hashi, a guard on the team, says the team’s chemistry really developed during their first year.
“Honestly, from a winning aspect, we didn’t do so well, but as a growing aspect for a school, I think we grew as a family,” Hashi said. “Basically in the beginning of the season we were all divided. We didn’t know who we were. But at the end, we became a family. We always stuck together, on and off the court. We always helped each other. To be honest, I think that’s a positive outlook for the season last year.”
When Parker Mills, a centre/power forward on the team, was asked about last season, he said, “Last year, we were a new team, so we learned as a group — how to work together — so I think this year we will be pretty good.”
The Condors are still a young team this year for their second season, so they still have a lot to improve upon.
“I think our defence needs to get a little better,” Mills said. “I think we worked a lot on that this summer, so I think that will show a lot this season.”
The Condors worked very hard during the off-season to improve and develop as a team. The team progressed both physically and mentally.
“A lot of the guys worked hard at the gym, they consistently worked out,” Hashi said. “I think now, in our second year, we have a lot more experience. The guys got a lot bigger, stronger and faster.”
The Condors added new players this off-season, including the guard Luke Wouters, who previously played for Orangeville prep, and looks to add some skill to this young team.
“I think he’s going to be pretty good though,” said Mills. “I was playing with him yesterday, so I think he will help for sure.”
Hashi believes these new additions to the team will provide the boost that the Condors need.
“We were a young team, but we have a lot of new additions to our team — players who know how to play ball,” he said.
With all the improvements made to the team, expectations are different. Many of the players have high expectations and believe the Condors can make a legitimate run at the playoffs.
“I think our goal is playoffs — we have high hopes,” Mills said.
Hashi agrees: “For our second year, our expectation is to make playoffs, and make a run for everyone’s money. The team is getting a lot of young talent and experienced talent at the same time. There are a lot of veterans coming to our team, and, hey, making the playoffs doesn’t seem too difficult.”
The Conestoga Condors basketball team is under the helm of head coach Matthew Buckley.
“He’s a good coach — and a good guy,” said Hashi.
The first game of the new season is on Thursday, Oct. 18, against Lambton College.