Mariners ready for basketball nationals after win at A/R Championship
By Ryan Melanson,
The CFB Halifax Mariners are once again Atlantic Regional Basketball champions, and after falling short at the national level in recent years, a dominant win at regionals over 14 Wing Greenwood has the team full of confidence.
“We’re absolutely winning at nationals this year,” said Capt Nic Leger, who was named Halifax’s tournament MVP following the 86-54 gold-medal victory.
The tournament was held from February 20-23 at the Stadplex gym at CFB Halifax, with the Mariners joined by teams from Greenwood, Shearwater, and Gagetown. Halifax has built a regional basketball dynasty over the last decade and a half, with an unbeaten streak in the tournament that stretches all the way back to 2002. Earlier in the tournament, the Mariners took victories over Shearwater (80-50), Greenwood (56-45), and Gagetown (78-58) to secure a spot in the finals.
Capt Leger said the team’s biggest advantage through the week was their ability to stop their opponents offense. In the final game, this allowed the Mariners to widen the lead early and take some pressure off their own scorers.
“What always makes us the team that we are is that we come together to play defense. You can’t always control if the shots are falling, but when we work with each other on defense and get a few steals, we always start rolling,” he said.
The CAF National Championship tournament will be held from April 7-11 at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, and Capt Leger said the team will use the bit of time until then to keep sharpening defense and work on team chemistry. With a number of players returning from previous years, the group is already comfortable together, and will look to become an even more cohesive unit.
“It’s the same core guys and the same role players coming in and doing their job well, being where they need to be. We’ll be ready to go.”