On Feb. 27, the 2018-19 McGill basketball season drew to a close. The men (9-7) lost at home to the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins (8-8) 79-69 in the RSEQ semifinals, and, in their semifinal game, the Martlets (10-6), who travelled across town to Concordia’s (10-6) home court, were defeated 62-55. Despite the first-round exits for both teams, McGill basketball had plenty to be proud of this season.
Fourth-year transfer centre Sirah Diarra and fourth-year guard Gladys Hakizimana led Martlet basketball to a respectable third-place finish in the RSEQ. Six-foot-one Diarra averaged 10.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, while Hakizimana put up 11.2 points and 2.7 assists per game, and both were named RSEQ second-team all-stars for their efforts. Other RSEQ award winners include first-year forward Shayann Laguerre and first-year guard Trishia Villedrouin, who both received all-rookie honours.
In the last game of the regular season, the Martlets took down a talented and, at the time, undefeated Laval side for their 12th victory of the season. With a few lopsided losses against the Rouge et Or throughout the season, the Martlets’ momentous win was an exciting way to end the regular season. Unfortunately, the momentum did not carry them past Concordia in the opening round of the RSEQ playoffs and they did not qualify to return to the U Sports National Championships.
In addition to strong campaigns from their veterans this season, Martlet Head Coach Ryan Thorne saw plenty of promising play from many of the team’s younger players: Second-year guard Charlotte Clayton made a team-best 42 three-pointers in her 25 games; fellow second-year forward Kamsi Ogbudibe trailed only Diarra in rebounds and blocks per game; and second-year transfer guard Delphine Robitaille put up strong offensive numbers as well. Along with award-winners Laguerre and Villedrouin, the young Martlet players gave fans good reason to be optimistic for the next season.
The men’s season kicked off in early August with a series of games against American schools, including Duke University. McGill did not come away with any wins in these opening matches, but they scored the most points of any opponent on Duke’s Canada tour. It looked like an encouraging sign for the season to come.
McGill won their regular season home-opener against UQAM and went on to split the season series with the Citadins 2-2. Unfortunately, they lost fifth-year point guard Alex Paquin and fourth-year point guard Isaiah Cummins, two consistently dominant offensive threats, to injuries for most of the season. However, McGill still managed a 9-7 conference record, which earned them second place in the RSEQ standings behind Concordia (11-5) and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs against UQAM. In their fifth matchup of the season, the Citadins came out victorious and McGill failed to return to the U Sports National Championships.
Four McGill players earned RSEQ honours. Fifth-year guard Avery Cadogan, who averaged 9.8 points per game, was named a first-team all-star, while fifth-year forward Noah Daoust, a strong two-way presence for McGill all season, was selected as a second team all-star. Fourth-year transfer forward Levi Londole averaged a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game and 19 total blocks en route to the Defensive Player of the Year award. First-year guard Anthony Fisiru was named to the all-rookie team.
Without veteran players Paquin and Cummins, Head Coach David DeAveiro had the opportunity to develop some of his team’s younger talent. Second-year guard Sam Jenkins and second-year transfer point guard J.J. Hamel-Carey, as well as Fisiru, showed potential for the years to come. Though the early playoff exit was disappointing, McGill has a bright future ahead.