By Zachary Flynn
Finishing the first half of their season with a 6-6 record, the team is looking to find more consistency in 2020.
“There are moments of brilliance and moments where we’re brilliantly awful,” said head coach Todd Warnick.
The team began their season with two blowout wins against GRPC, winning by 62 and 52 points. One month later they would go on to lose 59-38 to Keyano College in a game where they would only put up two points in the third quarter.
“We’re struggling to find our footing, I think,” said Warnick.
“Trying to find that in-between where we’re consistent is a bit of a slog between injury issues and general inconsistency.”
Their final two games of 2019 saw a sweep of the Concordia Thunder. Warnick hopes to take that momentum into the new year.
The NAIT men’s basketball team has two of the top scorers in the ACAC, with Sean-Michael Clancey and Hugo Cluysen leading the league in points going into the winter break.
Despite this, the Ooks went into December with a 6-6 record and a 4-game losing streak.
One of the team captains, Keilan Dobish, said that the results thus far could have been better.
“We expected to be a little better than where we are right now and expected to be higher in the standings but I think it’s a good reality check that we’ve got to come out and work every day in the weight room and at practice and carry that into the weekend,” said Dobish.
“We can’t just come out and expect that because we’re talented that we’re going to be able to beat the team that we’re facing.”
The Ooks play their last games of 2019 in Grande Praire on December 6 and 7. Their next game in the NAIT gymnasium will be on Jan. 17 where they host the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings.
The Ooks closed out 2019 with back-to-back wins against the ACAC champions, the MacEwan Griffins.
The team finished 2019 with a nearly-perfect 13-1 record, dropping their only loss to the Red Deer College Kings in late October.
The Ooks consistently perform well in the regular season, but head coach Tim Fragle is already looking ahead to playoffs.
“We like the start however the most important message to our team is to be playing our best hockey in March when the games matter the most,” said Fragle.
The team boasts the lowest goals-against average in the league and Fragle points to the team’s defence and goaltending as a strong foundation for success.
“We have spent more time on it and insisted that we play our team structure with good habits on a consistent basis,” he said.
The Ooks return to the NAIT Arena on Jan. 10 to play SAIT.
The Ooks began the 2019-2020 season with a rough start, playing their first two games of the season against the MacEwan Griffins, losing all both contests. They go into the new year with a 7-5 record.
The Ooks have seen mixed success against most of the teams in the league. They have a 2-2 record with MacEwan, a 2-2 record with Olds College and 3-1 record against Red Deer College.
Third-year player Megan Leblanc has been the team’s leading scorer, with 10 of the team’s 37 goals and a total of 16 points.
The Ooks begin 2020 on the road against SAIT but return home to host the Trojans on Saturday, Jan. 11.