This past week, the men’s volleyball team made history by becoming the highest nationally ranked program ever at Redeemer University College. Now, it’s potentially the men’s basketball team which could make history: The Royals are one victory away from becoming Redeemer’s men’s basketball team with the most wins ever.
The Royals are on the verge of five regular season wins. Coming into this season in Ontario Colleges Athletic Association play, the previous high for the program that began in 1990-91 is four wins. The Royals achieved that mark twice, once in 1997-98 and also in 1999-00. Since then, men’s basketball teams have managed to secure but 20 wins in the past 12 years.
Now, the current team sits at four wins and is one away from the record. Five wins in a season would be equivalent to 25% of the total wins in the last 12 years.
In the off season, Redeemer hired Jamie Girolametto as the Royals new head coach. His previous coaching experience and connections in the Hamilton community have proven invaluable to the program. In just his first season as head coach, Girolametto is on the verge of driving his team to its best season ever.
Girolametto, however, isn’t focused on the record.
“….Truthfully, I’m not looking at this as a milestone, as we want to set the bar much higher. Our outlook for the remainder of the season remains consistent – we are hoping to make a run at the playoffs. For that to happen, we must beat all the teams below us in the standings and pull out a couple upsets”.
The Royals have their work cut out for them but they play St. Clair and Lambton who they already defeated in the first semester. They also play the Niagara Knights who needed double overtime to defeat the visiting Royals.
The Royals also play Sault College and that brings us to this upcoming weekend. The Royals host Algoma University on Friday and Sault College on Saturday (Jan18-19). While Friday’s game is certainly not out of reach, the Royals will be licking their wounds from a first semester one-point loss to Sault College.
Redeemer gets its first crack at the record on Friday at 8 p.m., against Algoma and plays on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Sault.
So, what has led to the team’s improvement and success?
“I can’t speak about the past teams at Redeemer,” said Girolametto. “For this team, we have made defense a major focus. You can be good on the defensive end every night as long as you’re willing to work hard and communicate with teammates.
“My past coaches, Joe Raso and Pat Papalia, always stressed the importance of competing every night at practice so that you are used to the intensity of a game. We’ve tried to follow the model of ‘competition in practice’, where every drill includes a score, therefore producing a winner. The loser then has to face consequence (burpees and sprints).
With a 4-8 record heading into the weekend, wins would give the Royals a push to put themselves in a position to challenge for a playoff spot.
On the women’s side, the Lady Royals host Algoma University on Friday and Sault College on Saturday. The women defeated Sault College in the first semester and lost by one point to Algoma University.
The Lady Royals will look for a pair of victories to propel them back into the playoff hunt. The team currently sits with a 3-7 record.