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Hoops hype: Trojans men’s basketball team first in the country with 10-0 start

The SAIT Trojans men’s basketball team, winning their first 10 games, finished the fall semester ranked first in the country. 

The team climbed to first in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), and their undefeated run also ranked them first in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).

Everything is working for the Trojans, who are looking to win their third straight ACAC gold medal.

SAIT Trojans basketball

SAIT Trojans basketball player Charlie Conner moves into the key with Briercrest College Clippers defending during a game at SAIT on Nov. 30, 2018. (Photo by Rorie Stannard.)

Head coach Marty Birky credits the team’s success to their depth of the ball, and how much the team spreads the scoring around.

As of Dec. 2, the Trojans were first in the ACAC in points per game, field goals made, three-pointers made per game, and steals per game, and third in three-pointers.

Despite all the success, there are some obstacles that the Trojans face.

“Our defense needs to continue to improve,” said Birky.

The coach explained the team has to make sure the opposition doesn’t do what they want, overall.

SAIT Trojans basketball

SAIT Trojans basketball player Nicholas Molina, carried the ball into centre court, in the first game against Briercrest College Clippers. The score was 112-73.
Friday, Nov. 30, 2018
Calgary, Alta, Canada
Photo by Rorie Stannard

With a team gaining this much momentum, it can be hard to remain humble, a problem Birky has had to deal with it before.

He said that it happened last season during a 13-game winning streak, and the team lost games down the stretch as a result.

“The last two seasons we’ve gone to the national tournament and we’ve not won a national championship,” he said.

“Our focus is treating every weekend as preparation to hopefully do something we haven’t done, and that’s winning a national championship.”

“Winning these games are great and everything, but they really don’t mean anything if you don’t win in March.”

SAIT Trojans basketball

Ian Tevis goes for a two point score during a Nov. 30 game. The Trojans are undefeated in the first half of their season, thus far. (Photo by Rorie Stannard)

That included not taking less successful opponents like the Briercrest College Clippers (2-9) lightly.

“We definitely shouldn’t be working less hard because they only have two wins,” Birky said.

“We compete like we do if they were number two in the country.”

The Trojans kept their winning streak alive in two home games against Briercrest at SAIT on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

SAIT Trojans basketball

SAIT Trojans basketball player Wyatt Haux dribbles around opponent in the second half of the second game against the Clippers. (Photo by Rorie Stannard)

With a dominant 66 point first half, the Trojans secured the victory, 112-73, following it up with a similarly lopsided 104-59 win against the Clippers the next day.

The team will return on on Jan. 11, visiting the Red Deer College Kings (4-4), before hosting the Kings the next night.

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