Perfect Season for Cheetahs?
The Vanier Cheetahs have accomplished a regular season feat that hasn’t been done since 2004. They went undefeated! Can they continue the streak and go on to win the provincials?
It seemed farfetched at the start of the season, but as the wins started to pile up, the idea that the Vanier could actually finish the regular season undefeated didn’t seem as crazy. The last men’s team that was able to do that was the Dawson Blues when they went 16-0 in 2004. The last time they won 16 games was in the 2013-14, back when the regular season was 18 games. They then went on to win the RSEQ provincial championship. If that wasn’t enough, the Cheetahs are one spot shy in the CCAA rankings for the number one spot in the country.
Everyone tried to take them down, but it’s hard beating one the strongest starting 5’s in CEGEP and multiple MVP candidates in one team. The nucleus of the top team scorers in Player of the Year Karim Mane with 15.4ppg and Nginyu Ngala with 13.3ppg, seniors Steeve Joseph and 2nd Team All-Star Joshua Koulamallah, Pier-Olivier Racine who leads all players in the league with 1.8bpg as well as the rest of the squad finished the season with the top offense in the league with an 88ppg average and a scoring margin of +19.5pts. Every player on the roster is a threat. All 12 players play their roles and fit in the Cheetahs system. Most importantly, what makes them even more dangerous, is there ball movement. Vanier finished first in assists with 17.4 per game. They also dominated on the other end of the floor, only allowing a 3rd best 68.5ppg. If that wasn’t enough they’ve also blocked 4.3 shots per game. It’s been dominance all around from the players to the coaching staff. Every Cheetah played a role in all 16 wins.
What does this undefeated season mean for Vanier? They got a bye to advance straight to the quarterfinals. The matchup will be between them and the Champlain Cavaliers on March 2nd at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf. The provincial finals will take place the next day on March 3rd. They’ll face the winner of the Brébeuf-Montmorency quarterfinal game. They had more than a week of rest and preparation after finishing their season earlier than most teams with a 74-67 win against Brébeuf in their last game, who they also beat 86-79 earlier in the season. As far as the regular season game versus Montmorency, Vanier blew them out 100-86 and 98-68 on their home gym. The last time Vanier won provincials was in 2014 when they beat their rival longtime rivals, Dawson Blues. They had two following finals appearances also in 2015 and 2017. The Cheetahs are looking to go the full RSEQ season undefeated and make a run in Vancouver, where this year’s CCAA Men’s Basketball Championship with take place from March 13-16, 2019. They haven’t won a national title since 2011. Let’s see if the streak continues.