By Shane Lydon, Sports Editor
Photos courtesy of aqsaints.com
The Aquinas Men’s Basketball team head into five important conference games before the holidays on the back of a poor start to the season. The Saints are 1-7 in overall play but with a 1-1 record in conference play, confidence remains high in the camp.
The Saints first game of the conference campaign was a trip to Ann Arbor to take on Concordia. Aquinas came into the game against Concordia on the back of four consecutive defeats at the start of the season. However, the lads produced the goods when needed to take down their opponents 80-71.
Junior DeShawn Lewis continued his impressive form this season to score a total of 24 points. TJ Hunter, Myles Patten and Zezua Liluashvili all contributed over 10 points each to ensure that Aquinas got the best possible start to their WHAC campaign.
The Saints hosted city rivals Cornerstone in their second conference game of the season. Unfortunately for the home side, Cornerstone, who are ranked seventh this season, proved too strong on the night, winning 74-57. Despite the defeat, there were some strong performances from Jesse Hillis and Liluashvili who scored 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Away from conference play, the Saints took on Hope University and Calvin College in the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic over Thanksgiving weekend. It wasn’t to be for AQ who were defeated in both games. Not for the first time this season, Lewis was instrumental to all things good for Aquinas and he was the top points scorer for the Saints in both games.
Despite the slow start to the season, Liluashvili believes the Saints can turn it around this season. “Obviously, it was not the start we wanted but we have a long season ahead of us, and it all comes down to how we finish it. Basketball is a game of ups and down – there is a whole process that the team goes through during that time, so as long as we make progress and keep growing, we will be fine.”
As for the goals for the rest of the season, Liluashvili is confident that a playoff place is well within their grasp. “You always want to set your goals high and work your way towards it step by step. Our recent numbers does not predict what we are capable of doing, especially when we have all the conference games ahead of us. In my opinion, our team can achieve great things, we just have to trust the process and work hard to get where we want to be.”
Next up for the Saints is a trip to Livonia to take on Madonna in a vital conference encounter which throws in tonight at 7.30. That will lead the team into a busy December where they will take on the likes of Rochester, Lourdes, Siena Heights and Dearborn in crucial conference games. The picture will become a lot clearer come January.
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