The Christmas break is over and we are at the time of the basketball season where the GNAC calendar is more overbooked with games than usual. In January alone there are 12 games scheduled for the Rams. Essentially that means less recovery time, higher chance of fatigue among the players as well as a higher possibility of injuries. Some people might find it ironic that January is the toughest month when at the same time it is the month that athletes usually are least prepared for, having a three to four week winter break with perhaps limited access to the hoops and no team practice. The Christmas break definitely came at the wrong time for the Rams, who at the end of 2012 were on a hot streak with three wins in row, including an impressive win against GNAC no. 2 seeded St. Joseph. In 2013 the picture has been different and the Rams have struggled to find their previous level of fast paced offensive play with usually around 80-plus points per game. That being said, the Rams do not believe in excuses or superstition, so the rams will work their hardest to end the frustrating 0-7 streak of 2013.
Even though the Ram’s statistics don’t look too bright at the moment, the atmosphere in the locker room has not suffered. The guys are looking forward to each practice, excited for every game, and there is still an optimistic mood among the players. There are still 10 games left in the regular season where anything can happen. Coach Nelson said: “It’s definitely a hard thing to take three or four weeks off, after going so hard for so long, but we are back. We have been practicing since Jan. 1 so we’ve been at it for a while and the guys are doing a good job.”
Despite the fact that the winter has not been as cold as usual so far, the team was cooled off by the break and the winning streak came to an end. “The break has definitely cooled us off. We were playing so well. We started practice on Oct. 15 and we practiced for five weeks before we played, so we were into it and winning games and then this break comes. We come back and we practice for four days before we play so we haven’t gotten our legs under us yet. It is our job as coaches to keep the guys in shape and I don’t think we did a good enough job having everybody prepared for after the break, so we have to do a better job next time, but the break definitely comes at a bad time,” Coach Nelson said.
Judging by Suffolk’s game against GNAC’s 1st seeded Albertus Magnus last Tuesday, things are starting to look much better and it seems like the team is rediscovering their great game from before the break. “We had a good game down at Albertus, they haven’t lost a conference game in two years. We lost, but to the 19th ranked team in the country. They won 35 straight conference games; their only loss this year is to Division I Yale. It’s the first game of the semester when we finally [started] clicking again. We competed, we played hard, we defended, we rebounded, and the guys at the bench were yelling and screaming. If we play like that again against any other team in our league we will probably beat them… [This is the] effort we have to keep moving forward with,” Coach Nelson continued.
Albertus won this game at home, but when they come to play at Suffolk, they must be prepared for a real fight. “We will play them here (at Suffolk) in two weeks and we would like to think that it is a winnable game for us. So that was a good game and we had a good practice yesterday. Now I finally feel after two weeks of being back that we are back as a team. We kicked the rust off and it’s taken longer than I would have hoped, but we are back now so we are happy about that,” Coach Nelson said
Suffolk lost Thursday’s nerve breaker of a game against Emmanuel by only three points. In this game the rams showed great character and team spirit, something that is vital to make it in the GNAC. 2013 has just begun and the season is far from over.