Preview: Quebec vs. Halifax

Halifax’s first home game of 2009 finally takes place in about 18 hours, and I thought I’d throw together a quick preview so people have something to read and a place to post comments when they should be at work/school.  I expect a huge crowd in the 4k-5k range for what should be a very good game.  Last year’s home opener was against an undermanned skeleton crew of Boston YMCA players, I’d expect this year’s game to be much closer.  And for the first time ever fan from out of town can see the games broadcast live on the internet. So I’ll also be looking at how they put the broadcast together as well as how the game itself goes.  It is by far the biggest night for the Rainmen since their first ever home opener.

For a way too in depth breakdown of the 2009 Rainmen check out my pre-season preview.

So while most of us know what Halifax will bring to the table it’s worth looking at who is coming to town and Quebec are hardly a team scrubs.  They had a fairly long pre-season beating Manchester and playing a tough game against Vermont.  They’re 1-1 after beating the Millrats and losing to Halifax on a last second offensive rebound and jump shot from Silverhorn.  Quebec are a tough, defensive, grind it out team with more size than most minor league teams.  They kept Manchester to just 82 points and their defense is anchored by one of the few legit centres in the PBL – 6’10 Jonas Pierre.  Pierre had a beast of an opening weekend averaging 13.5 ppg, 11.5 ppg and an absolutely insane 9.5 blocks per game.  Their offense is anchored by a 1-2 punch of crafty, physical wing players with Charles Fortier and Larry House as well as Michael Anderson a 6’7 powerforward.

I think Halifax match up pretty well with the Kebs, to be honest.  Fortier is a tough player and gifted scorer, but I think he lacks the speed to really expose the defensive weaknesses of Dandridge and Mayes.  Halifax’s only road wins last year came against the Kebs and they’ve traditionally played well against them.   There are three things I think Halifax need to do to ensure a win:

  1. Keep the Kebs off of the Offensive Glass: Halifax have looked suspect rebounding on the defensive end of the floor and have let teams get back into games because they gave up second chance points.  They need rebound from all five positions – guys like Charles Fortier will just kill you on the boards if you don’t box them out.  Halifax’s big men have a tendency to rely on athleticism instead of securing position when it comes to grabbing rebounds and that can’t happen on Friday night (or any night, really).
  2. Make Sure No Keb Has a Big Game: Halifax have a really bad tendency to let players have monster games against them on the offensive end.  Halifax need to make sure no one scores more than 20 points – if Fortier, House or Anderson are allowed to get in rhythm and put up 30+ I am not sure the Rainmen can win.
  3. Halifax’s Big Men Need to Come Up Big: Halifax need everyone to play well obviously, but their big guys definitely need to have good games on both ends of the court.  Defensively the need to rebound and keep Pierre et al off of the offensive glass and they need to do at least an average job of preventing perimeter guys from slashing into the lane.  Offensively they need to put pressure on Pierre and take the ball right at him  to try to get him foul trouble.  Jeanty and Sanders are great at this and if they can make him think twice about blocking a shot or reduce his minutes as a result of foul trouble then they’re going a long way towards winning the game.  McNeal has been a non-contributor so far, but if he can establish an offensive game then he can use his outside shooting to pull Pierre out of the lane and open things up for the other Rainmen, but to do this he needs to punish Quebec in the post if they put a smaller player on him to free up Pierre.

I think Halifax can win this, but I expect it to be a close game.  No matter what I am excited for the regular season home opener to actually happen.  A win (and 3-0 start) for Halifax is crucial to building fan support so there is a lot on the line for the Rainmen.

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15 thoughts on “Preview: Quebec vs. Halifax

  1. I am so excited for tonight!!!!!!I dont care about defese if the team score lots like goldenstate dont need to play defense and look what they did to dallas!put the ball in the hoop and no one can beat you

  2. Man, I’m so ready for this game. It feels like a big deal this year. Like there’s a big-game buzz for it. I just hope they don’t over do it with the pre-game stuff like last year.

  3. I am really excited. Like that even with 1000 season tickets sold you can still get good individual tickets. The team look so much better this year.

    I do not understand how Jonas Pierre was not player of the week. He is almost averaging a triple double including almost ten blocks! If he has a big game he can force Halifax to settle for outside jumpers which is never a good thing.

  4. Metro News paper

    I haven’t seen the Friday Herald yet so I can’t comment on their coverage.

    The Metro paper did an amazing job in the Friday edition.

    Two full pages of coverage, quotes from Andre, player bios. I will never say that the Metro ( a free newspaper!) didn’t support the team. With extreme enthusiam I must add.

    I hope the Herald being a paper that people (ie, basketball fans) pay for can match this enthusiasm and not bury our team behind endless Q league news.

  5. I was wondering if the super fans (All fans are super I know) but is their a section where the fan clubs etc. like to sit. Cheer loudly and get our team going? I want to sit there!

  6. In the Herald there is the following articles in the Friday edition:
    – A column by Chris Cochrane talking about how the PBL is a better business model, is more stable, and what the expectations are for the team. His basic argument is that this season is the real test for whether or not minor league ball can work in Halifax.
    – An article by Chad Lucas on the online broadcasting deal.
    – An overview by Lucas the PBL, its history, teams and rules.
    – A good preview of the home opener by Lucas which concentrates on the players and team on the court providing fans with a good preview of how the team will actually play basketball.

    I haven’t seen the print edition so I can’t speak to layout/placement but I really feel like both papers are getting behind the team and organization this year even more than they did last year. The best part is that with a stable league reporters and columnists can concentrate on the actual players and games, not the insane league issues.

  7. Hi chris902,

    Halifax Herald: I give you a thumbs up as well! Please sustain a good level of coverage all season! 🙂

    Well I’m glad to hear the Herald is on board with our team. I am running down to the news stand as we speak!

    Media coverage will help the team grow! So Herald I give you props 🙂

  8. Rain Mania: The people who post on the Rainmen fanclub face book group were talking about sitting in section 21 behind the home bench, but I don’t know if they ever got themselves organized to do it. http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/topic.php?uid=5318580674&topic=5761

    The lower part of Section 23 kind of got a reputation for being heckler’s row last year, mostly as a result of me and Duncan (hence the name of the blog). The best bet for finding super loud sections is to figure out where there are a lot of kids who all came as a group. In general I’d say the best bet is to get tickets within the first twelve rows of sections 22 and 23 if you can, but that’s my own personal opinion.

  9. Only five hours till tip off! I really want to see Rainmen play a good game to get more fans out. I hope the team don’t just try to mold their game plan around Quebec, if the Rainmen play their game I don’t think anyone can beat them.

  10. Chris 902:

    Thanks man! RE: Loud, super fan sections 🙂

    I’m not super loud but love the energy and enthusiasm of sitting in an enthusiast section!

  11. I just found out that the play-by-play guy for the haligonia.ca webcasts will be Mavs Gillis, the guy who has been doing the in arena announcing for the games. Great choice – he has a good voice, is enthusiastic and knows the team. Having someone with no idea who the players or the team are would have been a disaster. I wonder who is doing colour for them?

  12. Halftime. Haifax is up 64-50. Twyman has been great, dandridge and silverhorn quiet. Good D, too many turnovers by the rainmen. The halftime show is some singer called Danny Fernandes (?). The teenage girls in the endzone section seem to like him.

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