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March 1, 2018 | Basketball (M)

Adrian Armstrong takes the ball down the court versus Laval.

Stingers down Laval, turn sights on McGill in playoffs

For the first time since 2012, the Concordia Stingers have advanced to the Quebec men’s basketball final and will travel across town to face the McGill Redmen on Saturday at 3 p.m

Second-year forward Olivier Simon scored 17 points to lead the Stingers to a 72-63 victory over the Laval Rouge et Or in the RSEQ semifinal before a packed house at Concordia gym on Wednesday night. The Redmen defeated the Bishop’s Gaiters 105-67 in the other conference semifinal setting up the all-Montreal showdown. The winner will earn a berth at the U SPORTS national championship March 8-11 in Halifax.

“It’s exciting,” said Concordia head coach Rastko Popovic. “It’s just one game so anything can happen. It’s nice to get to this point and see all the work we’ve put in over the last two years pay off. We’ve gone through growing pains and we’ve matured a lot. It’s just one game and a chance to go to the national championship.”

McGill finished in first place in the RSEQ with a 14-2 win-loss record. One of those losses came at the hands of the Stingers who defeated the Redmen 70-58 last Nov. 18. But McGill took three of four regular season games from the Stingers who finished in second place in the RSEQ with an 11-5 record.

Popovic believes the championship game will be extremely competitive on Saturday.

“I think we match up well,” he said. “The key for us is can we score enough points and get good quality shots for 40 minutes. Defence is a focus with McGill’s high-scoring offence, but we have to make sure we are scoring enough too.”

The McGill gymnasium is located at 475 Pine Ave. W.

Doors open at 2 p.m.