Basketball Provincials edition
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It’s always a bittersweet feeling around this time of year. Seasons wrapping up means the end of months of hard work, but it also means no more regular season games. Alas, that is the price we pay for exciting games. Here’s a look at the coming week of action as the basketball teams head into the playoffs.
The ladies have a bye coming into this weekend. Their excellent regular season play has granted them a second place finish within the PACWEST and an extra day of practice as they await the winner of the quarterfinals. They will play the winner of the Quest vs. Langara matchup.
For the sake of history, let us hope that Langara manages to pull off an upset against Quest. If the volleyball Provincials have taught us anything, it’s that an upset is very possible. Should that happen and the women end up playing Langara, they will be in a good position. The two teams have met up three times in the regular season with the Royals sweeping the series.
However, the last meeting was only narrowly stolen by the Royals. It took an amazing effort from Nanaya Miki to come out with a win. There were no standout performances from Langara, but the overall play of the struggling Royals was enough to make it much closer than it needed to be.
If Quest ends up winning, then the Royals are in for a tough matchup. The two bitter rivals have met up three times this season with the Royals taking two out of three games. The last time these two played, the Royals ran into a patch of bad luck as they could not seem to score in the second half of the game, shooting just 17 per cent the entire half. With luck on their side, the game should be much better for the Royals. Nonetheless, the team will need to be on their guard. Quest has more than a couple of players who can step it up when time calls.
Should the Royals make it past the semis they will likely play against the VIU Mariners in the finals. It will be an exciting matchup if it happens. The two teams have met up three times this season, with the Mariners getting the best of the Royals two out of three times. During their peak, the Royals were able to run over the Mariners and really dominate the PACWEST. However, that was nearly a month ago, and the last time these two teams played, VIU was able to decisively beat Douglas, who had struggles in the second half.
If they hope to tango with the best, they will need to bring their best. That goes for all the matchups. The team, who seems to be struggling this month, just barely managed to close out a win against Capilano last week. The team has lost more games in the month of February than they had all season. Granted that number was only two, the team has been looked strained in their games. They will need to be back to their top form if they hope to take home gold.
The men’s team has quite the weekend ahead of them as well. They start their playoffs at fifth place in the PACWEST looking to upset the fourth place team, the Capilano Blues.
The Royals started their season off poorly, going 0-5 before bouncing back to their current record of 10-11. While the team has looked much better since, their last couple of weeks have been their weakest since the start. They have lost two of their last three and have not looked good in the losses.
Against the Blues, the Royals will really need to be ready. The two teams have played three times this season, with the Blues taking the edge, two games to one. The latest game was just last week, where the Blues managed to run over Douglas 90-73.
It will definitely be an upward battle against the Blues, but offence is not the problem. Grant Campbell is on fire at the moment, but his team’s defensive inconsistency means that his efforts go to waste. The Royals will need to buckle down defensively and really lock down the Blues key players. They have done it before, and they need to do it again. If they can stop the scoring bleeding, then they definitely outscore the Blues.
Should the men find themselves on the winning side of the quarterfinals, they can expect to go against the number one ranked team in the country, the VIU Mariners. This will be a David-and-Goliath-esque showdown. VIU has dominated every team in the PACWEST and gone to finish their season undefeated, including three wins against the Royals.
If it comes to this matchup, the Royals will need to play the best basketball they have ever played to even have a chance against the Mariners. However, the Royals do have the speed advantage on the Mariners; if they can outpace the Mariners, they have a shot. They will need to do this for the entire game though, which is hard, because playing that sort of style tires the players out quicker.
Should a miracle upset actually happen, and the Royals come out with a win, they will head to the final game against one of the teams on the other side of the table. If the Royals manage to pull out a win against the best team in the country, the gold medal game should be a cinch.