Douglas lost the title to Seneca Sting in close final match
By Eric Beaudoin, Contributor
The Royals men’s basketball team traveled to Laval, Quebec to compete in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball National championship March 13 to 17 after winning the British Columbia provincial title earlier this year. Eric Beaudoin, a journalism student at Concordia University, attended the national basketball tournament in Laval and provided coverage of the Royals’ final two matches.
The Douglas College Royals stunned the hometown favorite and defending national champions Montmorency Nomads 93-87 in semi-final action at the 2018 CCAA National Basketball Championship in Quebec.
“Oh, my goodness, it feels great!” Royals Head Coach Joe Enevoldson said after the game.
The excitement didn’t stop there as guard Grant Campbell expressed his feelings after the game.
“I am speechless right now. I’ll let you know when it all sinks in,” he said.
The win allows the Douglas Royals to move on to play for the CCAA National Championship title against the Seneca College Stings from Ontario. The last time the Royals were in this position was in 2008, when they won in Quebec. This will mark the fifth time they will compete for a national title since 1993.
The game opened with dominance by the Nomads, who outscored and outplayed the Royals on both sides of the court. By the end of the first half, the score was 45-34 for Montmorency. Nomads’ player Alix Lochard recorded 17 points in the first half alone while the Royals top scorer was Reese Morris with six points.
During the halftime break, Coach Enevoldson rallied his team.
“I said nothing inspirational but just factual. The first half got away from us, we missed a few layups and we get those and maybe we’re not down 11. We stayed our course and did what we did,” he said.
With the reality check the Royals’ coach had instilled on them, the Douglas team came out looking like a new and re-energized team. The Royals scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to take their first lead of the game and a five-point lead into the final quarter.
The Royals never let the Nomads get within four points in the fourth quarter despite the many scoring chances and fouls. Whenever the Nomads scored, the Royals responded immediately. The game eventually ended with the Douglas Royals winning 93-87.
Player of the Game for the Douglas Royals was Kameron Johnson, who recorded 33 points, and Player of the Game for the Nomads was Alix Lochard, who scored 26.
The focus now turns to the gold medal match between the Royals and Seneca Sting to which coach Evevoldson has already shifted his attention.
“Seneca really looks like they can go in transition. Obviously, we will have to do a better job…it’s a national final, you’re going to have to play your game,” he said.
The Seneca Sting took home the CCAA National Basketball Championship title at the Montmorency arena in Quebec by a score of 86-73 over the Royals March 17.
“We finished second in the country and we lost to a team that hit more shots than us tonight, so hats off to them,” said Royals Coach Joe Enevoldson post-game.
The game got off to a slow start for the Royals, who allowed themselves to get down by 13 points a mere three minutes into the game. A reactive timeout was enough to shift the momentum in favor of the Royals. They took the lead by the end of the quarter after an incredible 18-point run. A back and forth battle ensued in the second quarter with the halftime score eventually being 35-34 in favor of Douglas.
It did seem, however, that the Seneca Sting were breathing new life after halftime. They gapped the Royals to take the largest lead of the game by 13 points while holding off the physical Royals offence. Capitalizing on steals and going back in transition was the game Seneca adopted to maintain the gap and hold off the Royals to win the CCAA National Championship.
Reese Morris was named Player of the Game for Douglas after accumulating 20 points, with seven rebounds and three assists. Kameron Johnson was also strong, scoring 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Coach Enevoldson addressed what this game means to his mostly-veteran squad.
“Initially it will be disappointing. Obviously, you get this close and you’re up one at half. But ultimately at the end of the day, the guys will look back at it, and will have had a memorable experience,” he said.
The Royals fought hard throughout the tournament, facing only teams with higher rankings. They beat the second-seeded SAIT Trojans on day one and followed that with a stunning win over the top-seeded Montmorency Nomads, which paved the way to play the other top seed, Seneca, for the title.
The loss marks the fourth time the PACWEST champions Royals finished second at the National Championship, dating back to 1993. For Seneca, however, the win marks their first-ever National Title since their inception in 1967.
The Douglas Royals will travel back to British Columbia as 2017-2018 PACWEST Champions and silver medalists at Canadian College basketball’s highest level.