Royals’ basketball please fans in home opener
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
With all the excitement of soccer and volleyball in the air, it’s easy to forget that basketball season is just right around the corner. This weekend, that corner came and went in the form of week one of PACWEST basketball. For the Royals, this meant taking on the Langara Falcons in their home opener, and the Quest Kermodes the day after.
Opening up the festivities was the women’s basketball team. The Royals, defending PACWEST champions, were the clear favourite in the matchup. But in the first quarter, it became very evident just why the Royals were favourites in the first place. A massive first quarter outing saw the Royals score 22, while limiting the Falcons to 4 points. The second was a bit better for the Falcons, but the Royals never let up. 42-12 at halftime pretty much summarized the match. A 16 point third quarter was the nail in the coffin for the Falcons. A rotated squad out on the floor for the fourth quarter were outmatched by the Falcons, 15-10, but it was just a drop in the bucket as the Royals took the win 68-37.
Rachel Beauchamp picked up right where she left off last year with a big 13 points and 10 rebounds for her first double-double on the season. Simran Bir had 16 points on the night, and went 4-8 when shooting three’s.
The ladies rout opened up for the men, who were looking for a big win of their own. The Royals men’s team were unstoppable to start the game, scoring 29 points in the first quarter alone. However, a strong second quarter from the Falcons helped bring the game closer at halftime, 46-45.
Both squads came out a little flat-footed after halftime, the Royals a little less so. 24 points to the Falcons 16 extended their lead to 9 points. Down to the fourth, the Falcons really turned the jets on, racking up 28 points in the quarter. However, they Royals put up 26 of their own, and the 9 point lead was just enough to get the through, 97-89.
In terms of stats, it was quite the game for the Royals starters. Quest transfer Noah DeRappard-Yuswack had a huge night with 26 point and 19 rebounds, earning himself a double-double. Reese Morris also had a double-double, scoring 14 and grabbing 11 rebounds. International transfer Kameron Johnson had 19 points in his debut for the Royals, and captain Grant Campbell was a big part of team’s win, putting up 15 of his own.
Next up for both teams were the Quest Kermodes. Last year, both Quest teams struggled in the PACWEST. With a year of growth under their belt, they hoped to best the Royals. On the women’s side, an exciting first quarter got things rolling. 17 points from the Royals and 14 from the Kermodes indicated a tight game. Then, as if flipping a switch, the Royals turned on their defense. The team systemically squeezed points away from the Kermodes each quarter.
A massive second quarter saw the Royals taking 17 point lead into half time. The second half of the game was close, mostly due to the fantastic effort of Quest’s Kimmy Aburegeba, who ended with 25 of her teams 49 points. But the Royals were too efficient on the ball to lose. 72-49 was the final score.
For the Royals, Nanaya Miki found her All-Star form, picking up her first double-double for the Royals since returning from her year-long break. She scored 14 and picked up 12. Rachel Beauchamp put up 20, and the women put away the weekend 2-0.
For the men, their matchup meant a little more to a couple of players. Noah DeRappard-Yuswack and Paul Getz played their former team for the first time this season. A thrilling first quarter saw 46 points being scored and the Royals in the lead. Their performance carried into the second, where they outscored the Kermodes, 21-12 to extend their lead of the Kermodes to 15 points.
Determined to get the result, the Kermodes came out strong in the third. But a weak fourth quarter performance allowed the Royals to put away the game, 79-64. The star of the game was substitute rookie Josiah Mastandrea, who put away 18 points in 18 minutes of play, going 6 for 10 on three’s. Grant Campbell had a 17 point performance, and Noah DeRappard-Yuswack picked up another double-double, grabbing 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The weekend leaves both sides 2-0, and topside of the PACWEST. Next week, they travel to the islands to take on some stiff competition in the VIU Mariners and Camosun Chargers.