Matchups for the first week of January
By Davie Wong, Sports Reporter
The first week of the New Year greets us with an exhilarating set of basketball games. While everyone else has been taking part in holiday festivities, the men and women’s basketball teams have fitting in practices and exhibition contests wherever they can. Proof of that will be displayed as both teams start the second half of their seasons.
Both teams will spend the coming weekend on the road as they look to pick up a couple of wins to start off the year. Friday’s game will consist of a heated matchup against the Langara Falcons.
The men’s game will be an especially intense affair as the last time these two teams met, the Falcons stole a win away from the hungry Royals. Since their last matchup, the men have made several changes to their playing style that have resulted in them picking up their first two wins of the season before the break. While carrying this momentum over the break is impossible, the men have been playing extensively throughout the month. Look for them to come out fresh but sharp.
The key for the men in this matchup will be containing Langara’s star Drake Downer. The last time they played, Downer torched the Royals for 21 of his team’s 89 points. His average of 17 points a game puts him amongst the league’s best scorers. The Royals will need to keep him in check if they hope to pick up the win.
The winter weather may have chilled the denizens of the Lower Mainland, but it definitely missed this team. The women took to the deserts of Arizona to beat the chill and get some exhibition games in during the month long break. Watch for them to bring the heat as the come into the home of the Falcons looking to make a statement.
This should be an easy start for the Royals. They have proven that they know how to beat the Falcons. All they have to do is repeat it.
The Falcons are not known for their scoring and the Royals can capitalize on that by forcing them to make offensive mistakes. It helps that the Falcons offensive scheme plays perfectly into the defensive set up of the Royals as well.
Next up on the schedule are a pair of Saturday games against the one of the best teams in the conference, Quest University. When looking for top notch competition, one need not look further than the Kermodes. While this season is far from the sterling gem of last season, the women’s team is still a decent team, posing a threat to any. The men, however, have seemed to pick up where the women left off last year and gone on a run, losing only to the undefeated VIU Mariners.
The last time the women’s teams met up, it was a match for the history books. Looking just as scary as they did last year, the Kermodes came into the Royals home looking to extend their winning streak. The Royals, led by Simran Bir’s shooting, proved that they were more than ready for them. The excellent defence contained the explosive offence of the Kermodes, and, at the end of the game, proved that everything comes to an end. The women picked up their first victory against the Kermodes in excellent fashion and will be looking to do the same thing again on Saturday.
The key to a win here is defence. The Kermodes average 65 points a game, led by their top 2 scorers, Miriam Baumann, and Hunter Hopkins. Together, those two players account for 30 points a game. If the Royals can shut those two down, or play around them, they hold a hefty advantage over their opponents.
Meanwhile for the men, it truly is a David versus Goliath matchup. The Kermodes look near unstoppable, only losing once in their previous 7 games. Fortunately that loss came right before the break, ending their 6 game winning streak. If the Kermodes have failed to bounce back from that loss, the Royals may have the edge on them.