Royals Basketball take on stiff competition
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
With the first third of the PACWEST basketball season steamrolling closer every day, more and more teams are looking for areas to focus their efforts into during the coming break. Nothing does that better than a couple of hard losses, and the Royals certainly had a couple of those in the past weekend.
Their matchup against the VIU Mariners was always going to be a difficult one. The traditional rivals for the Royals for basketball in recent years, the Mariners have always brought the heat when playing the Royals. This early season matchup was no exception.
The women got the series started with an exciting first quarter that put the Royals up 18-17. The lead would not last as the Mariners began keying in on the Royals offensive plan. While the Royals offence stalled, the Mariners kept their engine rolling and pushed past the Royals to grab the lead going into halftime, 35-25.
Playing from behind, the Royals chased the Mariners for the rest of the game, but just weren’t able to catch them. The Mariners would spend the last half of the game playing a possession-heavy scheme. The plan worked out in their favour, and they defeated the Royals 69-52. The loss was the Royals’ first of the season. Sarah Jorgenson would pick up a double-double (10 points, and 10 rebounds) for the Royals, despite the loss.
On the men’s side, we had an exciting matchup between the two league favourites. Although it’s quite early in the season, it’s a great check game to see where the Royals stand this year. With the home crowd at their backs, the Mariners got off to a rolling start, scoring 30 in the first quarter. The Royals were able to keep up, scoring 21 of their own, but remained behind.
Determined to lock down the Mariners, the Royals played hard defence in the second quarter, and it paid off for them. They were able to keep the home team to 13 points in the quarter while scoring 27 of their own to grab the lead heading into halftime, 48-43.
A back and forth third quarter was an exciting treat, as both teams tried to lock down the game headed into the fourth. However, strong fourth quarters are what the Mariners are known for… the Royals not so much. In a huge swing, the Mariners put down 23 to seal their win over the Royals, 89-77.
Although the loss might have stung, Kameron Johnson had a heck of a game for the Royals, going point-for-point with the PACWEST MVP, Usama Zaid. Both heavyweights scored 25 for their respective teams. Paul Getz was the other Royal to have a strong game, scoring 18.
Losses suck, but in the PACWEST, it’s all about bouncing back. The Royals had the chance to do so against the Camosun Chargers, the very next day. The lady Chargers have been undefeated so far, and the Royals looked to change that.
A strong first quarter for both teams saw neither squad grab much of a lead. However, the Chargers were much stronger in the second, securing a hefty 44-32 lead headed into halftime. A slow third set up an exciting fourth quarter. The Chargers lead the Royals 59-43 headed into it. Despite a massive 28-point outburst from the Royals, they couldn’t close the gap, as the Chargers remain undefeated with a 78-71 win.
Nanaya Miki had a big game for the Royals, scoring 25 from the bench. Rachel Beauchamp had 12 points on the night. Ellen Fallis and Sarah Jorgenson both had 10 points each, but the Royals finish the week 0-2. The results of the week leave them 2-2 on the season, and tied for third in PACWEST headed into week three.
For the men, the results were just as close, if not closer. The Chargers went tick for tack against the Royals, matching their 23 in the first quarter. The Royals kept up the effort, putting another 23 up in the second. However, the Chargers fell a bit behind, only scoring 20. With a 3-point lead, the Royals were less then comfortable headed into halftime.
They upped their effort in the third, coming out revitalized and stronger than they started scoring 27 in the quarter. The Chargers would ultimately fall behind, scoring 18 and giving the Royals lead a real edge. Although they would push to tie the game in the fourth, the Royals were more than ready, matching their effort with their own. A tremendous 25 point fourth quarter for both teams put a cap on a thrilling matchup.
In short, the Royals starting lineup got it done. Noah DeRappard-Yuswack scored a team high 24 points for the Royals. Grant Campbell put up 20 points. Reese Morris had 19, and Kameron Johnson had 16 points. Johnson also had a team high 8 assists, along with 7 rebounds, nearly grabbing a triple-double.
The 1-1 weekend leaves the Royals at 3-1 to start the year. The loss to the Mariners is sure to sting the team on the CCAA Power Rankings this week, but in terms of the PACWEST, the Royals are tied for second with the Langara Falcons. Their head-to-head records mean that the Royals are firmly in second, but there’s a long season to go.