Men’s basketball fall short of golden ambitions
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It was never going to be an easy weekend for the Royals. Going into the playoffs seeded fifth out of sixth was not an ideal start for the team with dreams of a gold medal. However, if they wanted that medal, they would have to battle up a mountain, and then some.
They started that battle on Thursday night as they played the hosts, the fourth seeded Capilano Blues. The Royals boasted a veteran starting line-up, with 2nd team All-Star, Grant Campbell, leading the charge. The Blues, boasting a much younger roster, started their best, led by 1st team All-Star, Martin Bogajev.
Right out of the gates, things were not looking good for the Royals. Their first few possessions were marred by unlucky bounces and bad turnovers. From there, things continued to deteriorate rapidly. Communication, or the lack thereof, played a huge role in the Royals’ first quarter struggle, and they limped into the second trailing the Blues, 23-10.
Using the short quarter break to his advantage, coach Denis Beausoleil took the opportunity to re-focus his team. Getting out of the hole the team dug themselves in the first would be a challenge, but it wasn’t impossible. With that in mind, the revitalized Royals squad hit the court for the second quarter.
The team looked significantly better. They drove the net well and shot much better than they had in the first. However, for every point that Douglas put up, Capilano had an answer. This included a 12-0 point streak to answer the Royals earlier 4-point streak. The Royals would end up capping off the quarter with a 7-point streak of their own, heading into the halftime break trailing, 39-27.
Coming into the second half, it seemed like all the Blues had to do was hold on. But both teams came back into the game fired up and ready to play. The two went at it for an extended period of time, with both racking up fouls, left, right, and centre. What it all came down to was execution. The Blues made no mistakes converting their free throws, while the Royals struggled from the line. They shot 50 per cent from the free throw line in the game, missing 15 points in the process.
By the end of the third, things were looking grim for the fifth place team, down 18 points. With everything on the line, the Royals sprinted out of the gates to start the fourth. Rallying on their veteran shooters and well-practiced set plays, Douglas looked to mount a comeback against the staggering Blues. They ended the quarter with a 12-0 streak, but it was too little too late for the Royals, as the hometown Blues rode their lead to a quarterfinal win, taking the game, 83-74.
Despite the loss, it was not all gloom and doom for the team. Grant Campbell ended the game with a double-double, scoring 14 points and picking up 10 rebounds. After the game, Beausoleil spoke about the team’s performance, and the season as a whole.
“I love how positive this team is. They always have a great outlook on the game, what we’re doing well, what we need to improve on, and they’re not negative about anything. If you don’t have that cohesiveness, you get totally blown out. So I’m happy that the guys stuck together.
“Tonight, we weren’t hitting shots, and they were hitting a bunch of them. They broke our press, so we stopped using that. We didn’t have the season of success that we thought we would have coming into the regular season, nor did we have the season we wanted. It’s been up and down this entire season. But it’s been great coaching the guys.”