Head coach Love says team needs to work on outside shooting. He will sleep well at night now. Just had to say that.
By Lucas Meneses-Skoda
Although Kwantlen’s men’s basketball team came away without a victory in the Winter Classic exhibition tournament, the team showed a lot of grit and determination.
To head coach Bernie Love, that is something to be proud of coming off of two losses against strong out-of-province teams.
“We controlled the tempo in both games for the most part, which is what we need to do,” said Love after the Eagles fell to their second loss in tournament play on Jan. 7 against the Lakeland College Rustlers, a high-powered offensive team from Lloydminster, Alberta, who sit at 9-1 in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
“Its one of those losses where as a coach, you know… I’ll sleep tonight. We played really, really hard. I’m really, really proud of them.”
The Eagles trailed the Rustlers through majority of the game, and fell short in a 80-67 loss. The team had to play come-from-behind ball until the last buzzer.
Allowing the Rustlers to be victorious by only 13 points was a feat in itself, as they easily handled the competition by putting up more than 90 points in each of their previous two contests, and by outscoring their opponents for a combined 60 points.
“We had some really good looks, the ball just wasn’t going in. Defensively though… I’m really, really pleased where we are. [We] still make a few mistakes here and there, but we are really grinding it out. That’s what we are going to need to win,” said Love.
Another strong underlying success that came out of the Eagles’ tournament was how they were scoring. The majority of their points were put up by forwards.
With Doug Meyers, a key player and leader of the team, sitting out in the game against Lakeland College due to tweaking his knee in the previous game, forward Ali Bosir, also named a men’s all-star in the Winter Classic, pulled out a huge game with 23 points. Following him, forward Mark Dabrowski had 17 points, and Harpreet Randhawa had 13 points.
In their first loss, where they fell to the Northwest Indian College Eagles, the story was quite similar.
Kwantlen’s energy level was low, trailing for 30 minutes, until in the last quarter, forward Mark Dabrowski caught on fire with 13 points in the final ten minutes to bring his total to 15 in the game. Again, the points came from in the paint as Bosir followed up with 14 points and Randhawa with 9 points.
After the fact, coach Love acknowledged his team’s lack of production from the outside, but is optimistic that if that can change, so can their losing ways.
“We don’t shoot the ball well from the perimeter, I mean that’s just the reality, we don’t. So we’ve just got to start inside-out. Somewhere along the line if we can start knocking down some outside shots, we are going to be very tough,” said Love.