An end of an era

(Photo by Kha Vo)

(Photo by Kha Vo)

WINDSOR, Ont. — With just under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Peter Campbell made the call.

The Wilfrid Laurier men’s basketball team were in too deep to have a chance to come back in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West semifinal game against the Windsor Lancers. So the head coach decided it was time.

Fifth-year guard Max Allin and fourth-year guard Jamar Forde had played their last game in the purple and gold, and came off the court to a standing ovation from the Laurier fans that made the journey.

“It’s an honour to play for Laurier for five years and play at a high level,” Allin, who had a stellar career at WLU, said after Saturday’s 91-68 loss. “It’s just a great school, great atmosphere, great teammates, great coach. I learned a lot and it’s a great experience for me.”

As Allin came off the court, Campbell grabbed his star player, gave him a hug and gave him his final coaching words and let him take a seat on the bench.

“’How’d you miss that many shots?’” Campbell said, laughing at what he said to Allin as he came off the court.

Then he composed himself.

“‘Thanks for five years,’” he said. “He’s made life pretty special and a lot easier just having him here for five years. He’s a great guy, he cares about his teammates and he tries to set an example for his teammates.

“I don’t know how they feel about him graduating, but I’ll miss the hell out of him for the next five years.”

Unfortunately for Allin, Forde and the rest of the Hawks, things didn’t go their way Saturday. Despite a solid effort from the Hawks, the shots would not fall from anywhere. Laurier shot just 31.5 per cent from the floor and was outshot by an impressive 48.6 per cent by the Lancers.

A strong, dominant Lancer team took advantage of the Hawks’ mistakes.

“It was a disappointing finish to the season, but Windsor came out with more intensity and more effort and we didn’t match it,” Allin said. “They beat us inside and were too big.”

Windsor’s size and strength was much thanks to last year’s OUA West MVP Lien Phillip, who finished with a game-high 28 points and ten rebounds.

“You’ve just got to try to keep him off the board and you’ve got to battle him for position and reduce his touches. And it’s hard to do,” Campbell explained.

“He’s an all-Canadian from last year, he was player of the year from our conference last year, he’s just one of the best players in the country and the guys we have guarding him aren’t. They’re young guys and they’re learning to be basketball players.”

Those young guys that Campbell spoke of will be the future of the Golden Hawk program, including the likes of Owen Coulthard and Simon Polan-Couillard, who both put forth respectable efforts in Laurier’s loss. And Allin believes that the future will be okay with the players stepping in to his mighty shoes.

“The future’s bright for us. We’ve got a lot of younger guys that are hungry and want to put in the work and want to be good, so the future looks good for the Golden Hawks.”

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