Basketball season comes to an end
At the beginning of the 2012-13 season, it was unlikely that the Wilfrid Laurier men’s basketball team would even see a playoff game, let alone host one.
So Wednesday night, when the fourth-seeded Hawks hosted the fifth-seeded Brock Badgers in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West quarterfinal, it was more a feat than an expectation.
“If you’d said in September that we were going to finish exactly where we finished last year with this team compared to last year’s team, you’d have said no way,” said head coach Peter Campbell. “They’ve done a lot.”
Laurier finished off the season winning four of their last five games and clinched fourth place in the OUA West with a big win against the Western Mustangs in their final home game.
But faulty rebounding, sloppy passes and missed shots became major deficits for the Hawks Wednesday night, as they blew an eight-point lead going into the fourth quarter to lose 81-75 and see their season come to an end.
“Brock came in and battled with us, they got the ball inside… They outrebounded us all game. They did more, I guess,” said fourth-year Max Allin, who played a full 40 minutes and finished with 23 points and eight rebounds.
“I think they just played harder. They did the little things more. We had to box out and get our rebounds and we just couldn’t do it,” echoed second-year Will Coulthard, who recorded 18 points and four rebounds.
For the majority of the contest, the Hawks and Badgers played an even game, matching almost every point until the Hawks’ strong third quarter, which saw them outscore Brock 28-13 in the frame.
However in the final ten minutes, Laurier allowed Brock to climb back up, sitting a point ahead going into the final 60 seconds. The Hawks were unable to hold the Badgers’ strong rebounding and found themselves giving up five points merely to free throws.
“At the end of the game, we beat ourselves,” Campbell said. “We didn’t control the rebounds in our end. As I said to the boys at the beginning of the game, ‘they’re bigger than us, they’re more athletic than us, if we don’t put body on a body every trip, they’re going to get rebounds we don’t want them to get.’”
The loss ends the Hawks’ season, however with everyone potentially returning for Laurier, Campbell will focus on improving the depth of the team.
“I don’t think we had a great season,” he said. “We struggled a lot. There a lot of things that we didn’t do well, but we got better over the course of the season and I think with everybody coming back, if they make a decision to get better, we’ll put them through some situations so they can get better and we should be a better basketball team come October.”
“[It’ll be] just another year for me,” Allin said. “I’ll just go home and train and get as good as I can and hopefully help this team win next year.”
In women’s basketball action Wednesday night, Laurier fell 58-54 to the Western Mustangs in their OUA West quarterfinal in London. The loss finishes the Hawks’ season.
Laurier’s Whitney Ellenor recorded a double-double, scoring 18 points and adding 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, fifth-year point guard Amber Hillis put up seven points and three rebounds in her final game in a Laurier jersey. The only other potential departure for the Hawks is fourth-year Alena Luciani, who racked up six points and eight boards Wednesday night.