Coulthard emerges in victory
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s hoops squad did not start off shooting the ball well against the Brock Badgers on Saturday afternoon before one of the largest crowds of the season.
At the end of the first quarter, Laurier had struggled to find any solid momentum and despite leading, had not totally discouraged their opponent like they have been known to do throughout what is shaping up to be a memorable season.
Despite their poor shooting performance early on, the Hawks were able to take a lead and maintain it by limiting their turnovers, and rebounding well against a good Badgers team (7-3).
Two of the biggest contributors throughout the afternoon were fifth-year veteran Matthew Buckley and first-year point guard Will Coulthard.
Buckley contributed through hard work and physical play in the paint, pulling down 10 rebounds, highlighted by 6 offensive boards in what ended up to be a 93-70 victory for the home side.
Coulthard, the freshman point guard, displayed his newly discovered confidence on the court by contributing 11 points, 3 assists, and most importantly, limiting his turnovers.
“I think he got his confidence on Wednesday night and that really helped him,” said head coach Peter Campbell.
“Will’s confidence is good when he shoots well early, and he limits his turnovers,” continued the pleased head coach, who is leading his team to tops of the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) West division with a crucial back-to-back against Lakehead next weekend.
On Wednesday against the Waterloo Warriors, Coulthard finished the game with 16 points, a career high for the young Oakville native.
The guard has seen his playing time increase with each boost of confidence and playing time that Campbell and the coaches have given him.
The tough physical play by the Golden Hawks (9-1) started right away, as they established a dominant presence in the paint, highlighted by Buckley pulling down two offensive boards on the Hawks first two possessions, something that did not go unnoticed with Campbell.
“Buck was the key to the game. We didn’t shoot well to start and he was the key to the game, controlling their big guys and scoring like he can; he made great moves inside,” raved the coach.
While the Hawks struggled to score early, they were still able to muster up over 90 points, living up to their reputation of being one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the OUA.
However it’s not the abilities of the team’s offence and their talent to score at will, which excites Campbell, but rather their willingness and aptitude to play physical and tough, highlighted by their defensive play.
“[During] most of the game we did a great job, and our big guys boxed out well and Brock is more athletic than us and longer than us, but I thought our big guys did a great job of competing with them,” said Campbell.
The Hawks stingy defence and offensive production produced the victory, but more importantly, put the team on top of the West division with a 9-1 record, tied with Lakehead.
The Hawks will have to play physical next weekend against the Thunderwolves, as first place in the West is on the line.
The Thunderwolves boast fourth-year, six-foot-seven post, Brendan King. King has the second-best field-goal percentage in the OUA, with a 61 percent shooting accuracy.
The team is second in team scoring behind Laurier with 89.3 points per game.
The doubleheader will be pivotal for the Hawks’ playoff positioning in a season full of high hopes and promise.