Final stretch for Hawks before playoffs

(Photo by Cristina Rucchetta)

(Photo by Cristina Rucchetta)

With two crucial games remaining for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks set their sights on the playoff route.

“We want to be playing great basketball going into the playoffs,” women’s head coach Paul Falco said. “The playoff games are single elimination so whatever teams are playing the best and carrying the momentum are the ones that are going to do the best.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams will finish off their regular seasons this week with games Wednesday against the Guelph Gryphons in Guelph before returning home to host the Western Mustangs on Saturday.

For both teams, these match-ups could make or break their playoff positioning.

“Tomorrow’s the big one,” said men’s head coach Peter Campbell of his team’s Wednesday night date with the Gryphons. “We have the potential, if everything goes our way, to move up as high as fourth, and we also have the ability to finish as low as sixth.

“So somewhere in there is where we’re going to be.”

Laurier’s men’s team currently sits fifth in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West division with a 6-13 record. The women’s team sits with a 9-10 record, also good enough for fifth place in the OUA West.

“I think we can get third, fourth or fifth and the top six get in,” Falco said. “I think we did have control of our own destiny, but I think we lost that with our game on Saturday against Western.”

Falco complimented his team after their efforts against the No. 8 Brock Badgers last Wednesday. The Hawks were able to muster up 49 points in the first half, however were unable to keep the offence up in the second, losing 79-74 in overtime.

Falco said his team’s focus has now shifted to strengthening the offence and keeping the consistency in the rebounding and defensive side of the ball.

“It’s partly the nature of our team that our defence has to be good for us to be successful because we are not going to usually outscore teams by just running and gunning,” Falco said.

Campbell’s game plan includes focusing on Guelph’s physicality in tomorrow’s game.

After that, Campbell looks for consistency in his young team.

“For us, I think it’s trying to get a little more out of our post players and get our freshmen to keep continuing to step up and play better,” he said.

“I think those are the keys for us.”

For the most part, the men’s team is healthy and ready for their final two games.

However the women’s team suffered a potential blow as third-year Doreen Bonsu suffered a concussion last weekend and is listed as day-to-day going into the game Wednesday night.

But both coaches insist they are ready for the road ahead.

“I think we are [ready],” Campbell said. “[We have] two games to kind of fine-tune a couple things and then as long as everybody’s healthy, we’re ready for the playoffs. We don’t need any bad luck in the next two games.”

”Hopefully we can put four quarters together consistently this weekend and carry that into the playoffs,” Falco said.

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