Hawks focusing on the ‘little things’
While for most students reading week is just around the corner, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team is getting ready for the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoffs set for Feb. 19.
In their final home stand of the 2013-14 season, the Hawks hosted the Lakehead Thunderwolves over the weekend in a doubleheader. After an impressive five-point win Friday, 93-88 over the Thunderwolves, the Hawks came out short Saturday, falling victim to the Thunderwolves 76-73. Despite the loss, Laurier maintains third in the OUA West.
The loss brings their record down to 9-11 this season, despite having a strong fourth quarter Saturday that kept the game close and down to the wire.
“We didn’t play badly, we just didn’t play great and they outcompeted us for a good chunk of the time,” head coach Peter Campbell said.
“I thought we got ourselves into a big hole and then battled back and got the lead, and I was pretty pleased with that effort but we couldn’t maintain that effort.”
“Kudos to Lakehead. They kept competing right through to the wire.”
“We played hard and shot well, but unfortunately we got out-rebounded, and just outplayed,” first-year Owen Coulthard said.
“We tried to make the best with what we had. It just wasn’t in the cards today.”
Coulthard finished with nine points, one assist and one rebound for the night.
Fifth-year guard Max Allin had another strong game, finishing with 16 points, four assists and nine rebounds in his final regular season game of his career.
His performance Saturday and 30 points Friday pushes him to seventh all-time in OUA scoring.
In their journey to secure home court advantage coming into the playoffs next week, the Hawks know they have a lot of work to do if they want to be successful.
“I think what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to get a little more consistent with our play. We had some good moments but we still revert back to some bad things and we’re trying to clear that as we go,” Campbell said. “It’s an ongoing battle. But I think we’re just trying to get ready to a point that when it comes to that playoff game — cause they’re all sudden death — that we’re ready to play right away. We’re ready to play 40 minutes worth of basketball.”
Every player has their own way to prepare themselves for upcoming challenges. For Coulthard, it boils down to bringing his game from practice to the game court.
“I just try to make the most out of every opportunity that I get,” Coulthard said. “Try to push myself in practice and all the other guys to try and make us better. Remembering to do what I do best; shoot the ball and trying to make things happen offensively. Trying to push forward instead of back.”
Campbell knows how to keep his boys motivated heading into the postseason.
“The message all along is ‘you’ve got to concentrate and you’ve got to do the little things,’” Campbell said. “Tonight we missed a couple foul shots that would’ve had a big impact on that game, because it turned out we had a foul at the end and we lost by three. If we made those foul shots we might have been ahead at the end and not had to foul.”
“You need to concentrate, you need to focus all the time that you’re on the court,” he continued.
As of Monday, Laurier had clinched a home playoff game in the first round of the playoffs. They will wait to see who they will host after the final week of the regular season.
The Hawks finish their season when they go on the road to play McMaster on Wednesday and Western on Saturday.
–With files from Josh Peters