Losing streak continues for Hawks as they lose to the Warriors

Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

The Wilfrid Laurier men’s basketball program is in the midst of a four-game slide and this culminated in an 85-74 defeat coming at the hands of rival Waterloo, on the Golden Hawks’ home court.

But, if one takes a closer look at the men’s varsity basketball team, they will see a squad rife with talent, but struggling with consistency. After the game when describing his team’s troubles, head coach Justin Serresse said: “We were hesitant [and] nervous and it showed tonight. We played scared to lose.”

Laurier showed flashes of their true potential, like Ali Sow shooting 7-10 from the field, 2-3 from beyond the arc and amassing a team-high 19 points; or Tevaun Kokko, grabbing two steals, leading his team with four rebounds and hustling all over the court, contesting every opponent’s shot and diving for every ball not anchored to a player’s hands. But it takes more than individual efforts and brief stretches of remarkable play to win in the OUA and Friday night’s game was no exception.

The contest began with the Warriors knifing through the Golden Hawk defense to take a 9-point lead inside of the first three minutes of play. But the Golden Hawks fought their way back, aggressively contesting shots and finding enough offense to tie the score at 19 to end the first quarter.

However, the momentum gathered in the first-quarter sputtered in the second, when Waterloo outmuscled Laurier on the glass and continued to shoot the ball well, pulling away from the Golden Hawks to end the half up 45-38.

But there is a silver lining amongst the frustration. Friday night’s fourth quarter showed that when Laurier is energized, focused and in-sync with one another, they are more than just a nuisance to play against. When Laurier is playing at its peak they are downright scary.

Half-time provided no relief for the Golden Hawks, and the third quarter saw them score 13 points to Waterloo’s 20, further opening up the gap between the two teams to create a 14-point deficit heading into the final quarter of play.

But, staring down a score of 65-51 with only 10 minutes left in the game, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks did what they do best; they fought. They fought for rebounds, they fought for loose balls and they fought to contest every single shot, sprinting the length of the court, looking both fresh and determined as they turned in a 23-point quarter, their best of the night.

The intensity of the quarter put the Warriors on their heels, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit incurred from the two previous quarters.

“At the end we played free because we knew we were going to lose. We knew we were going lose but we just played, we were playing with pace, setting up pick-and rolls. (The rest of the night) it was just not there,” Serresse said.

When asked what effect the month-long winter break will have on his team coach Serresse said the team could use the time off.

“We’re in a bad rhythm [and] the break is coming at a nice time for us. [We need to] re-gather our thoughts and regain our confidence. Right now I feel like the guys are overthinking. At the end when we didn’t do that it showed.”

It’s difficult to lose a big game — even more so when it’s on your home court — and pessimism and disappointment are natural emotions after a fourth-straight loss.

But there is a silver lining amongst the frustration. Friday night’s fourth quarter showed that when Laurier is energized, focused and in-sync with one another, they are more than just a nuisance to play against. When Laurier is playing at its peak they are downright scary.

Evidently it is not a lack of talent Laurier suffers from, nor a lack of passion, but merely a lack of consistency.

If the Golden Hawks can extend their brilliance from a single quarter to a full game, they might just be gearing up for a whirlwind of a run in the second-half of their season. The talent is there, the coaching is there and hopefully — after some quiet contemplation during the winter break — the wins will be too.

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