Men’s basketball head coach Peter Campbell’s season finale
Laurier bench boss coaches final regular season home game against the Waterloo Warriors
Peter Campbell coached the final regular season home game of his career the way he loved to for the previous 31 years. And he was rewarded with a triple-digit victory.
Saturday afternoon, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team defeated the Waterloo Warriors 104-82, closing their final home game of the season with a victory. Before the game, the Hawks honoured retiring coach Campbell, fourth-year guard Garrison Thomas and fifth-year senior guard, Will Coulthard in a pregame tribute prior to playing the rival Warriors.
The Athletic Complex was complete with Laurier, Waterloo and Laurentian alumni as head coach Campbell led the Hawks to victory, and as Coulthard was gratefully etched in history as the third all-time player for career points at 1,594.
The Hawks took off slowly at the beginning of the game, but then shook off their jitters and began dominating the mid-day contest exponentially. At the end of the first half, the Hawks led the Warriors, 54-35, in the midst repeating a similar outcome of the same matchup earlier on in the season.
After Thomas was injured during Friday Feb. 19’s matchup against the Carleton Ravens and didn’t play the following night against the Ottawa Gee-Gees, neither he or Campbell knew whether he was going to be restricted of minutes.
But the guard closed out his home career with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, shooting 53 per cent from the floor. To Thomas’ surprise, once the flow of the game started to pick up, so did his coast-to-coast abilities.
“I just started feeling good about my ankle,” expressed Thomas.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors shrunk a once 25-point lead to a mere nine points, leaving the Hawks in awe.
“Absolutely nothing good was going through my mind,” said Campbell. “I thought that we were going to give that one away.”
As the chemistry on the court came together, both Thomas and fourth-year forward Matt Chesson finished the game recording double-double performances. The sizeable Chesson finished with a routine 20 points and 11 rebounds. Coulthard contributed to the triple-digit win, recording a team-high 21 points, in attempt to hit 1,600 all-time career points.
But for him, it was all about having fun.
“We just wanted to go out and have fun … we just had to go out there and play our best,” said Coulthard.
As the three-headed dragon of Campbell, Coulthard and Thomas move on after this season, there will certainly be big shoes to fill by the up-and-coming rookie Hawks. Simon Mikre, alongside Owen Coulthard, will be the prodigies of the Laurier program. Mikre, the first-year guard was on both sides of the court Saturday, tallying six points, nine assists, seven rebounds and hit 101 assists in the regular season, a stat-line that certainly left an impression with Campbell.
“[Mikre]’s put enough work in that he’s going to be a key in this team over the next three or four years, and that’s perfect,” he said.
“I know I’m leaving some parts in place for whoever comes in,” Campbell continued.
Ending the regular season with momentum, the Hawks will finish 11th in the Ontario University Athletics, according to RPI system, and faces the sixth-seeded Brock Badgers in the first round of the playoffs. The last time the two met was in early January, where the Hawks lost 91-67. Laurier takes on the Badgers on March 2 in St. Catharines, in the Bob Davis Gymnasium. Tip off is at 8:00 p.m.