Changes sweep through Langara basketball

New coach and roster turnover proves for difficult times

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By LOUIS BERGERON

Despite a poor start to the season, the Langara Falcons women’s basketball team is hoping to turn things around by getting their new players up to the collegiate level.

The team, led by second year Langara coach­ Cameron MacGillivary, has six new players out of 13 total.­ They lost all four of their games so far this season.

“I think it has hindered us to begin with, because the toughness. We’re lacking a lot of toughness right now. We’re getting outworked constantly. So we’ve had players that had success in high school, but I think some people haven’t turned it up to the next level,” MacGillivary said.

Young player progress

MacGillivary said he has set up a mentoring system for the young Falcons, pairing them with their veteran counterparts.

“We put the returners with the new rooks. So give each player a kind of connection. Some people have formed a great bond,” said MacGillivary.

Third year Langara player Julia Sprott said she agrees with the coach’s methods, saying she and the other returning players are eager to help their new team members.

“I think that this year we have a lot of systems in place, organization and a lot of structure, and I think that’s just helpful with connecting our team together,” said Sprott.

New coach for the men’s team

The men’s basketball team, which has gone 2-2 so far this season, also has new players and a new coach.

Cassidy Kannemeyer was hired in April to lead the Falcons.

“It’s very fulfilling and I love being in charge,” said Kannemeyer.

He was previously lead assistant coach at Fraser Valley University and then head coach at Capilano University. With an arts degree in history from UBC, Kannemeyer began coaching on community teams before becoming a college level coach. He said he was inspired by many ­coaches throughout his career, was enamoured with being a coach, and loved making lifelong connections with the people he encountered along the way.

“I like being part of something to that team environment, and being the leader of that environment,” said Kannemeyer.

The Falcons lost their most recent game last Saturday against the Columbia Bible College Bearcats 98-93.

“Our strategy changes week to week based on who we’re playing,” said Kannemeyer.

The team retained about half of last year’s players. Kannemeyer faced the challenge of recruiting new players to fill out this year’s roster.

“You have to put your time in recruiting, it takes countless hours to get at least 15 players,” said Kannemeyer.

Dominque Bakuteka, a first-year player for the team, is excited to get the season going. He hopes the Falcons can win their first few home games to get a lead on the season and become a strong challenge to the teams they face in the future.

“The team is working hard to win it all,” he said.

Josh Kagande, a second-year Falcons guard, is happy with the amount of training and coaching he has received so far. He enjoys the freedom he gets from his new coach and feels comfortable playing on the team.

“It’s been kind of nice to see them flourish in their own ways,” said Kagande.

Kannemeyer has a prior relationship with the women’s basketball coach MacGillivary, who was one of his assistant coaches when Kannemeyer coached at Capilano.

MacGillivary was able to vouch for Kannemeyer when he applied for the Langara job.

Both teams will be playing the Douglas men’s and women’s teams on Friday.

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