Falcons enter playoffs as confident underdogs

The Langara basketball teams have booked their spots in the PACWEST championships held March 3-5

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By Juan Ramírez

This story has been updated to include comments from Langara players Royce Sargeant and Stefany Martinez.

Expectations are soaring among the Langara men’s and women’s basketball teams as the squads prepare for the PACWEST championships.

The Falcons men enter the playoffs ranked fourth, while the women are underdogs occupying the final playoff spot among six teams.

Overcoming injuries

Falcons women’s coach Virginia Watson said the season has been filled with challenges, but momentum is on the team’s side.

“This season, we’ve definitely had our ups and downs,” said Watson. “We have a lot of injured players on the sideline, unable to participate, which is too bad. But in saying that, we’ve been really resilient, especially in the second half of the season.”

Langara’s first year guard and forward Kate Carkner is looking forward to surprising the rest of the league with her team’s improvement.

“I think it’s only going to go up from here since we started off the year kind of rough, and we had a lot of obstacles. We’ve been finding more of our groove and figuring out how good of a team we can be,” said Carkner. “I think the playoffs will be a really good chance for us to prove ourselves beyond just the record and what the numbers show . . . we have potential.”

Teamwork and rebounds

Men’s coach Paul Eberhardt added that a lack of unity early in the season posed an obstacle, but the team has developed cohesion.

“Our biggest challenge has been running together as a team…we’re still learning how to do that, but it’s getting better,” said Eberhardt.

Royce Sargeant, the men’s point guard, said the team is looking beyond just winning the PACWEST championship.

“Our goal is to win nationals. So that’s our expectation: to make it to finals in [the PACWEST] playoffs, hopefully, and then go off to nationals,” said Sargeant.

For the men’s team, focusing on rebounds is crucial for the upcoming tournament.

“If we go out and control the rebounding like we have all year . . .  we win the game. So that’s always a key for us. So that’s something we’ll continue to emphasize,” said Eberhardt.

Women’s forward Stefany Martinez said taking care of her team’s health is important for playoff success.

“We are taking care of our bodies because it’s been a long season, so the coach is asking us to receive physiotherapy . . . then we are just looking forward to improving our offensive and defensive techniques,” said Martinez.

She added that her team has been studying their opponent to identify star players, which will prepare the Falcons’ defence.

The 2022 PACWEST basketball championships begin on Thursday, March 3, end on Saturday, March 5 and take place at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford.

Watch the video above to hear women’s coach Virginia Watson discuss her team’s growth, challenges and cohesion this season, and to watch the women’s gameplay action.

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