Falcons earn bronze at PACWEST championship
Langara men's basketball team beat the Camosun Chargers and the women's team cut their season short
By Corvin Vaski
After a podium finish for the Langara Falcons men’s basketball team and an early end to the women’s season at the PACWEST championships, coaches and players are preparing to come back stronger next season.
The Langara men’s and women’s teams attended the championships March 3-5 at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford. It was the first provincial finals to be held since the 2019-2020 season, capping off the return of basketball since the pandemic began.
Going into the tournament the men’s team was beginning to catch their stride playing as a team after struggles throughout the season.
“No one really knew how to play with each other, but we found out that we could play together in the end,” Falcons guard Royce Sargeant said.
The Falcons men’s team won their first game against the Douglas Royals and lost their second game to Vancouver Island University.
They finished the tournament winning against the Camosun Chargers in a wild double-overtime game that saw 18 lead changes and a buzzer beater three-pointer from Camosun at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime. The Falcons eventually won 113-107 to capture third place.
“Even though we had our struggles on the court at times and maybe underachieved a little bit, it’s been a nice group to work with. I was really pleased how we finished the end of the year,” coach Paul Eberhardt said.
The Falcons women’s team played in the first game of the championships versus eventual PACWEST champions Okanagan Coyotes.
“We knew that they were going to come running and gunning, and we just wanted to slow it down. Like really slow it down and take good high-quality shots,” coach Virginia Watson said.
The Falcons kept the game tied going into the half, but eventually the Coyotes were too much and began to pull away on the scoreboard, winning 79-64, ending the Falcons season early.
After her team sustained several injuries, Watson said the team will have a lot more stringent rules around weight training to prevent injuries.
With the season now finished for both teams, the players and coaches get a short break and then it’s back to training and practices.
“I just told the guys, right now you have to focus on school because if they don’t get it done in the classroom, they won’t be able to play next year,” Eberhardt said.
While the athletes are studying and finishing their classes, the coaches are studying recruits and planning what their teams will look like next year.
“The high school championships are wrapping up. Most of our coaches will have been in attendance at some of the championships, watching student-athletes they’ve recruited and then hopefully landing some of them,” Jake McCallum, Langara director of athletics and intramurals, said.
With both teams relatively young, there will be many familiar faces on the teams next year that will bring experience to their teams.
“We are going to try to improve and come out stronger than this year,” Falcons forward Stefany Martinez said.
Langara Falcons men’s and women’s basketball teams played in the PACWEST championships. While Langara Falcons men’s team earned the bronze, the women’s team sustained an injury and had their season cut short. Reporter Corvin Vaski covered some of the highlights.