LANGLEY — One more sleep until tip-off here at the 2019 CCAA men’s national basketball tournament, and if one thing is certain, the Langara Falcons are not attempting some grand, over-night re-invention of their hoops persona.
“I think if we’re looking at it honestly,” Falcons head coach Paul Eberhardt said, “we’re at the point where we need to outscore people. We didn’t get to where we wanted to defensively, but we’re way ahead offensively and so we have developed a mantra of getting out there and outscoring people while mixing it up on defence.”
That’s about as honest and transparent a state-of-the-union as you’re ever going to hear from a head coach, especially on the eve of the national championships.
Heading into the CCAA national tournament, Langara (9-9) is coming off a PacWest campaign in which it led the entire conference in scoring.
Yet the team it will face on Thursday (7:30 p.m., full opening-round schedule below) in its opening round game at the Langley Events Centre, the No. 1-seeded Holland Hurricanes of Charlottetown, PEI, are one up on them.
They led the entire CCAA nation in scoring.
Yet leave it to Eberhardt, who led Langara to the 2014 national title and has coached for 35 seasons, to cut straight to the chase with his players on what the underdog Falcons need to do.
“I said to the guys that we averaged 99 points per game, and we gave up an average of 101,” he began. “So all we need is one extra stop per quarter and we’re giving up 93 instead of 101.”
Boil it all down to its David vs. Goliath essence, and the Falcons are an offensively gifted team under a veteran head coach with absolutely nothing to lose and absolutely nothing off the table, including all manner of wrench-throwing junk defences.
“After we got swept by Cap it was a bad weekend,” remembers Eberhardt of losing a pair to North Vancouver’s Capilano Blues on the final weekend of January. “Normally I would have run their butts off. But we had to figure out at that point who we were. (The players) had some good answers and it gave us a bit of clarity. I just have to make sure they don’t completely think they don’t have to play any defence.”
Holland, of the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association, averaged a CCAA-high 110.6 ppg while allowing 79.3 ppg, for a plus-31.3 differential.
The Hurricanes had six double-figure scorers, led by the 23.5 points of Jace Colley and the 21.4 ppg of Roosevelt Whyley.
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but I think we’re in a good place,” said Eberhardt. “Our practices have been pretty intense and we’re having a lot of fun. We know we’re big underdogs and we’re embracing it.”
The winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal finale will face the winner of Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. game between Sheridan and Montmorency in a 7:30 p.m. Friday semifinal.
The two losers will face each other on the consolation side of the draw 3 p.m. Friday.
Saturday’s final is set for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
CCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL
(all games at Langley Events Centre South Court)
TOP HALF DRAW
1 p.m. — Vanier Cheetahs vs. Humber Hawks
3 p.m. — SAIT Trojans vs. Vancouver Island Mariners
BOTTOM HALF DRAW
5 p.m. — Sheridan Bruins vs. Nomades de Montmorency
7:30 p.m. — Holland Hurricanes vs. Langara Falcons
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