LANGLEY — Paul Eberhardt didn’t rehearse the line, so when it came time to dissecting what went wrong for his Langara Falcons in the opening round of the CCAA National championships Thursday night, the head coach caught himself chucking just a split second before delivering an unintended pun.
“We just got hit by a hurricane,” he said.
The hosts and the crowd favourite, Langara had a healthy house of fans at the Langley Events Centre hanging on its every move over the opening quarter of its opening-round game against the No. 1 seeded Holland Hurricanes of Charlottetown, PEI.
The Falcons showed some real gumption, knocking down shots, battling for tough boards, and trailing just 26-21 after one quarter to the pre-tourney favourites.
Yet when press came to shove, and the Falcons had to start sinking buckets against an experienced foe hungry to grab a Final Four slot on Friday, they just couldn’t find the touch in a lopsided 120-77 loss. (Full Friday draw below)
“In that second quarter, when they pressed us and (point guard) Royce (Sargeant) got through the press, we had wide-open shots,” said Eberhardt, “but we didn’t knock any of them down. For us, we get discouraged when that happens, and then we definitely didn’t play as tough as we should have.”
The Hurricanes were led by their young and their old.
Freshman Jordan Holness scored a game-high 24 points with seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Second-year CCAA Player of the Year Jace Colley, a 6-foot-7 forward, had 10 points.
On the other end of the spectrum, fourth-year Travis Adams scored 19 off the bench, while dual fifth-years Connor Therrien and Martin Campbell scored 20 and 18 points respectively.
“It’s disappointing,” continued Eberhardt. “I thought we would have competed a lot harder. We were 2-for-17 (from three-point range) in the first half. Even if we were 5-for-17 we would have been down eight or nine instead of 19 (53-34) at the half. It’s disappointing because we’re better than that.
“But they are for real,” he continued of the Hurricanes, who will clash with Ontario champion Sheridan in a 7:30 p.m.semifinal Friday. “They are No. 1 and undefeated for a reason, and they shoot the ball unbelievably well.”
Sargeant led the Falcons with 22 points and eight assists, while senior Drake Downer had 15 points and seven rebounds.
Fellow senior forward Grant Galbraith had nine rebounds and five points. Moeiz Athaya added 15 points and Tyler Anderson had 14 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Langara will play Montmorency on the consolation side of the draw at 3 p.m.
FINAL FOUR FRIDAY
(all games at Langley Events Centre, all times PDT)
1 p.m. — Humber vs. SAIT
3 p.m. — Langara vs. Montmorency
5:30 p.m — Vancouver Island vs. Vanier
7:30 p.m. — Sheridan vs. Holland