LANGLEY — The usual week-plus between the finish of zone tournaments and the B.C. championships is spent in different ways by all teams, yet in the end, it’s all about coaches and players gaining energy from each other by reinforcing what it was that got them to a spot amongst the province’s final 16.
In Cloverdale, Lord Tweedsmuir head coach Drew Gallacher and co-coach Bill Ruby were tasked with the job of getting the Panthers back to the spirit of their late-season run, when it seemed for a week or so like they might be the hottest team in B.C.
It’s a run which took them all the way to the semifinals at the Fraser Valley championships, yet a 90-78 loss to eventual champ Tamamawis, followed by a 105-82 shellacking against the Semiahmoo set the tone for the Panthers’ intense week of practice.
“When we played in the third-fourth game, we did not compete and we were very frustrated with the boys,” said Gallacher after his team enjoyed a 20-minute shooter on the LEC’s spacious Arena Bowl floor. “So we went back to basics. We spent a lot of time on defence and the kids really responded well to the tone and the intensity of practice.”
That said, Gallacher has coached many of the players on this Tweedsmuir team throughout their high school careers. It brings added emotion to the No. 9-seeded Panthers’ 5:15 p.m. game Wednesday against Lower Mainland No. 3 and tourney No. 8 seed Burnaby South Rebels.
“This has been a five-year journey,” says Gallacher. “We are really excited to be here, but we’re not just happy to be here. We want to compete and do some damage.
“We know we have a tough road ahead of us with our draw, but we have a good game plan and we have worked with the boys so that they can execute.”
Any thought of having too much time to think about the tournament?
“I always over-analyze everything and that’s why I don’t sleep much,” laughed Gallacher. “For us it’s just about getting out and competing and if we can get out and play our style of run-and-gun, and hopefully get in peoples’ grills defensively, then I like our chances against a lot of teams. We don’t have a lot of height so we have to make up for it with our athleticism and I think we do that very well at times.”
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