The Douglas College Royals have a certain piece of equipment that is intended to help them each time they step on the court. It’s not their shoes. It’s not tape or an ankle support. It’s something you can’t see.
A clock. Or more specifically, “The Clock that Rocks.”
“Every arm on the clock refers to a goal that we have,” said Royals head coach Denis Beausoleil. “And one of those arms is mindset. And our mindset going into this game was to stay in the moment. Another arm on the clock that rocks is wherever you are, be there – just staying in the moment. We were confident coming in, we were comfortable, we were relaxed, but the guys really wanted it. And I thought that every one of our guys that got in to the game played well, and I was really happy.”
Last night, the Royals followed this philosophy and hammered the Capilano University Blues 83-65, propelling them to tonight’s PacWest semifinal.
The Royals starting five accounted for 73 of their 83 points, as they kept Capilano out of striking distance by maintaining an eight-plus point lead from the second quarter on.
Second-year forward Dustin Egelstad led the Royals in scoring with 18 points. Third-year forward Mark Dabrowski added 16 and seven rebounds, while second-year point guard Andrew Baron chipped in 14, and third-year forwards Devan Haynes and Harpreet Randhawa contributed 13 and 12 respectively.
Outside of those starters, only rookie Charles Luu connected on more than one field goal. I posed a hypothetical situation to Beausoleil, asking if he would play his veteran starters for the entire 40 minutes if they had the lungs for it.
“Yes,” he laughed. “But they can’t. They have great chemistry together. They’re really close, they’re really good friends. They do all the heavy lifting for us – scoring, rebounding, leadership, setting the tempo. But we can’t play them the whole game, we have rookies that have key roles for us and we expect a lot from them.”
The Royals used the quarterfinal game as an outlet for redemption and to reverse their frustration that stemmed from their last matchup against the Blues. Capilano finished on the plus side of a 69-54 result in the final game of the PacWest regular season on February 16.
“I think the last game, we tried some things that were outside of our personal philosophy. It took a lot of film breakdown to realize what we wanted to do [today],” said Beausoleil.
And it showed Thursday night. Douglas used their size and aggression to suffocate the Blues on one end and run a track meet on the other. Capilano guard Josh Reddy dropped 26 points and hit seven threes, many of which built runs and momentum that seemed to bring the Blues ever-so-close to completing a second-half comeback. But unfortunately the breakneck pace that the Royals maintained throughout the full 40 minutes proved too much for a young squad like the Blues.
Now the Royals have to face a juggernaut of a basketball team in the nationally-ranked Langara College Falcons – holding the top seed in the playoff draw and the number-two rank in Canada.
But Beausoleil isn’t viewing this matchup as a lopsided affair that most would, considering what Langara has accomplished thus far.
“You know at this point of the year, if you don’t have confidence that you can succeed then you’re not going to win anyway,” he said Thursday night. “Langara’s a very tough team. They’ve blown us out a couple of times this year pretty badly. But we haven’t played them since early January, and we’d like to think that we’re a very different team since then. And you never know, it’s a one-game series.”
Last year, after getting bounced of out the provincials in the first round, Beausoleil says that his team was dejected and unsure how to cope with putting so much work into a season that yielded a lackluster outcome.
He said that his players were in a haze, and had so much energy after the season but didn’t how to exercise it. He wants them to remember that feeling going into tonight’s game.
“You practice all year to get to this point in playoffs, but if you lose your first round game, you’re done and that’s it. And here it came today – the same scenario and the same situation – you have one game and if you lose, you walk away and think ‘what if?’”
“Langara’s the number one team in the country, but they have to prove that by beating us,” he added. “But we’re also confident that we can beat them in a one-game series. I’m happy that we’ve made it this far, but we are not done our goal. Our goal from the beginning of the year was to make nationals, and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs along the way – a lot of downs.
“But we have one game for a shot at it, and that’s the situation we wanted to be in all year.”
Douglas and Langara tip off at 8 pm at Camosun’s Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence.