It’s starting to look like it’ll be a long Christmas break for the Quest Kermodes men’s basketball team.
After starting the season with four straight losses, the Kermodes came up short last weekend, dropping two games on the road: a 70-54 decision to the Douglas College Royals and a 70-67 defeat to the Columbia Bible College (CBC) Bearcats.
In Friday’s (Dec. 2) game against Douglas, Quest came out starving for its first win of the season. The Kermodes stayed right with the Royals for the first quarter and had the score tied at 17 after the first 10 minutes. To start the second frame, Kermodes guard Dylan Kular scored five straight points to put the visiting squad on top, but it would prove to be a short-lived lead.
A combination of horrific shooting from Quest and inspired defence from Douglas opened up a massive lead for the Royals that extended well into the second half.
During that stretch, Quest was forced into bad looks late in the shot clock on countless possessions, and at one point they missed the rim entirely three times in a row, giving the raucous Royals’ crowd a lot to work with.
“A little bit of it was foul trouble,” said Kermodes head coach Sean Shook. “We stopped doing the stuff that we were doing well in the first half and started deviating from what we want them to do within the system offensively. And then we had a couple opportunities to hit shots but we didn’t, and they’re pretty good in transition and made us pay.”
Quest was outscored 39-17 in the second and third quarters, and from there they put themselves in a hole too deep to climb out of.
Down 56-34 heading into the final frame, the Kermodes fell victim to a quick 11-5 run by the Royals, boosting the deficit to 28.
But then in a move that no one saw coming, Quest began to pour on the points, outscoring Douglas 15-3 in the final three minutes of the game. However, it was too late, as the Royals relied on the cushion they had built in the middle quarters to carry them late in the game.
“Quest runs an offence where you have to always be alert, because they’ll catch you on something if you’re not playing good defence,” said Douglas head coach Denis Beausoleil. “It wasn’t fun to watch the threes rain on us in the fourth.”
Second-year Kwantlen transfer Dylan Kular led the Kermodes in scoring with 14 points including four from beyond the arc. Leading the way on the boards for Quest was Brodan Robertson and Vlad Smiljkovic, who each snagged seven rebounds.
After the tough loss, Shook was optimistic about the youth of his squad, recognizing that it might hurt them now, but that it should provide a solid foundation for years to come.
“I think [our youth] affects us in everything we’re doing,” he said. “You look around the league, and there’s a lot of guys that may only be in their second or third year of eligibility, but they’re in their mid 20s, so it’s a big difference.
“The guys are starting to get a little bit better, but experience is experience, you only get it by getting older. The nice thing is hopefully these older guys move on, and in a couple years we’re that older team.”
The Kermodes followed that effort up with another loss on Saturday (Dec. 3), dropping a 70-67 decision to CBC. It was a devastating loss for Quest, as both teams entered the contest as the only two teams without a win in Pacwest play. Gurminder Kang led the Kermodes with 18 points and five rebounds.
Quest’s record is zero wins and six losses and more unsettling is the team’s apparent lack of offence. They’re averaging only 64 points a game, while giving up 83 — not exactly a recipe for success.
The Kermodes will stay busy in December, with two exhibition games in Washington State on Saturday (Dec. 10) and Monday (Dec. 12), along with a trip to Idaho the following weekend to take part in the Lewis-Clark State College tournament.
For more information on Quest athletics, visit www.questkermodes.ca.
— With files from Ben Lypka