For the second time in less than a week, Kermodes fans got the party started just after the final whistle.
And while it wasn't quite a bronze medal that the Quest women's soccer team won on Oct. 27, the men's basketball game on Friday (Nov. 2) against arch-rival Capilano featured one of the most impressive comebacks in school history.
Buoyed by a packed house inside the “Kermode Kave” and an inspiring performance by the bench in the second half, the men’s basketball team overcame a 17-point deficit at halftime to pick up a 68-65 win.
“It was the tale of two halves,” said head coach Sean Shook. “At halftime I walked in and challenged some of our older players to step up and we made some adjustments. And in the end, some of our veterans outplayed some of the younger guys on Cap.”
But it was rookie Denzel Laguerta, along with former redshirts Justin Tryon and Michael Powell, who sparked a third-quarter turnaround with turnovers, defence, rebounds and hard work on both ends.
“Justin and Mike redshirted for us last year and they had their opportunity tonight, and did a heck of a job for us,” Shook said. “They're proven team players and it's nice to see them get rewarded for their hard work and loyalty.”
Laguerta, who came to Quest from St. Thomas More School in Burnaby, was a blur on the court and made smart decisions with the ball in 28 minutes of playing time. He picked up six points, three rebounds and three assists to go with only two turnovers.
Shook said the play of Jesse Norris was a huge difference in the game.
“Jesse had 15 points for us and it's nice to see a guy who's been injury prone for the last three years put it all together,” he said. “He's a tough guy to guard and hit some big shots for us tonight.”
Quest guard Jose Colorado had a strong night with 14 points on five of 10 shooting and Brodan Thiel led the way on the glass with 11 rebounds. The aforementioned Powell was efficient defensively, picking up four blocks, two rebounds and a steal in just under 15 minutes of action.
Shook said particularly satisfying about the win was the fact that Quest managed to close out a game, something the team struggled with last season. In fact, the win in the team’s home opener equals the team’s wins total from last season, when the Kermodes went 1-15.
Meanwhile, for the women's team, it was close, but no cigar.
Shayna Cameron was inches away from tying the game on the final play of the game, but her shot rimmed out, allowing Capilano to sneak away with the 62-60 victory.
The evenly played game saw the two teams tie in total rebounds, fouls and three pointers made, with several other statistics nearly identical. Quest jumped out to a seven-point lead after one but the second quarter saw the Kermodes score only 10 points and they couldn't match the Blues in the second half.
“It was a pretty even game,” said Quest head coach Dany Charlery, who was making his Pacwest head coaching debut. “In the second quarter they started playing a full court press against us and we had to make some adjustments in the second half.”
Soraya Jung, who made her return to the Kermodes after two seasons away from the team, led Quest with 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Charlery said her return will spell good things for the Kermodes.
“She's a big part of our defence and a big part of our team,” he said, noting that Jung stepped away from the team to focus on her studies the past two years.
Notably absent from the women’s team was the 2011-12 Pacwest women's rookie of the year Katrin Sandbichler. Charlery said she was a game-time decision and her status is day to day.
“She wanted to play and was bugging me all week,” he said, adding that Sanbichler suffered an ACL injury last season. “But we need to make sure she’s ready. We’re still monitoring how she’s doing and her status might change next week.”
Charlery said the team needs to tighten up defensively but he expects they should bounce back after an opening-day loss.
“It all starts with our D,” he said. “If we play great D, the offence will come.”
Both teams will be in action on Friday (Nov. 9) when the Columbia Bible College Bobcats come to Squamish. The Kermodes will then take on the Kwantlen Eagles on Saturday (Nov. 10). The women tip off at 6 p.m., with the men getting underway at 8 p.m.
For more information on both teams, visit www.questkermodes.ca.