The brand new bleachers at the 'Kermode Kave' were installed for Friday's (Jan. 31) games against the Langara Falcons but for the Quest men's team it was also a brand new experience – losing on home court.
The Falcons, ranked first in the Pacwest, led from start to finish and cruised to an emphatic 113-80 win over the Kermodes.
“They've been number one in the country for a long time and there's a reason why,” said Quest head coach Sean Shook. “We need to get to that level and tonight was a bit of a learning experience.”
Langara went on a 9-0 run to start the game and the closest Quest got was when they made it a 30-24 game in the second quarter. The Falcons were led by guard Brody Greig and forward Jitinder Locham, who scored 22 and 24 apiece. Shook said it was a combination of Langara's players on fire for most of the night and Quest's big three of Cartiea French-Toney, Jose Colorado and Shedrick Nelson struggling.
“They shut down our big three and they didn't make the shots we needed them to make today,” he said. “But they're just so good, you make one mistake and it goes the other way. They seem to get good looks and they were burying shots all night.”
Shook pointed out that Langara shot 55 per cent in the first half and 50 per cent for the game, while Quest's big three made only 14 of 55 shots. Shook did praise the play of Connor Heinrichs and Paul Getz, who contributed in limited minutes. Nelson led the way with 17 points for the Kermodes, while French-Toney had 11 rebounds and four steals.
According to Shook, the team made a nice run in the second quarter but couldn't keep it up.
“It was disappointing because it's the first time we've lost at home in a long time and I thought we had a chance to come back after that run,” he said. “We didn't react as well as we needed to.”
His team remains in second place with a record of 12 wins and three losses but he stressed the importance of finishing in the top two spots and securing a first round playoff bye.
It was a different story for the women, who locked down defensively on the Falcons and beat them 61-38.
The game featured a first quarter that saw only 12 total points scored but the Kermodes led from start to finish. The team had its usual balanced scoring, with Aimee Johnston leading the way with 13 and Shayna Cameron scoring 11. Katrin Sandbichler grabbed an impressive 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
“Everyone contributed and the bench players came out with the same energy as the starters for us today,” Cameron said. “The first quarter was a bit of a rough patch but we got our rhythm and started scoring.”
Cameron said the team has been working on defensive improvements in practice and knew they had to get better after dropping two straight at home two weeks ago.
“Our defense leads to our offense and we've been practicing hard on it and just communicating a lot more out there,” she said.
She said she likes the team's variety of options on offense and it could be a useful tool for the Kermodes in the playoffs.
“Any night anyone can be the top scorer,” she said. “I think it throws off a lot of teams because we have a lot of offensive talent. [Coach] Dany [Charlery] and the team have a lot of confidence in me but whoever takes the big shot depends on the night and really anyone could take it.”
Cameron and the Kermodes improved to 11 wins and four losses after the victory and are tied for second place. Like Shook, she said it's important to place in the top two and get that opening round playoff bye.
She said next weekend's trip to take on top ranked VIU and Camosun will be huge and will likely determine where they finish. But first up for both the men's and women's teams is the Douglas College Royals on Saturday (Feb. 1). The women tip off at 6 p.m., with the men hitting the hardwood at 8 p.m.
For more details on the team, visit www.questkermodes.ca.