Royals impress in first home games of 2019

Royals impress in first home games of 2019

The Royals basketball teams played their first home games of 2019 this weekend, and while both teams faced some initial adversity, they both ended their first home stands of the new year on high notes.

Due to some scheduling changes, the Royals women's basketball team only had one game last weekend, on Saturday night against the Falcons. Douglas fell behind early - the Falcons opened with a 6-0 run, but after a huge triple from Cassandra Brinn tied the game at 13 and appeared to swing the momentum towards the Royals, another six-point swing from the visitors closed the quarter with the Falcons up 19-13.

The Royals clawed their way back in the second quarter, however. Down by seven points with a minute to go in the half, Karalee Antoine hit a three, and as the Falcons tried to answer before the buzzer, Rachel Beauchamp blocked a pass and Jessica Castillo dropped a dime to Beauchamp, who made the buzzer-beating layup to cut the Langara lead to just two points.  

The third quarter saw the Falcons reopen their large lead, as after the Royals were able to tie the game at 33-33 and 35-35, Langara went on a 9-0 run for their largest lead, a mark which would be surpassed when a Jules Duong three-pointer made it 52-39 for the opposition. At the end of the quarter the Royals found themsevles down by eight and in need of a repeat of their second-quarter performance. 

Douglas opened the final quarter with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to a single point, and later got their first lead of the game with a Beauchamp layup. The Falcons tried to answer, but every time they got close to retaking the lead, Douglas would come up with scores of their own. It took Langara until the final minute of play to take back a slim one-point lead at 65-64, but Brinn was able to draw a foul and made both shots. After the Falcons missed their go-ahead shot, they were forced to foul again, and Malena Mokhovikova sunk one of the shots for one of her 15 points off the bench, paired with 11 rebounds for one of the game's two double-doubles. Beauchamp added one more free throw with seven seconds remaining to take her to a game high 26 points to go along with 15 boards for a double-double and sealing the Royals' 68-65 comeback win. 

The Royals men's basketball team started their weekend a day earlier, playing the first of two weekend games against Langara. After a close first quarter, the Falcons took over the game with a 20-2 run that provided the basis for a 36-18 quarter, giving Langara a 55-34 lead at the end of the half. Much like the women's team would need a day later, the Royals men's side found themselves in a big hole, needing a big comeback. Douglas opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run, and a subsequent 8-2 run cut the Falcons lead to just six, and after trading buckets for the remainder of the quarter, the hosts trailed 69-63 with one quarter to play. 

With the gymnaisum rocking, Royce Sargeant iced the crowd with a score just 6 seconds into the final quarter. The Falcons stayed just ahead of the Royals before opening the lead back up to ten points with just under seven minutes to play. The Royals made a dent into the lead, and with the Royals down by seven points, Josiah Mastandrea hit an and-one three-point shot to electrify the crowd, scoring the free-throw to make it a one-posession game. On the ensuing posessions, Mastandrea came incredibly close to tying the game, firing two threes that just missed the mark. Sargeant added five points on consecutive posessions to extend the lead to eight and the Falcons never lookde back, stopping the Royals comeback just short for a 97-91 win over the hosts.

The story was very different on Saturday. The Royals started the game with a huge 21-4 run and never looked back. The Falcons were able to close the lead to eight points before the end of the first quarter and kept pace through to the end of the half, but the Royals stayed with them, making shot after shot and leading by nine at the half.

Douglas had a huge third quarter, one-upping their 27-point performance in the first with 28 in the third. Langara was able to put together a similar offensive quarter to their second, where they kept pace with the Royals, but couldn't match the incredible offensive output of the hosts. By the start of the final frame the Royals were up by 15 points, and the two sides traded baskets in the fourth as Douglas came away with a big 95-79 win and the weekend split. 

The Royals' perimeter defence was outstanding, as the Falcons made just one of their twenty three-point attempts. Courtney Anderson had 27 points and 9 rebounds while Tyrone Asenoguan scored 20 points in just 22 minutes off the bench. Josiah Mastandrea was 6-10 from three for 19 points in 18 minutes. 

Both the men's and women's teams visit the island next weekend to take on the Camsoun Chargers in Victoria.