Lancers close out 10-0 regular season stretch
by Randy Pascal
The loss of some serious firepower does not appear to have left the Lasalle Lancers senior boys basketball team any less prepared to take on all
comers this year.
With the likes of Kurtis Brisebois and Brett Holly highlighting the Lancer graduating class of 2016, coach Kyle Beers and company
knew full well that it would be a different looking team that would look to maintain a championship focus in 2016-2017.
The Lasalle crew continued their methodical march through the SDSSAA ranks on Tuesday, putting away the 6-3 St Benedict Bears 65-36 and completing
the regular season with a perfect mark of 10-0.
"We knew that we were going to be in a rebuilding stage, likely pulling up several younger players," noted Beers, as he joined assistant coach Joel
Rehel in welcoming no less than five athletes still in either grade nine or ten to the squad.
"We're very pleased and very surprised at just how fast this group has come along. They're playing together like they've been together for three to four
years, knowing where the extra pass is going to go. The rotations are really coming on at the right time."
As is usually the case, Noah LaPierre paced the Lancer attack with 28 points, with Mike Babcock adding nine of his own, all in the second
half. In fact, through much of the last two quarters, the defending city champs simply worked in two distinct five-man rotations at four minute substitution
intervals, a testament to the depth of this year's roster.
In the end, Beers is hopeful that the additional variety will prove helpful come playoff time, as the team eyes a return trip to OFSAA. "We've always
been able to push the pace, run and gun, especially with someone like Noah," he said.
"But we really want to have both sides of the sword going down to OFSAA, hopefully this year, and be able to control tempo better than we have in the
past." And while it is the flashes of offensive brilliance that will often leave the audience in awe, the orange and black are at least as well known this
year for their relentless effort on defense.
"We're really ball oriented, we like to trap corners," acknowledged Babcock. "Every chance we get, we want that steal. We run a "run and jump", almost.
You can practice it, but it takes a lot of team chemistry."
The Lancers will enjoy one final tune-up, heading to the Small School Showcase in Burlington this coming weekend, looking to ensure that there
is no remaining rust to their game following the end of January exam break.
"We started a little slow, this was our first game back," said Babcock. "In the second half, things started clicking, we got the ball moving a bit more
and started making shots."
Max McGillivray finished with 14 points in a losing cause for the Bears. The junior contest would see the younger Lasalle crew set the table with
a 48-42 win over St Benedict, with Kurtis Terris draining 14 points for the winners.
Nicholas Burke and Michael Bautista added ten points each for the Lancers, while the St Benedict scoring was distributed largely between
Carter Natale (14), André Gagnon (9) and Eric Huneault (9).
Playoff action begins next Tuesday (Feb 14th), with the semi-finals slated for Thursday and city finals on Saturday.