Mar 18, 2014
The Langara men’s basketball team capped off a truly impressive year by winning the schools first men’s national basketball championship since 1999. “This is an amazing group of young men and I am so proud of hard they worked and how much heart they showed on our way to winning the gold medal,” said head coach Paul Eberhardt. The CCAA Men’s Basketball National’s were hosted in BC this year at Quest University Canada in Squamish. On Wednesday night at the CCAA All-Canadian banquet Coach Eberhardt was recognized as the PACWEST Coach of the Year and Brody Greig was recognized as an All-Canadian for the second straight year.
The squad went in to the tournament as the #1 seed and opened up the first day against the #8 seed the Concordia University College of Alberta Thunder. Both teams showed some nerves in the first quarter ande Langara led 19 to 14 but in the second quarter the Falcons sprung to life. Langara got their impressive fast break on track out scoring the Thunder 26 to 18 to lead 45 to 32 at the half. The Falcons running game continued to impress in the second half as they scored 58 points cruising to a 103 to 77 win. Greig got off to an impressive start in the tournament as he led the team with a triple-double scoring 14 points grabbing 10 rebounds and passing for 14 assists. “What can I say Brody makes it look so easy, he is a triple-double machine,” said Coach Ebe. Elliot Mason had a great shooting game as he went 10 for 16 from the field including 4 three-pointers to score 25 points; he also pulled down 10 rebounds. Jitinder Lohcham also had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds while Garrett Ling-Lee scored 15 points. Glenn Ruby scored 11 points and played great defense as did Max Neumann who netted 9 points.
The semi-finals featured a game with the #4 ranked Quebec Champions, the Vanier College Cheetahs from Montreal. The Cheetahs are a very talented athletic team who frustrated the Falcons in the first half with their aggressive defense. The Falcons were unable to get their fast break attack going and as a result they trailed the Cheetahs 43 to 38 at the half. While Langara managed to get the tempo higher in the third quarter Vanier responded once again out scoring the Falcons 28 to 25 and Langara went in to the 4th quarter trailing 71 to 63. Teams were trading baskets for much of the fourth quarter but Langara could not manage to cut the deficit and things were looking pretty bleak as the Falcons trailed by 10 points with only 1:40 remaining. However showing an amazing never give up philosophy Neumann hit a short bank shot to cut the lead to 8. After a good defensive stop Greig pushed the ball quickly and found Lohcham for a lay-up to cut the lead to 6 but then after a Langara foul Vanier made one of two free throws to put the lead back at 7. On the next possession Neumann drove and kicked it out to Greig who passed it to Mason who nailed the three-pointer to cut the lead to 4. After a time-out Vanier scored on an offensive put-back but once again Langara responded with another three ball from Mason to make the score 94 to 91 with 21 seconds remaining. Langara then put on a full court press and Lohcham jumped in to the passing lane for the steal and after passing the ball to Greig he calmly waited to find an open Mason who knocked down yet another trey to tie the game at 94 with 9 seconds remaining. The Falcons then played great team defense trapping the ball screen and the game went in to overtime. The five minute overtime period was extremely close and with 35 seconds left trailing by two points Greig drove to the hoop and was fouled but scored the hoop and then made the free throw to give Langara a 101 to 100 lead. Vanier showed great resiliency on their next possession scoring a tough lay-up and with 10 seconds left the Cheetahs were ahead 102 to 101. After a time-out the Falcons ran a staggered screen for Brody who calmly got to the rim and scored the winning lay-up. “This may have been the most impressive comeback of any team I have ever coached,” said Eberhardt. “To be honest I am still trying to figure out how we won that game?” Mason scored an incredible 18 points in the fourth quarter to spark the Falcons comeback. “Nobody puts more time in the gym than Elliot,” noted Eberhardt. “All those hours in the Langara gym and the Richmond Oval taking tens of thousand of shot paid off for him in a big way.” Mason led the Falcons with 33 points including 6 three-pointers and he also collected 8 rebounds. Lohcham had another double-double with 22 points and 15 rebounds and Greig pulled off yet another triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists. Neumann and Ruby continued their strong defensive play and rebounding limiting the talented Vanier guards to 33% shooting.
In the finals the team played a very talented and experienced Red Deer College Kings who upset the #2 seeded Sheridan College Bruins in the other semi-final. The first quarter was text book fast break for Langara as they scored early and often on their way to a 29 to 23 first quarter lead but the pace slowed in the second quarter as the Falcons led 45 to 41 at the half. The third quarter was dominated by Red deer as the Kings zone gave Langara trouble and they only managed to score 10 points and they went in to the last quarter trailing 61 to 55. The Kings extended their lead to 10 with 8 minutes remaining but once again the Falcons would not go away and led by Greig they went on a run out scoring Red Deer 22 to 5 to take an 81 to 74 lead with 30 seconds remaining. However just when you thought Langara was going to win guard Lloyd Strickland had other ideas as he hit his first of 4 long three-point bombs in the last 30 seconds. “I have never seen anyone do that in my 30 plus years of coaching,” commented Eberhardt. Strickland’s heroics made it very interesting but Red Deer had to foul and Greig stepped to the line and calmly made 7 of 8 free throws to seal the game. Red deer had a chance with 4 seconds left but Langara got the stop and won the National Championship 88 to 86.
- The Falcons finished the year with an impressive record of 25 wins and only 1 loss giving Coach Ebe his 50th win as Langara coach in only two years. The team has gone 50 and 3 with two Pacwest Championships, one CCAA Bronze Medal and one CCAA Gold Medal the past two years.
- Elliot Mason was named to the 2nd all-star team and Jitinder Lohcham was named to the first all-star team
- Brody Greig was named the MVP of the CCAA National Tournament as he averaged a triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists per game
- The Falcons finished the year as the highest scoring team in the country averaging 99 points per game