In a matchup that features your beloved Handsworth Royals versus the Western Canada Red Hawks out of Calgary, we should be settling in for an entertaining Friday night of hoops in North Van.
Western Canada is quickly making an impact in this tournament as an extremely athletic team who relentlessly applies their full court press all game long. It has become clear early on that if Handsworth does not figure out a way to break this press, they could be in trouble. As an alternative, if the press break does not work, they may be able to use Amir’ Hajisafar’s neon green tights and neon orange sneakers as a distraction.
On this Friday night at Handsworth gym, the crowd can feel at ease as the security guards are keeping this rowdy crowd under control. What does create a bit of an uneasy feeling, at least for those supporting the home squad, is the dominance shown by the Calgarian team thus far. Halfway through this competition the Red Hawks have been by far the stronger squad and have pulled away by 17 at the half. Foul trouble for Bryce McLean and Michael Gajdics of the Royals made that first half just that much more difficult. Handsworth will hope with those two being well rested they can make an early run in the third to tighten this match up.
The presence of Bryce McLean back on the court seems to have calmed the Royals as they have started to find ways to beat the press for easy buckets early in this second half. Either that or Cam Mowat delivered a Friday Night Lights motivation speech at halftime.
Spending the day seeing what Vancouver has to offer, including visiting the Vancouver Aquarium, has not seemed to tire these young Calgarian’s out. A healthy rotation of the full roster for the Red Hawks have enabled them to keep their legs fresh well into the second game of this Tournament.
A defensive fight through the third quarter has brought the Royals within 12 points heading into the final quarter.
In a last ditch effort to pull out a miracle comeback win, the Royals have attempted to give the Red Hawks a little bit of their own medicine by applying a full court press of their own.
At the end of the day, the pressure was just too much for the Handsworth Royals as they fell to the Red Hawks by 17.
As an interesting side note; Handsworth Royal McWilliams was coached in Calgary as a mini-player by Western Canada Head Coach Steve Wiebe. Eventually the McWilliams family saw the light and came to the coast so that their son could play for Royals’ Coach Cam Mowat.