With only three weeks of league competition remaining before the PACWEST Provincial Championships, the Camosun College Chargers basketball teams are buckling down to secure their respective places in the playoffs.
For the Chargers women basketball team who is currently 6-6 and No. 5 in the standings, the next three weeks will be crucial as the squad prepares to take on the conference's top teams.
"We need to get one more win in the next three weeks to guarantee us a spot in the playoffs, but where we are going to get that win is the tough question we need to answer," said Chargers Head Coach Brett Westcott. "We have four league games left to play against the top four teams in the conference. We have been competitive with all of them, but in the end we have always managed to mess up at the end of games to lose. If we hope to make the playoffs we need to put together four quarters of quality basketball. Hopefully that goal gets achieved at some point during the next three weeks, but we have only ourselves to blame for being in this uncomfortable position."
The Chargers women could not have a tougher schedule heading into the playoffs and it all begins this Saturday as the team faces off against the No. 1 VIU Mariners in Nanaimo. But while Camosun may look like the underdog in the battle against the 11-1 conference leaders, the competition is not taking any chances.
"Camosun is always tough," said Mariners Head Coach Bill McWhinnie in an interview with the Nanaimo Daily News. "The standings don't matter, these games are close. They are very well coached and they play hard."
Following their match up with VIU, the Chargers women are scheduled to face UNBC (#2), followed by Quest (#4) and Capilano (#3).
On the men's side, the 9-3 Chargers are making steady progress and climbed up one spot in the PACWEST standings to No. 2 this week. And though the team does not have the pressure of taking on the league's Top 4 in their final games approaching the playoffs, there is still a lot work to be done according to Chargers Head Coach Craig Price.
"Record-wise, we are doing very well," commented Coach Price. "But there are a number of things we need to do to improve and continue to be successful against the best teams. In general, we need to stop bad habits and show more discipline both offensively and defensively. We also need to be tougher mentally and learn how to put opponents away when the opportunity arises."
Like their female counterparts, the Chargers men will be taking on the PACWEST's No. 1 team as they face off against the Mariners in Nanaimo this Saturday. With an 11-1 record and a fourth-place CCAA National ranking, the VIU men will not go down easily. But as the league has seen this year, anything can happen as it did earlier this season when the Douglas College Royals (currently ranked sixth) handed VIU their first and only loss of the season in a contest that went 84-68.
"I think playing at VIU will be very tough for us," said Coach Price. "Many of the things I have mentioned are going to be put to the test this coming weekend!"
Catch the PACWEST basketball action on SportsCanadaTV this Saturday as Camosun takes on the No. 1 VIU Mariners! Women at 6pm; men at 8pm.