Douglas Royals Killer Combo of Athwal and Mahal Crushes Quest Kermodes
NPH Top Performers:
- Mity Mahal – 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 3-5 from three-point
- Ravi Athwal – 17 points
- Malcolm Mensah – 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks
- Dylan Kular – 14 points, 4-8 from three-point
NEW WESTMINSTER, BC–Jordan and Pippen? Stockton and Malone? I’m sorry but ‘Athwal and Mahal’ just has a better ring to it.
After seeing major contributions from secondary players in last week’s victory against Kwantlen, Douglas’ dominant duo of Ravi Athwal and Mity Mahal emerged once again as the offensive leaders in a 70-54 win over the Quest University Kermodes at Douglas’ New West Campus.
Athwal scored a game-high 17 points while Mahal dropped 15, and both combined for five of the Royal’s eight threes.
The scary thing is that we probably would have seen a lot more from the two if Douglas hadn’t gone to their bench for most of the second half.
Quest stayed right with Douglas for the first quarter, with the score tied at 17 after the first ten minutes. To start the second frame, Kermodes guard Dylan Kumar scored five straight points to put the visiting squad on top.
Then a combination of horrific shooting from Quest and inspired defense from Douglas opened up a massive lead for the Royals that extended well into the second half.
During that stretch, Quest was forced into bad looks late in the shot clock on countless possessions, and at one point they missed iron three times in a row, giving the heckling home-crowd baseball fans all the material they ever needed.
“I think the guys played a lot harder [in the second and third quarters],” said Royals head coach Denis Beausoleil. “It just seemed like Quest had opportunities to score, then we’d end up tipping a pass or guys were in good enough defensive possession that we could make a play.”
Quest’s shooting woes could be attributed to the Royals playing with a higher level of intensity, or the fact that the baseball boys brought out their kazoos at this point.
That brief 5-0 run by Quest to start the second was followed by an 11-0 run from Douglas, leading to 36-26 score at half time.
The second half didn’t start out any better for the Kermodes.
Athwal hit back-to-back treys midway through the third quarter, extending the Royals lead to 19. More turnovers and missed shots ensued for Quest, and the end of the third saw them looking up at a 56-34 hole to climb out of.
Douglas boosted their lead to 67-39 with just under five minutes left in the game, thanks in large part to a strong performance off the bench from second-year forward Malcolm Mensah, who finished with 14 on the night.
And just when you thought the Royals were running away with it, Quest pumped in 20 points during the fourth; three points more than they had mustered in the second and third quarters combined. But it was far too late, as the comeback started with about two minutes and change left in the match, clearing the way for the Douglas’ third straight win.
“We stopped doing the stuff that we were doing well in the first half and started deviating from what we wanted to do within the system offensively,” said Quest head coach Sean Shook. “And then we had a couple opportunities to hit shots but we didn’t, and they’re pretty good in transition and made us pay.”
Although happy with the win, Beausoleil wasn’t ecstatic about Quest’s 15-3 run to close the game.
“Sometimes in this league, making playoffs or not making playoffs, or getting a first-round bye or not getting a first-round bye comes down to point differential,” he said. “We talk about this in most games and at practices as well… It may be the deciding factor if you make playoffs or not, and it’s happened in the past. And the guys are well aware that they need to continue to play hard, because point differential is important.”
With the victory, Douglas improves to 4-2 on the season while Quest remains winless with a record of 0-5 in the PacWest. As the Royals are set to host Capilano University Saturday night and the Kermodes travel out to Chilliwack to face Columbia Bible College, both squads are acknowledging how important their last games before the winter break will be.
“The guys are pretty pumped to be playing them,” said Beausoleil. “After Friday night games we always talk about Saturday’s opponent, and I think the guys are really ready.”
“It’s a flat-out must win,” said Shook. “We don’t really have a choice. To go into the break winless, and put yourself in that hole where you got to climb over everybody in the second half. You know at least it evens us out a little bit [if we win], and gives us a fighting chance going into the second half.”
-Quest was outscored 39-17 in those middle quarters, and shot just 20.6 per cent from the field in the second half.
-The Kermodes did not shoot a single free-throw in the first.
-If Douglas wins their game Saturday night against Capilano (4-1) and if Camosun (also 4-1) loses to UNBC (3-2), it will put Douglas in second place in the PacWest standings, behind VIU.
-As the crowd was filing out after the game, a female fan from Quest ripped into the belligerent Douglas baseball fans, saying “Don’t you guys have something better to do on a Friday night?” This is the second time a fan [whom I’ve presumed both times was a mother] has taken offense to their heckling. This is also the second time that I wished the baseball kids would respond to the criticism by setting off an air-horn in the face of the overreacting mom.
-Beausoleil’s take on Quest putting together a run late in the game: “It wasn’t fun to watch the threes rain on us in the fourth.”
-Shook on his team’s youth: “I think it affects us in everything we’re doing. You look around the league, and there’s a lot of guys that may only be in their second or third year of eligibility, but they’re in their mid twenties, so it’s a big difference. The guys are starting to get a little bit better, but experience is experience, you only get it by getting older. The nice thing is hopefully these older guys move on, and in a couple years we’re that older team.”