NPH CIS Team Previews: Cape Breton Capers
This season, will the Cape Breton Capers avenge last year’s brutal quarterfinals loss?
Cape Breton Capers
Head coach: Matt Skinn
Record in 2014: 11-9 (Fourth in AUS Conference)
Playoffs: AUS quarterfinals
Points scored per game: 80.1
Points allowed per game: 78.1
Key players: Meshack Lufile, Kenny Louis-Jean, Cedric Kasongo
Key losses: Sean McCormick, Tevoun Jackson
Last season, the Cape Breton Capers finished in fourth place in the AUS with an 11-9 record, but the team would have been a powerhouse had it simply been able to win more than twice away from their Sullivan Fieldhouse. A 9-1 record in Cape Breton was weighed down by a bad 2-8 record in away games. There are other signs of a great teams too, with the Capers playing no fewer than 12 single-digit games in 2014-15; the first step toward a win is to manage to compete for a win. This season, any success that the Capers have will be determined over the middle half of the schedule: from November 14 to January 23, Cape Breton plays eight of 11 games away from home, with seven of the contests being four-point games.
Key games: at Dalhousie, Feb. 12; VS Dalhousie, Feb. 26
at Saint Mary’s, Feb. 13; VS Saint Mary’s, Feb. 27
The Cape Breton Capers have followed up their peak 19-1 regular season in 2012-13 with two seasons of 9-11 and 11-9. In other words, they’ve treated along in the AUS, which is fine—because making the playoffs is fine.
Just as fine, only way more brutal and hard to stomach, is the 62-60 loss they suffered in the quarterfinals against the eventual conference champions Dalhousie Tigers. Why brutal? Dalhousie’s Kashrell Lawrence made the winning basket at the buzzer. Why hard to stomach? The Capers held the lead at every point during the game, except for 49-48, 51-50 and… 62-60.
This season, Cape Breton will be led by fifth-year forward Meshack Lufile, among the most talented big men in a conference full of them: his 35 points and 11 rebounds against the rivals StFX X-Men in the third game of the season attests to that. A team strength will be depth: in the Capers’ win against Acadia on the opening weekend, six players scored in double figures. The rest of the core of last season’s team, other than for Sean McCormick and Tevoun Jackson, also returns, with Cedric Kasongo, Kenny Louis-Jean and Kyle Hankins all donning the Cape Breton colours once again.
The Capers proved that they could hang with the AUS’s best in the playoffs last season. This season, they need to prove that they can finish the job.