Volume 92, Issue 89
Wednesday, March 18, 1999
Mustangs eye 23rd OUA title
© Dipesh Mistry/Gazette
By John Dinner
They're going to the big dance, but first they've got to take care of some unfinished business.
Before heading to Halifax for the CIAU championships, the Western men's basketball team will take on the Ryerson Rams for provincial superiority Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall.
With both teams heading east for the national championships, the biggest obstacle both teams will have to face is to remain focused on the task at hand winning the Wilson Cup. For the Rams, they will be chasing their first Ontario University Athletics title, while the Mustangs are in search of No. 23.
"It's not only the game, there's a lot of other distractions that go with missing essentially a week of school at this time," said Mustang head coach Craig Boydell. "Guys at this level have heard all the motivational speeches before. Most could probably write some of their own. They have to realize that there aren't too many times in your life where you get to play for a championship."
Veteran Mustang guard Micah Bordeau said he believes whatever distractions there are, the team will be ready to go. "The chance to win will keep us focused," Bordeau said.
At stake in tomorrow's game is not only the OUA title, but also a chance to set the tone heading into the nationals, where it is possible these two teams could meet again.
Rams head coach Terry Haggerty, who has been dealing with pneumonia for two weeks, believes this is an excellent chance to continue gelling as a team and gain some confidence heading into the Final Eight showdown.
"I don't think too many people realize how young we are as a team," Haggerty said, referring to his two rookie starters and bench made almost completely of first and second-year players. "It took us a while to mesh offensively, but we're moving in the right direction heading into games against the best in the country."
Going into tomorrow's game the Rams are currently 18-18 on the season (including exhibition) but are riding a two game win streak with wins over Laurentian in the OUA East semifinal and Carleton in the final.
While the Rams may lack height in the front court, with their tallest measuring six foot six, it's the back court which more than makes up for it and could pose defensive mismatches for the smaller Mustang guards.
"They are a quick, athletic team and we're going to need everyone to show up at both ends of the floor," Bordeau said. "We know what we need to do to be successful. We're not completely there yet but we're working towards it. We're coming together as a team at the right time."
The OUA final gets under way at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Alumni Hall.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999