If the Sardis Falcons have designs on the school’s first senior boys’ basketball title, they know that the road goes through W.J. Mouat.
Perennial contenders in the Fraser Valley East, the Hawks are a massive wall standing in the way of the upstart Falcons.
Hayden Lejeune and crew host the Hawks Friday night in the Sardis gymnasium, looking to knock down that wall.
Tip off is 6:30 p.m.
“We need to beat them to have a chance at first or second in the league,” Lejeune said.
This is the second meeting of the season between these two teams, with W.J. Mouat taking an 80-71 decision in Abbotsford Jan. 7.
“It was tied most of the way, then their little point guard (Corey Hauck) started going off on us,” Lejeune recalled. “He ended up with about 34 points and he was the difference, more than anything.”
Lejeune doesn’t encounter many players who make him feel small, but W.J. Mouat big man Tristan Ettiene is one of those guys. Towering over the court at six-foot-10 and 200+ pounds, he lumbers up and down the floor, causing chaos around both baskets.
The Falcons are 3-2 in league play.
Their two Sardis losses have come against W.J. Mouat and Langley’s Walnut Grove (59-53 Monday night).
The Walnut Grove loss had extenuating circumstances.
The Falcons were playing their seventh game in nine days with roster ravaged by illness. Star forward Eric Rogers was throwing up midway through the third quarter.
“He still played about 35 minutes and played like a warrior,” Graves said. “Only losing by six in their gym, I was really proud of the boys.”
Graves has seen his team in enough measuring-stick games now to have an idea where they’re at.
“The thing with us is will we bring our A game every night as far as intensity and working hard?” he said. “We match up with every team in height, athleticism, defence and skill. When we bring our A game we can beat any team.”
— Lejeune got some big news on a personal front this week, committing to the University of Victoria Vikes for next season.
Lejeune had just about every CIS school sniffing around, including the local University of the Fraser Valley Cascades.
But UVic head coach Craig Beaucamp said all the right things, and a campus visit sealed the deal.
“It’s an interesting campus with a lot of people,” the teenager said. “The campus seems to be in a nice area and I got toured by two first-year guys who were really nice guys. It seemed like a good culture-based school and it’s built on basketball.”
With his size and talent, his provincial-team pedigree and his team’s success, Lejeune knew it would come together eventually, and said he didn’t spend much time worrying about a scholarship.
But now that it’s done, he’s happy to be getting a helping hand with his post-secondary schooling.
“I didn’t have any particular school in mind when the season started and I was just going to see who talked to me and go from there,” he said. “I’m excited and relieved knowing I’ll get some of my tuition paid for. That was always my goal.”