Pushing the tempo at every opportunity and riding the combined hot hands of 6’2″ Will Coulthard and 6’6″ Luke Allin, the Golden Hawks pulled away mid-way through the second quarter for a double digit lead and later held off a pair of Warriors mini-runs to win the first installment of the Battle of Waterloo 95-81 this afternoon. Coulthard finished with a season-high 35 points on 10 for 25 shooting while Allin, steadily emerging into a high-impact OUA player, added 17 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Laurier (6-5, 4-1) shot 11-28 from downtown and turned it over only 8 times in an efficient win that featured their strong guard play led by Coulthard and precocious freshman guard Simon Mitre, who did not have an especially strong offensive game but was steady. Coulthard has the bright green light to pull it at virtually any time and his “run and gun” approach can look very good at times and other times leave one scratching their head on shot selection. But he made several tough shots today including a couple of dagger 3’s, silencing the hometown Warrior crowd.
Allin remains the most intriguing Hawk with his ability to shoot over perimeter defenders from long rang and an uncanny passing ability – Allin made several 40-50 foot one-handed passes on the money and he is beginning to help address the one glaring area that Laurier suffers: defensive rebounding. While 6’7″ Matt Chesson is a solid face up shooter from 15-18 feet and can also score in the low block, neither Chesson or Vlad Matovic are rim-protectors or rebounding forces – Waterloo stayed in the game with 18 offensive rebounds. For the Golden Hawks to truly contend for an OUA Final Four berth, their ability to clean up the defensive glass and establish some type of interior defensive presence is important.
Justin Gunter’s Warriors played very hard right to the end and stayed in the game on the strong work of 6’6″ Ben Davis – he has a bit of Bernard King in him (same spin moves and passing ability) – and could have made it closer had it not been for an off-afternoon for 6’2″ Jon Ravenhorst, who missed several open looks (9 for 26 overall including just 2 for 12 from 3).
Inside, the Warriors have a pair of hard-working, lunch pale posts in 6’7″ Mike Pereira (12 points, 13 rebounds; one of the league-leaders in rebounding) and 6’6″ Muhammed Anwar. Both work very hard at both ends but are not the most accomplished finishers. The Warriors run nice stuff for the most part, are scrappy defensively and attack loose balls aggressively. Laurier made several tough shots in big spots this afternoon including a couple of dagger 3’s after scrambles. Expect this program to steadily improve, including this season as Gunter’s systems are further implemented.