Photo courtesy Camosun Chargers Athletics

Camosun Chargers Men’s Basketball Head Coach Scot Cuachon knows that in the world of college hoops, change is inevitable. With five players graduating and a handful of others moving on to University—not to mention a pair of assistant coaches moving on as well—the 2018 season provided Coach Cuachon with an ample opportunity to reset the goals for the program.

More specifically, those goals are “more about standards and culture,” he says. “We wanted to make sure that the guys that we brought in—if they were going to be transfers—that they were the right kind of transfers, coming from the type of programs that we wanted, with certain attitudes that we wanted. That attitude being: ‘I want to be here to work and I want to be here to work for somebody else as well as myself.’ And then we wanted to make sure that the young guys that we brought in would buy into that right from the summer.”

This season, Cuachon and his two rookie assistant coaches, Brett Burley and Tyler Verde, have had to integrate an astounding nine new players into the fold. Considering the massive turnover, Cuachon is pleased with how his new squad has come together and bought into his vision. “I feel like they have started something—or they have reset something—that we can be really proud of as far as how they treat each other, as far as how they treat themselves, and more importantly, how they represent themselves out in the community,” he says. “We have a motto from the start, and that’s no matter what happens, we want to leave the jersey in a better place.”

This revamped approach has paid dividends for Cuachon, who has his fourth-seeded Chargers entering this weekend’s PACWEST Provincial Basketball Championships (March 1-3) focused and prepared for their quarter-final match-up against the Capilano University Blues (CAP) who are seeded fifth. “I think we are going to have a really good weekend,” proclaims Coach Cuachon. The sentiment is shared by fifth-year veteran and Computer Science student, Mathew Hampton. “I think we have a good matchup playing CAP. We are 2-1 against them this season,” he says.

If the Chargers triumph over Capilano, it will set up a semi-finals showdown against island rival, the Vancouver Island University Mariners (VIU). Despite the Chargers 0-3 regular season record against VIU, there is good reason for optimism. Two of those losses were by just one point, and as Hampton points out, “In one game, anything can happen.” Hampton appears to be speaking from experience considering just two seasons ago the sixth-seeded Chargers upset their way to a silver medal finish and earned a bid to the CCAA National Championships.

The 2017-18 PACWEST Provincial Basketball Championships tip-off March 1 with the #4 Camosun Chargers taking on the #5 Capilano Blues at 8:00 PM.

Find information including Teams, Schedule, Results & Recaps on the PACWEST Men’s Basketball Championship website.

Games will be webcast on Sports Canada TV

Note: The Bronze and Gold medal games will be streamed on Shaw TV Nanaimo (YouTube channel)

Chargers women’s basketball team paves the way to Provincials with first winning record in four seasons

Photo courtesy Camosun Chargers Athletics

With just one year under her belt and the PACWEST Championships on the horizon, Camosun Chargers basketball coach, Cait Haggarty, has the Chargers’ future looking bright. Beginning her coaching career at her alma mater, UBC, Haggarty returned to her hometown of Victoria to lead the Chargers to their first winning record in four seasons.

More than just returning the Chargers to their winning ways, Haggarty is responsible for inspiring a drastic transformation in the culture surrounding the program. “I’ve always tried to maintain a little bit of fun in it,” she says. “I mean, it’s just a game. I can definitely be more intense and more serious but I often try and remind myself that it is a game and there is a bigger picture that we’re trying to get these girls to see.”

When asked what incited such a significant change, Haggarty was quick to deflect praise onto her assistant coaches, Courtenay Lowther and Niki Sundher, and her players. “I think the coaching staff that we had was a big piece to that. Courtenay and Niki are fun people. And then the group of girls I thought changed the culture on their own too,” she says. “I think it was just the collective of the group.”

Two of those players who share in the responsibility are returning veterans, fifth-year Ella Goldschmid and fourth-year Aija Salvador, who both came out of retirement this season to play for Coach Haggarty. Both guards, who were members of the Chargers’ last winning team in 2013/2014, have been dealing with serious injuries that left their hopes for returning to the Chargers in doubt. “The idea of playing basketball this year was a bit of a long shot with the timing of my knee surgery,” Goldschmid confesses. “But when I heard that Cait was going to be the coach I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to at least try.”

Haggarty’s approach to the game and ability to connect with her players has been fundamental in the resurgence of the program. “I think she brings a unique perspective as someone who played the game at a high level for a long time,” Goldschmid says. “Her understanding of the game is clearly showing in her coaching, and I think her ability to pass that along to us has been a key part of our successes this year.”

Coming off arguably their best win of the season—a 75-57 victory over island rival VIU—Haggarty has her Chargers entering this week’s PACWEST Provincial Championships (March 1-3) as the fourth seed, with a quarter-final match-up against the fifth-seeded Columbia Bible College Bearcats.

“I’m excited to play CBC,” says Haggarty. “Anybody can beat anybody so we have to bring our best game to CBC and we can’t look past that.”  Goldschmid echoed her coach’s sentiments, “Playoffs are like a brand new season and it’s really impossible to know what will happen. We are focused on preparing ourselves to be the best we can for Thursday and the goal is to make our season last as long as possible.”

The Chargers are 2-1 against the Bearcats this season, including a split on the road just three weeks ago. The PACWEST Provincial Basketball Championships begin this Thursday with the Chargers taking on the CBC Bearcats at 6:00 pm.

Find information including Teams, Schedules, Results & Recaps on the PACWEST Women’s Basketball Championship website.

Games will be webcast on Sports Canada TV

Note: The Bronze and Gold medal games will be streamed on Shaw TV Nanaimo (YouTube channel)