Fourth year Camosun Charger forward Elyse Matthews is sixth in PacWest scoring with 95 points in eight games.

Fourth year Camosun Charger forward Elyse Matthews is sixth in PacWest scoring with 95 points in eight games.

Chargers women host holidays hoops tourney

Camosun Chargers women’s basketball team host Christmas Classic tourney

With five wins and three losses it would seem the Camosun Chargers are in a good place, third overall in the PacWest women’s basketball standings.

But what started out as the most dynamic offence in the league has dropped off and it’s puzzling two-time PacWest coach of the year Brett Westcott.

He’s hoping the Chargers can use their eighth annual Christmas Classic basketball tournament, Dec. 28 to 30, to rekindle the team’s scoring. The Chargers open the tourney on Saturday versus the Everett Trojans.

“We get away from our game plan. We can’t give up on the offence and go into freelance mode,” he said.

On paper the Chargers look like a seasoned, well-rounded team with a core of college veterans. Guard Ella Goldschmid is in her third year and forwards Elyse Matthews and Melissa Van Dyk are in their fourth and second years, respectively. But there’s been some injuires, too. Recruit Chelsea Sanchez of Port Coquitlam showed up hurt and hasn’t played yet. Wing Marina Low is also injured and would be playing about 20 minutes per game right now. Third year Karli Keown is also out.

It makes the holiday tournament all the more welcoming as it breaks up a month off of practice for the team.

They’re coming off a tough finish to November, with two cringeworthy incidents. The Chargers went into their Nov. 29 game against the Langara Falcons as the highest scoring team in the PacWest and blew a 16-point lead in the third quarter. It was the second straight week the Chargers scored 42 points.

“We’ve scored 42 in one half this season and then against V. I. University (Nov. 22) we scored two points in one quarter,” Westcott said.

It’s more than one thing causing the offence to freeze but it starts with the guards, which is surprising, as it’s the team’s most experienced back line in a long time.

Back is third year guard Aija Salvador, the PacWest 2010-11 Rookie of the Year, who returned from a year off. At 5-foot-5, her size wasn’t an issue initially, but with fellow ball-carrier Goldschmid standing at the same height, it’s imperative the guards stick to the game plan, the coach said.

“Our guard play tends to abandon the offensive sets we’ve practiced and start going into one-on-ones against taller  players, so they have to be more precise in their execution,” Westcott said. “We tend to lose our (offensive possession) either by over dribbling or a bad shot selection.”

This year’s tournament doubled in popularity to eight teams, up from four teams two years ago and six teams last year. As the only collegiate tourney between Christmas and New Year’s Day it fits a niche.

The Humber Hawks (Toronto) were first to sign up for the tournament with Langara. Once the Everett Trojans and Keyano Vikings (Fort McMurray, Alta.) came on board so did the Capilano Blues and Kwantlen Eagles, followed by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

“We’re coming out of exams now so we haven’t played since Nov. 27; that’s almost a month by the time we practice on Friday (Dec. 27).

Chargers Christmas Classic holiday schedule

Saturday, Dec. 2812:30 p.m. Kwantlen vs. Humber2:15 p.m. Langara vs. Keyano4:00 p.m. Kwantlen vs. SAIT5:45 p.m. Capilano vs. Humber7:30 p.m. Camosun vs. EverettSunday, Dec. 2912:30 p.m. Capilano vs. SAIT2:15 p.m. Kwantlen vs. Everett4:00 p.m. Capilano vs. Keyano5:45 p.m. Camosun vs. Humber7:30 p.m. Langara vs. SAITMonday, Dec. 3010 a.m. Langara vs. Everett11:45 a.m. SAIT vs. Humber1:30 p.m. Camosun vs. Keyano

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