When a father coaches his son, it tends to be a fascinating dynamic.
Such was the case on Thursday evening, as the W.J. Mouat Hawks took on the heavily favoured Burnaby South Rebels in the quarter-finals of the provincial AAA boys basketball championship.
With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Hawks head coach Sean Beasley called a timeout after his son Josh, Mouat’s starting point guard, launched an ill-advised shot. Most of the Hawks’ 19-point lead had melted away under the heat of a Rebels rally, and the elder Beasley got in his son’s grill, letting him know in animated fashion what he thought of that particular decision.
Josh Beasley responded impressively, taking over the game down the stretch to power the Hawks to a 75-68 victory and a Final Four berth.
In a four-possession sequence, Beasley scored a pair of driving layups, swished two free throws, and whipped a pretty pass to Desmond Bassi for a layup. Burnaby South had rallied to within three points, but by the end of Beasley’s spurt, Mouat was up 67-59 with 1:54 remaining, and they cruised from there.
Afterward, dad said he was extremely proud of his son.
“It’s a special time,” Sean Beasley said with a smile. “I was certainly impressed with how he handled himself mentally down the stretch. He made some great plays for us.
“He raised the bar.”
The Hawks move on to face Vancouver College in the semifinals at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Mouat got off to a great start on Thursday, and their 1-3-1 zone defence merited much of the credit. The Rebels seemed baffled by the zone in the first half, and the Hawks led by as many as 19 points en route to a 35-21 advantage at the break.
Burnaby South came out of the locker room with a better idea of how to attack the zone, and point guard Ater Degal led a furious comeback that drew the Rebels to within 56-53 with five minutes remaining.
But Beasley took over at that point to finish off the Rebels. His modest stat line (eight points, five rebounds, four assists) only hinted at his clutch playmaking down the stretch. Gurminder Kang (23 points, 10 rebounds), Jesse Coy (19 points) and Bassi (16 points) also had big games for the Hawks, while Degal paced the Rebels with a game-high 27 points.
Whether Mouat’s victory can truly be classified an upset is a matter of some debate.
Burnaby South opened the season ranked No. 1 in B.C., and they held the top perch when the final rankings were released in mid-February, prior to the start of the regional playoffs.
Mouat, meanwhile, wasn’t ranked among the top 20 in the final poll after a pedestrian regular season, and their run to the Fraser Valley title was greeted with raised eyebrows.
But while Thursday’s win over Burnaby South stunned most B.C. basketball observers, it was hardly a surprise to the Hawks.
“I wouldn’t call it an upset,” Josh Beasley asserted. “We played as a team. We’ve got a lot of individual talent, but we’ve brought it all together.”
“We know what we’re capable of,” Sean Beasley echoed. “Nobody seems to want to give us the credit due, so we’ll just keep working away at it, one step at a time. I’m sure we’ll be an underdog (against Van College) as well.”