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Rustlers rolling

Rustlers rolling

Posted in By Colin
 
Rustlers guard Njuguna Waiganjo has at least 17 points in all four games so far this year, helping his team to a 4-0 record. He had 24 and 17 in the two wins this past weekend.
- Catherine Szabo Photo
 
 
By Robb Fenton
Everything is going exactly the way the Lakeland Rustlers men’s basketball team hoped it would.
The team is 4-0, sits in first in the ACAC and after the CCAA rankings came out, the Rustlers are ranked number one in the country.
All that being said, head coach Peter Sambu is making sure his team remains humble as they work towards a league and national title.
Sambu said he was happy with the way this past weekend went for the Rustlers as they defeated the Concordia Thunder 65-50 Friday night and 93-77 Saturday.
“We decided that we wanted to play them a certain way. We stayed the course and got it done,” Sambu said of how they came away with two wins on the weekend.
The veteran coach gave the Thunder credit as they slowed down the Rustlers in Friday’s win, but it didn’t stop the undefeated Lakeland team as they found a way to score points and stay tight defensively.
“They had a good gameplan and tried to slow us down because we’re so quick and athletic and they tried to keep us in a certain range and they did a good job,” Sambu admitted. “When we figured them out we took over from there.”
Sambu was really pleased with the way his team fought some adversity on the weekend and even when things weren’t clicking, especially on the road Friday, his team stuck with it and came out on top.
“It’s huge for us. We’re not always going to have a big win in our favour or be a blowout. There’s a lot of parity in the ACAC, so every game is going to be different, every game is going to be tight,” Sambu said.
With the Rustlers sitting on top of the league and one of only two undefeated teams, the rest of the league is going to be looking to knock them off, so focus is key, Sambu said.
And it all starts this weekend when they hit the road for their first real road trip of the season – heading south to play SAIT and Red Deer.
We have to understand that the hardest place to win in any sport is on the road. Teams play comfortably at home and they play with confidence, so we have to make sure we’re ready mentally and physically to play,” Sambu explained.
First-year guard Aaron MacGowan  said he likes what he sees from his team and likes how they’ve come together so far this year.
“We’re happy how things are going. We’re doing good, hard work at practice and we’re staying focused,” he said.
MacGowan said the work preparing for games has led to the team’s early success and the dedication from his team during the week leading up to the games has been key.
“I think mainly the hard work we’ve been putting in during practice. We’re going hard all the time and we’re very competitive,” he said.
Heading out on the road for the first time, MacGowan knows it won’t be easy, but he’s confident that if his team sticks to what they’ve been doing, they’ll be fine.
“We definitely have to stick together. Against a tough crowd you have to stay focused for sure,” he said.
The Rustlers put their undefeated record on the line this Friday when they take on the SAIT Trojans before heading to Red Deer to battle the Kings.
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