Rustlers guard Njuguna Waiganjo had a huge weekend helping the Rustlers to two more wins in ACAC action. The first-year star put up 23 points in their 119-65 win on Friday night and 40 points Saturday. - Thomas Miller Photo
By Thomas Miller
If the rest of the country hasn’t taken notice yet, Lakeland Rustlers men’s basketball coach Peter Sambu has.
Point guard Njuguna Waiganjo once again proved himself to be one of the most explosive players in the ACAC, if not the CCAA, with a 40-point night on Saturday as Lakeland defeated Augustana University College 146-77.
“He’s special,” Sambu said of Waiganjo, who added nine rebounds. “You’re probably talking to the wrong guy because I’m a little biased, but I think he might be the best point guard in the nation.”
The 69-point margin was due in part to six Rustlers in double figures on the night, but perhaps the most impressive part of Rustlers’ dominance was their defensive intensity that never wavered, even when the game was out of reach.
Eight Rustlers players tallied a steal in the blowout win and they turned that defence into offence.
“All week we’ve been working on defensive rotations, coach (Sambu) has been emphasizing that all week and we took it upon ourselves to take it on the court and input them,” said Waiganjo. “It was a great team effort and we came up with the W.”
Waiganjo, who didn’t miss from beyond the arc, going 4-4 and 15-20 from the field, said their intensity stems from a willingness to prove their doubters wrong.
“Ever since the beginning of the year we’ve always had a chip on our shoulder,” he said after the game. “Coming into a new province, a lot of us from out of town, we had a chip on our shoulder to prove everybody wrong. No matter what team we play, good or bad, talented or not talented. Once again we take it upon ourselves to go out there and work hard, every minute every second. We play every game like it’s our last.”
Kadeem Willis, who added 22 points and 22 rebounds for the Rustlers, said his team takes pride in their undefeated record and they’re going to do everything they can to keep it that way.
“It means a lot because we put so much hard work, from the beginning of the season we put a lot of work in and right now it’s paying off and we’re loving it,” he said. “Every day we come together as a team. This is what it is, 14 and 0, I’m proud of my team and I’m proud of the effort we’re putting out there. We’re just going to keep doing it and keep working hard.”
Next up for the Rustlers is Grande Prairie Regional College, who are last place in the ACAC North Division, but Willis echoed Waiganjo’s statement that it doesn’t matter who they play.
“Being the number one team, we come out humble and we’re going to stay humble,” he added. “We know teams are after us and we’re going to stay in the state of mind of basketball and we’re just going to play against the game, not against them.”
Games are set for Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m. at Lakeland Gym.