All the Chips on the Table in These 2 Series



Two Key Series To Watch –

Regina’s Alex Igual will be a key figure in the series vs TRU            photo-  Regina Athletics


Thompson Rivers  (8-10) at Regina  (7-11) –  A sweep would be ‘party time’ for either squad, and guarantee a ply-off berth, and a split would allow TRU to move on, but potentially put Regina in a mathematical calculation for the last spot.  Regina have wins over Saskatchewan and Calgary, but lost to some non-playoff teams.  The Cougars have suffered through some key injuries to 5th year guard, Aaron McGowan, and 5th year post, Stephen Shields, neither of whom have been available down the 2nd semester stretch.  They are the more experienced crew in this match-up, and may have the leaders to get them a couple of big home wins.  TRU has lone senior, Volodymyr Iegorov, but also tough vets like 4th year Luke Morris, and 3rd year Mike Rouault.  Younger players like guardsTrent Monkman and Madhu McConnell are being asked to step up and make an impact.

Winnipeg (12-6)  at Victoria (7-11) –  The results here are crucial for the Vikes, as they try and grab a post-season spot, but will also effect the future of several other squads (Regina, TRU, MRU, MacEwan)  potentially.  Winnipeg will be guarding, somewhat, against complacency, or maybe just looking a week ahead to 1st round play-offs.  Both these teams are relatively young, with 1 graduating player each –  high scorer, Grant Sitton for the Vikes, and skilled guard,  Jamar Farley for the Ws.   Winnipeg has more depth on the perimeter, and ‘play small’ with big Ryan Oirbans surrounded by guards.  The Vikes Sitton is a 6-8 scoring machine, who is dangerous inside and out, and rookie guard Scott Kellum has been playing very well of late.  UVic has to have at least 1 win, and the Wesmen will look to tune up for an anticipated home play-off date.


Scores from the East –

 Waterloo 96 at Western Ont 77 – There was a day  … quite some time ago … when Coach Don McCrae’s Warriors won 67%  of their ‘CIS’ games between 1971 and 1992.   Waterloo , under 2nd year Coach Justin Gunther are now threatening to make the OUA play-offs, after years of struggle.  They are 7-11, after going 1-19 last season.

at Windsor (11-9)  89 Laurier (10-10)  86 –   There are 2 sides to a dramatic, game- winning half-court  shot, such as the one the Lancers’ Mike Rocca tossed in last night in Windsor.  The winners are hugging, laughing, whooping, and pinching themselves.  The Hawks are left with the dazed stares, and a permanent mental scar.  (Do we over-state?)  Maybe, for some.  But, sadly, the losing can be every bit or more memorable than the winning.

Tonight Quebec – UQAM  at  #8 McGill



Overtime –

5th year UBC-O all-time scoring leader, Mitch Goodwin

  •   Mitch Goodwin, 6-2 shooting guard at UBC-O, unfortunately spent most of the 2nd half of his 5th year watching from the sidelines.  Goodwin, who is the school’s all-time leader in games played (93), and points scored (1204), struggled with injuries later in his career, and was forced to stop playing all together in mid-January. Goodwin, the former Kelowna High School star, and fellow 5th year vet, Cam Friesen, a 6-4 forward from Abbotsford, will be honoured at a Senior Night ceremony prior to UBC-O’s home game vs Fraser Valley on Saturday.   (From Cary Mellon, UBC-O Sports Information Director)
  • We have a flurry of comments following our last 2 posts, most of which relate to the new League structure, and the vicissitudes (twists and turns) of the broad-stroke RPI solution.  One of our favourite contributors / coaches, ‘Tyler from The Herd’ clarifies in one response to  the question, ‘Could UBC have been 20-0, and still not been 1st?’  Tyler tells us , “Absolutely. If we use the default settings on the RPI calculator, UBC would still be the #2 seed with a 0.6118 RPI, behind Alberta’s 0.6210 at 15-5.”    Beauty!
  • Another fan notes, emphatically, that UBC did, in fact , lose a game … to Saskatchewan, 95-78, on January 6, in Saskatoon.  So, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with a coronation of the T’Birds prior to the play-offs being completed.  After all … the Huskies lost to Regina, UFV, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Alberta.  We could go on, but the point is … on any given night, the result is in some doubt.
  • Carter Millar, 6-4 rookie forward , Regina Cougars, on what it’s like to play in Canada West,  “I love it,” he says. “The skill level (in Canada West basketball) is insane. It’s probably the most exciting thing that I’ve ever been a part of and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to have this opportunity. I’ve wanted to do this ever since I started watching basketball as a kid,” he says. “You play at halftime (of Cougars games) in the games in grade 4 or 5 and it’s, ‘Who are those guys? I want to be that guy when I grow up.’    From ROB VANSTONE, REGINA LEADER-POST, REGINA LEADER~POST
  • As the old TV ads from NCAA sport pointed out, university basketball players will be turning pro in something other than hoops.  The 5th year celebrations happening all through February at U-Sports schools are about the many achievements of these young people.  They include academic honours, career development, and the positive experience of being a team member.  Our very best to all 5th year student athletes.  The very best to all of you !

Foothills City Hosts Two Feature Series’


Huskies and Thunderbirds visit the Alberta Foothills 

5th year wing, Dallas Karch of the Dinos              photo – David Moll

The Saskatchewan Huskies (8-4) are on the road for the 2nd straight week, again in Southern Alberta, in a ‘throw-down series’ with the Calgary Dinos (10-2) . Surely with added confidence from 2 wins at Lethbridge last week, the ‘Dogs will be looking to their big forwards and team rebounding for an edge here.  Guards Jaylan Morgan (Toronto) and Lawrence Moore (Chicago) are working well as a pair, and give good back-court leadership and scoring. Forwards,  Shane Osayande  and  Matt Forbes, are both capable of double-doubles in scoring/ rebounding every night.

Shane Osayande is the Huskies scoring-rebounding ace.  photo – U of S

Calgary have the higher scoring rate, and use an 11 + rotation to increase the pace at both ends.  The Dinos defenders have picked the opponent’s pockets the 2nd most in the League, led by guard David Kapinga, a consummate disruptor. Inside, UC has a 3 1/2 man post crew ( Matt Ellis, Mitch Ligertwood, Connor Foreman, and a bit of rookie Jeff Rodehutskors) , who will work at containing the Huskies stars.  2015-16 CW MVP, Thomas Cooper can score inside or out, and he will demand extra attention from U of S defenders.

It may be the depth of Calgary (Lars Schleuter, Jasdeep Gill, Dallas Karch, Jhony Verrone et al …) , or the inside game of Sask.  But, we can also expect foul shooting to play a part as it has done in recent, passionately contested games.  The series can put Calgary firmly at the top of the standings, or it could vault Saskatchewan into championship contention.    Games at UC – 8 pm Friday, 7 pm Saturday


The 11-1  UBC Thunderbirds, riding a wave after topping the U of A last week in Vancouver, bring an assured squad to S. Calgary for a 2 game set with the Mt. Royal Cougars.  Conor Morgan,  Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Will Ondrik, and A.J. Holloway lead a deep and experienced crew, who are scoring 88 ppg vs 72 pts for their opposition.   Coach Kevin Hanson has more talent at his disposal, with Patrick Simon, Luka Zaharijevic, and  Harpreet Randhawa ready on the front line.

The Cougars (7-5), who won 2 last week at UNBC,   answer with Josh Ross, Brett Layton, and Nick Tancon at the forward spot, but they will need the perimeter to assist on the boards, where UBC is +5  and MRU at -1 reb/game . The Cougars guards have taken good care of the ball, and the trio of Derek Wolf, Glen Yang, and Ryan Cunningham have been scoring at a more consistent pace.  We might, but won’t, call this an up-set possibility.  UBC is a heavy ‘over-dog’, but  MRU will compete.   Fri at 8 pm and an early 6 pm tip on Sat.

Fraser Valley (5-7) are also returning to Alberta, but this time to Edmonton for 2 against the 11-3 Alberta Golden Bears.  The Bears, smarting from a 2 game lost weekend in Vancouver, will be determined to get things back on course. That means Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke firing away up front, and Austin Waddoups playing his ‘whirling Dervish ‘ style on offense.  The Cascades need an exceptional effort both ways, but they do have shooters, in Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon.  The UFV defense will be challenged by Alberta’s long-range snipers.  Bears a favourite, with a chance of a Cascades upset.       Friday at 8 pm Mountain, Sat at 7.

Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-6) fly to the Island, to meet the 5-7 Victoria Vikes on Ken and Kathy Shields Court this Fri/Sat. Two wins could serve to put the ‘Horns back in the top 4 mix, but they lost 2 at home to Saskatchewan last week, and weren’t really near their best on Saturday. The Vikes won 2, and now need to step it up even more against a better opponent in Lethbridge.  It’s Grant Sitton and rookie Scott Kellum leading the Vikes, and Dejon Burdeaux with Elliott Sentance called on to shepherd the Pronghorns.  We’ll suggest a split .   Friday tip at 8 pm / Sat. at 7 pm Pacific

 Regina Cougars (6-6) at Brandon Bobcats (5-9 ) –  One highlight this week will be to listen in again to the unmistakable colour commentary of ‘Cats coaching legend, Jerry Hemmings.  Keep it coming Coach !  Meanwhile, both Coach Steve Burrows (Green Cougars) and Coach Gil Cheung (Bobcats) are losing sleep trying to get their respective sides to ‘put it together for 40 minutes’. Twice.  Good match-ups – BU’s Tyvon Cooper vs Reg’s Aaron McGowan.  The Cougars’ Brian Ofori working full-out to control Brandon’s ‘Big Cat’, Earl Thompson Jr.   Guessing a spirited split, harkening back to the Great Plains rivalry.      Friday at 8 pm Central, and Sat. at 7.

Manitoba Bisons (6-6) at Trinity Western Spartans (2-10) –  A chance for the Herd to thaw-out in the Fraser Valley.  And to duplicate their 2 game sweep of the Spartans at the same venue last February.  All the signs point to Keith Omoerah, Justus Alleyn, A.J. Basi and friends extending their unbeaten string to 9 games (including their Wesmen Classic title).  But they’ve fooled us before. Trinity come off a bye, and may have their Spartans in a row, with bigs Max Vitala and Patrick Vandervelden becoming more convincing.  Guards Pogos Trunyan, and Vartan Tanielian can score; now can Trinity defend well enough to stop a Herd of Bison ?         Fri and Sat. at 7 pm Pacific.


Scores from the East   –   Carleton  81  at Ottawa 40 –  And, this was the away game.

Carleton’s Connor Wood attacks the hoop at Ottawa. photo Verelie Wutti

A sobering realization for all other U-Sports teams across Canada, as the Ravens pick the bleached bones of the fallen Gee-Gees so meticulously.  UO are 9-1 in OUA action, and ranked #2 by coaches;  and they are allowed to shoot just 21% !?  The utterly commanding Carleton performance spread from shooting to rebounding, and ball-handling to all-out aggression. By half-time, witnesses to the dismantling just wanted to look away.   Two periods where the Ponies tallied single digits on the scoreboard.  The grey-clad victims were shooting a deathly 7% from the floor for much of that ugly opening 20 minutes.  The Blackbirds feed off this kind of physical superiority and mental torture.  Ottawa had no 2nd -chance points, according to their own stats crew.  Smothering team defense is a given, then Connor Wood  shoots, Kaza Kajemi-Keane penetrates, and the duo of Eddie Ekiyor and Ryan Ejim rule the inside for the reigning National Champs.   This is what they do, even to their toughest opponents.  Again this season.  Beware the Raven !    The Official Autopsy  



Overtime – 

  • Are there different rules in the OUA?  Was there as much give and take in post offense-defense, or defending the dribble penetration as it appeared in the Carleton-Ottawa ‘bare-knuckler’ last night?  We don’t see the same accumulation of bruises and finger-prints on opponents’ bodies after a Canada West game where there are just 23 total fouls called.

    MRU’s Ray Goff

  • Our best in his recovery to MRU’s Ray Goff, a 6-7 post man (4th, Okotoks, AB), who suffered a head trauma in a recent practice.  Goff is expected to return, but is undergoing ‘watchful monitoring’ for concussion symptoms.  Already dealing with nagging knee issues, the likeable veteran didn’t need this latest episode.
  • When you have success as Carleton has had, in spades, over the past 17 seasons , you tend to attract talent via recruiting.  Players want to win.  Apparently some want to do that more than they wish to play.  Ravens’ redshirts would look pretty good on the active playing rosters of many teams across the country.  And, how many more stars from other programs might decide to play year 5 at a ‘winning’ program, rather than graduate in the same colours you’ve worn for the previous 4?  (These player decisions are made in other places as well, of course.  We just notice them more at Carleton, Ottawa, and some other traditional powers.

Bears are Perfect, Dinos Sweep Vikes



Bears maul the Timberwolves, and are perfect at 4-0

Mamadou Gueye and his Golden Bears take it to the T-Wolves Saturday.

Mamadou Gueye and his Golden Bears take it to the T-Wolves Saturday.

Alberta 110  at UNBC  56 –  No prisoners in this massacre in PG, as the Bears double-up on the ‘Wolves, pouring in 63 points in the 2nd half alone.  Mamadou Gueye leads Alberta (4-0) with 23 points/ 9 rebs/ 3 asst, and Dwan Williams adds 16 points /3 asst/ 3 steals. U of A subs freely, with all 12 players getting 11+ minutes, and no one more than 24.  UNBC (0-4) has 11 points from Austin Chandler.  Box Score  

4 – Calgary  97 at Victoria 72 – The script is slightly different , but the outcome is virtually the same from Friday’s big Dinos’ win at Vic. A usually tight UVic defense  is shredded by the deep and speedy Calgary (3-1) team.  On a good shooting night for both teams, the Dinos get 18 points off turnovers, while only committing 6 errors themselves. Wingmen, Mambi Diawara (24 pts/5 rebs/ 2 steals) and Thomas Cooper 23 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 asst) lead the Calgary offense.  The Vikes had 17 pts/ 4 rebs from Grant Sitton, while Jake Newman scored 11 and snared 9 boards.   Box Score 

Winnipeg 96  at Saskatchewan  92 –  The Ws (3-1) snatch a big OT win on the road, as they storm back from a 10 point 1/2 time deficit to tie it on Sean Tarver’s trey with 20 seconds left.  Tarver scored 21 points, while William Sesay racked up 20 pts/ 12 rebounds for the Wesmen, who were 17/34 from 3 point range.  Saskatchewan got another stellar effort from Shane Osayande, who scored 23 pts/ 17 rebounds.  Alex Unruh tallied 20 points/ 3 steals , but U of S drops to 2-2.   Box Score  

at Brandon  67   UBC-O  54   –  Trailing by 4 after 3/4s, the Bobcats   finished strongly, as Tyvon Cooper scored 10 of his game-high 23 points down the stretch. In a ‘bit of a sloppy contest’, the teams almost evenly divided 54 turnovers.  Earl Thompson added 11 pts/ 6 rebs, as Brandon evened their record at 2-2.  UBC-O again had shooting woes, hitting just 33% FG and 4/17 from 3 point range. Aldrich Berrios had 17 points, 6 rebs/ 3 asst/ 3 steals.  Box Score   

 Thompson Rivers  77 at Manitoba  72 –   The big men come through in spades for the Wolf Pack (1-3), as they get their 1st win of the season.  Volodymyr Iegorov posts a prodigious 22 point / 17 rebound double, and Joe Davis scores a career high 22 points plus 5 boards, leading TRU to a 47-37 rebounding edge over a more experienced UM squad. The visitors outshot Manitoba 43% to 39%, and enjoyed a 17/21 -81% FT night vs  9/11 for the home team. Keith Omoerah had another solid game for the Herd (2-2), with 26 points5 rebs/ 2 asst.    Box Score      

 Regina 88  at MacEwan   85 – The visiting Cougars win the wide-open 2nd half 50-47 and prevent a Griffins (1-3) sweep. Lead guard, Aaron McGowan does it all, scoring 27 points, 5 rebs/ 4 asst before fouling out late in the game.  Guard partner Alex Igual adds 22 points/ 7 rebs/ 6 asst for Regina (2-2). Denzel James (21 pts/ 10 rebs/ 5 asst), and Thadius  Galvez (22 pts/ 6 rebs)  can’t quite lead Mac to the win. Box Score 

Fraser Valley 93  at Trinity Western   79 –   Fraser Valley returns the favour in spoiling the home opener for the Spartans, as the visitors from Abbotsford hit 13/27 from beyond the arc.  Manny Dulay is the chief Cascades architect with 18 points, including 4/8 from 3/ 7 rebs/ 3 assists/ 6 steals.  Anthony Gilchrist chips in with 17 points/ 7 rebs, and Vijay Dhillon 15 pts/ 6 rebs/ 3 asst for UFV. Trinity gets 21 points/ 7 rebounds from Vartan Tanielian, and he gets help from Patrick Vandervelden (15 pts/ 5 rebs/ 3 blocks).  Box Score      

 at Lethbridge 83 Mt. Royal 60 – Home sweet home for the ‘Horns, who get the split in the home and home weekend set. They reverse their fortunes  from a Thursday loss, as Zac Overwater has a big night with 24 points/ 5 rebs/ 3 asst/ 3 steals. Mike Pierzchala posts a 20 point game, with 14 rebounds, as the Pronghorns (3-1) out-shoot MRU 47% to 34% from the floor.  Derek Wolfe scores 15 pts, while Josh Ross has 11 pts/ 11 rebounds for the Cougars (1-1). . Box Score  

More CIS scores –

Atlantic – at St. FX  97 Memorial 75, 6 – Dalhousie 75  9- Saint Marys 47 ,  Acadia 95 Cape Breton  76,    UNB 93  UPEI  84

Quebec –  UQAM 76  Bishops 72

Ontario –  Queens 77 Guelph 74,  3- McMaster 62 Lakehead 56 , Nipissing 71 Western Ont. 52  ,   7- Brock 71  Toronto 69 ,  Laurentian 86  Windsor 82 ,  Algoma  78  Laurier  72

 at  2 – UBC 80  NW Christian 66  –  The ‘Birds turn the tables, with a nice 27 points/ 9 rebound game from Conor Morgan.   Box Score  


Regina Preview – Weekend Summary


Cougars ‘Fitting the Pieces Together’ –   preview 

 Regina Cougars

’15-’16 – Lost to TRU in 1/4 Finals,     11 wins – 9 losses  (Pioneer Division)


Returnees – 5th years –  Aaron McGowan , 6-1 guard, Toronto. Travis Sylvestre, 6-4 fwd, Regina. Stephen Shields, 6-7 fwd, Brandon. Matthew Augustine, 5-11 guard, Toronto .  4th years – Alex Igual, 6-4 guard, Barcelona, Spain . Brandon Tull, 6-4 guard, Ajax, ON. Brian Ofori, 6-6 fwd, Montreal. 2nd year- Samuel Hillis, 6-5 guard, Regina.

Newcomers –  Johneil Johnson, 1st year,  6-1 guard, Lake Echo, N.S. / Combine Academy (N.C.).  Ramiro Martinez, 6-6 fwd, 3rd, Yecla, Spain (Barstow College). Kornel Tokolyi, 6-7 fwd, 3rd, Budapest, Hungary (Barstow College). Benjamin Hillis, 1st, 6-1 guard, Regina, ( LeBoldus HS).  Kieran Hebert, 1st, 5-9 guard, Regina (Riffel HS). Carter Millar, 1st, 6-4 fwd, Regina (Leboldus HS). Brayden Kuski, 1st, 6-1 guard, Regina (Leboldus HS).

Head Coach Steve Burrows is using the ‘pre-season’ to get a good look at all his ‘ponies’; “We’re trying to see how to best utilize each guy’s talents, and what’s the best way for us to play.”  Yes, the 4th year bench boss has 7 returnees in either their 5th or 4th years, but he’s also working to blend in 7 new faces, including 5 in the 1st year out of high school.

“The team worked well in their summer program, and we’re pleased with how they’ve arrived at camp this Fall,” says Burrows.  “We are making adjustments with our style of play, and getting a good look at everybody in these October games.”

Guard, Brandon Tull (L) and forward, Brian Ofori (R) will be among the core group for the Regina Cougars.

Guard, Brandon Tull (L) and forward, Brian Ofori (R) will be among the core group for the Regina Cougars.

Canada West all-star, Jonathan Tull has graduated with his 17 ppg/5.2 rebs/2 asst/2.5 steals, so how do the Cougs fill that gap?  Burrows says, “We’re working to build confidence in the new roles some of our guys may have.  Not unlike everyone else!”

Both Aaron McGowan and Alex Igual are experienced lead guards, and rookie Kieran Hebert has the ‘bloodlines’ and skills to step in there eventually.  Matt Augustine, a defensive stopper, returns for his final season after missing last year.  Samuel Hillis goes into his 2nd year ready to step up, and his brother joins the team as a star local grad.  Both are sons of former Cougars Head Coach James Hillis.

Brandon Tull and Travis Sylvester can be real leaders on the wing, and they get some big man help from 5th year, Stephen Shields. A pair of imports from Barstow College, CA , Ramiro Martinez a Spaniard, and Kornel Tokolyi from Hungary, will try and work their way into the rotation, and help in the paint.

After having narrowly missed a slot in last March’s CW Final 4, the green Cougars will be aiming to get back to the post season.  ‘It’s a new team”, says Burrows, “ and we’re trying to find a fit for each guy, and an effective style for this team.”

The schedule gives the Cougs  some key games on home court, and we’ll note they’re another squad with a 4/6, back-loaded schedule, with a bye in the 1st semester.

Schedule –  Nov-Dec – Victoria, at MacEwan, at Trinity W., Saskatchewan,  (4)            Jan-Feb -at UBC-O, Manitoba, at Brandon, Calgary, at Winnipeg, TRU (6)

Prediction – Playoffs, we would bet .


Vikes, Cougars Still ‘Works in Progress’

Out on the Island, the results of the GUY VETRIE MEMORIAL show McMaster Marauders of the OUA winning the event with a 3-0 mark ( 69-62 over McGill,  75-61 over Regina, and 76-65 past the Vikes on Saturday – Box Score). Victoria went 1-2, with a lop-sided  loss to McGill 69-44-  Box Score, and then their lone win, in a comeback, over Regina 76-67.  The Cougars, without Aaron McGowan, and having star recruit,  Johneil Johnson, go down with an injury, dropped all 3 games.

Both UVic and Regina are trying to incorporate a significant number of new faces into the playing roster.  Obviously, more games left in October to try and do that.


A nice pair of wins for the Winnipeg Wesmen at Lakehead … 76-70 on Friday  Box Score, and  74-69 Saturday over the ‘Wolves. Box Score

UBC-O beats last year’s CCAA champs, Vancouver Island 82-53

Saskatchewan squeaks past Medicine Hat College  66-65 in OT  Box Score

UNBC beats Red Deer College 94 -83  The T’Wolves also win over NAIT 82-67

MacEwan beats UNBC 96-73 in Edmonton     Box Score ,  and Alberta topped the T- Wolves 92-61.

Elsewhere –

CIS champs, Carleton Ravens, served notice that they are back with ‘bad intentions’, as Carleton Rthey sweep the field at Acadia’s Stu Aberdeen Tournament in Wolfeville.  It was Ravens 85-62 over Laval (just loosening up …), then, on Saturday Carleton crushed the home Axemen 112-62.  The Blackbirds danced on St. FX on Sunday, to the tune of 116-72. Quels joueurs !

At UNB’s Eric Garland, the class of the field were the Saint Mary’s Huskies, as they beat the Reds 98-84, then Maine -Ft. Kent 84 – 73, and finish Sunday over Bishops Gaiters 82-66.

Concordia handles Queen’s in Montreal 74-53

UQAM also beats Queen’s  83-61, and Ottawa 76-73

More scores –

Toronto 105  Memorial 69,  Ryerson  123 Mohawk Coll. 76,  Laurier 74  Nipissing  50,  Bishops 69  UNB 60, Dalhousie 83 Mt. St. Vincent 54, Seneca College 80  York 78,  St FX 82  Laval 66, Guelph 90  Memorial 65, Laurier 62  Algoma 52,

Sunday –  Sheridan Coll. 94 Guelph 80, Dalhousie 102 Holland Coll. 92, Western Ont. 64 Humber Coll. 60, Memorial 78 York 74, Maine- Ft. Kent 85 UNB 81, Nipissing 68  Algoma 64, Laval 84 Acadia 76



Overtime –

Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos' Canada West Player of the Year, leads a group of '15-'16 all-stars who are returning this year.

Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos’ Canada West Player of the Year, leads a group of ’15-’16 all-stars who are returning this year.                 photo –  David Moll, UC Athletics

  •   10 of the 15 Canada West All-stars from last season return to their teams for this campaign.  They are Player of the Year Thomas Cooper – Calgary, Jordan Jensen-Whyte- UBC, Mamadou Gueye- Alberta, Keith Omoerah – ManitobaBrett Layton – Mt. Royal, Conor Morgan – UBC, Denzel James – MacEwan, Denzel Lynch-Blair – Winnipeg, Volodymyr Iegorov – TRU, Lars Schleuter – Calgary.




Bisons Advance in OT, ‘Birds Fly High


Bisons will take the series win, and head to the Final 4 !

Justus Alleyn leads his Manitoba Bisons past UFV for a Q-Finals series win.

Justus Alleyn leads his Manitoba Bisons past UFV for a Q-Finals series win.  photo- UM Athletics

at Manitoba  77 Fraser Valley  72  OT –  It never seems completely easy when you have wanted something so badly for quite some time. Coasting along with a 12 point lead midway in the 4th quarter, the Bisons might have been making more detailed plans for their trip to Canada West’s Final 4 next weekend.  But then …  they pull the chute, and nothing goes in for the home team for the last 4:20.  The Cascades score 12 unanswered to take the game, incredibly, to over-time !  But the Herd steady themselves and win the  extra session to take the series 2-0. The scores for artistic merit are pretty low in this defensive struggle, with neither team hitting shots – 39% for UM and 35% for UFV from the floor. Manitoba control  the boards 51-43, and hit 8 treys to 5 for Fraser Valley, but the turnover was a large feature of the Bisons’ attack, as in 25 for the game, and that gave UFV a sliver of light at the finish.
Justus Alleyn hits 23 for the Herd, including 9/10 from the line, while A.J. Basi tallies 16; Wyatt Anders with 13 and Keith Omoerah with 12, led UM rebounders.  Kevon Parchment  finishes a great CIS career  with 21 points/ 9 rebounds/ 5 steals for Fraser Valley, while Nate Brown earns a 19 point / 10 rebound double.  Manitoba earns a spot in the Final 4  for the first time since they moved from the old Great Plains Conference . Box Score
at Calgary 89  Alberta 76 – Down 42 – 26 at the half, the Golden Bears refuse to ‘follow Dinos14the script’, as they come with a 50 point barrage in the final 20 minutes, giving the Dinos all they can handle. Alberta goes 12/25 from 3 point range, and Mamadou Gueye is at his slashing, rebounding best, in an inspired effort.
Calgary responds with 11 treys of their own, but shoot a far lower % ( 46% – 40% to Alberta from the floor), but UC makes hay from the foul line, as they attack the rim, led by Thomas Cooper (9/12 FT) and David Kapinga (7/7 from the line).  The Dinos are 24/31 from the stripe to the GB’s 12/17, and the Bears turn it over 20 times to the Dinos’ 11.
UC’s Cooper leads all scorers (as is his habit), with 27, plus 9 rebounds / 5 assists, and Kapinga provides 16 points / 3 steals, with some clutch play in the 4th quarter to seal the win. Jasdeep Gill connects on 4/6 shots from the outside, and gives Calgary a huge lift with his 14 points off the bench. The Bears get  26 from Gueye on 9/16 shooting, and he adds 11 boards, while Jackson has a terrific game at the point, hitting 6/9 from beyond the arc, and 3 assists +. (He is, indeed, one of Canada West’s top rookies !)
Game 2 is Saturday at 7 pm, and we might expect more of the same, as U of A has come to play, obviously!  Box Score

Volodymyr Iegorov lights up Regina for 32 points as the Wolf Pack even their series.

Volodymyr Iegorov lights up Regina for 32 points as the Wolf Pack even their series. photo – TRU Athletics

 at Thompson Rivers  90  Regina  85  –   There’s a battle out in Kamloops, with TRU fighting off a highly motivated Cougars crew, to force a 3rd game Saturday at 7 pm  . It’s a 1 point game, 42-41 ‘Pack, at the half, but Regina hangs tough and ties it with 7 minutes left in the game.  Some lead changes, and definitely some nervous minutes for The Wolves and their fans; but the home team gets the key plays in the final minutes to grab the win after a frenzied 48-44 2nd half .
TRU’s Volodymyr Iegorov hangs 32 points on the board, hitting 11/15 from the floor, and he gets help from Josh Wolfram’s double -double of 18 points / 14 rebounds/ 7 assists.  Reese Pribilsky adds his 16 points, 9 big helpers, and 4 steals, as the ‘Pack hits 46% from the field and 23/32 from the line.  For The Cougars , it’s a career game from Aaron McGowan, with his 28 points/ 6 rebs/ 4 assts; Brandon Tull scores 14, while his brother, Jonathan is held to just 7 tonight. Regina are 40% from the floor and hit 13/18 free-throws. Huge game for both teams on Saturday  !   Box Score


at UBC   85   Lethbridge 57   –    The ‘Birds fly right over the Pronghorns, with a ‘deja-vu’ performance in game 2, as UBC shoots 53% from the floor, leads 32-9 after 10 minutes, and has 5 players in double figures on the scoresheet.  Lethbridge, in contrast, finishes up their season with perhaps their worst shooting night of the year (31% from the floor), as they just run out of steam, again without star guard, Dejon Burdeaux, out with injury.  UBC wins the rebounding 41-33, and the game gets a bit sloppy, with both teams at 20+ turnovers. Phil Jalalpoor , with 13 points is high for the T-Birds, with rookie guard , Taylor Browne adding 12 points/ 8 boards.  Michael Pierzchala has a game-high 15 points for Lethbridge, but he’s the only one of the ‘Horns in double digits. So UBC claim a place in the Final 4 next week, and await the Calgary – Alberta and Regina – TRU series’ to see where that will be played.  Box Score


Other CIS Scores –
Atlantic Championship Tournament – Q-Finals
Acadia  69  Cape Breton  68
St. Mary’s 102  UNB 93
…    St. Mary’s vs Dalhousie  ,  Acadia  vs UPEI   in Saturday’s semi-finals.


Overtime –

  • TRU guard Reese Pribilsky, After game 1, on playing a dangerous Regina team, “They are an emotional team,” said WolfPack guard Reese Pribilsky about the Cougars. “When they get out and run. When they get momentum they start to pop some shots and play well. We need to limit their runs. Basketball is a game of runs. We need to limit theirs. They had 11 and 8 point runs tonight. We need to cut that down to six or five points.” “We let their shooters where they wanted to be on the floor,” Pribilsky continued. “We can’t do that.”  From News Kamloops.
    This will be, according to Manitoba experts, the first series win for the Bisons since 2001, and their first shot at getting to CIS Nationals since 1986. “Not since the G-PAC era”, they tell us !  Big night for UM , Coach Kirby Schepp, his team and his coaching staff.
  •  CW Women’s Q-Finals on Friday Night – Game 1 of best of 3
    • Regina 69 – Calgary 55
    • Saskatchewan 77 UBC 56
    • MacEwan 78  Victoria 69
    • Alberta 62  Thompson Rivers 56 –  Game 2 here, and the Pandas go to Final 4

‘Play-ins’ at MacEwan and Regina


‘Play-ins’ Are Tough To Call –

Thadius Galvez, MacEwan Griffins' guard, will be a key man as they host the U of A Golden Bears in one 'play-in' series this weekend.

Thadius Galvez, MacEwan Griffins’ guard, will be a key man as they host the U of A Golden Bears in one ‘play-in’ series this weekend.  photo – MacEwan Athletics

#9  Alberta Golden Bears   at  #8  MacEwan Griffins –  You would have thought these two schools would have found each other before now, but Friday’s 1st game of this best of three series will be the 1st time the Griffins and Bears have met.  Predictions really go out the window, other than we would expect a ‘full house’ at Mac, as the Edmonton basketball community comes together to witness a bit of history in the making. (Wouldn’t our friend Phil Allen have been excited to have seen these games !)  GriffinsHome copy

The Griffs and Bears may well produce a low-scoring series, with both teams relying on defense, and neither consistently pushing the ‘running game’.  Mac Coach Eric Magdanz suggests, “We have to contend with their bigger, stronger front-line, where they do most of their scoring. Our guards (Thadius Galvez, Denzel James, and Chris Mooney) have generated a lot of our scoring, so it’s a bit of a contrast in styles.”
Who to watch-
Bears – Mamadou Gueye – 6’7’ ‘small forward’ … 18 ppg and 7.2 rebounds,  Brody Clarke – 6-8 post … 12 ppg and 6.3 rebounds, Colby Jackson – 5-9 point … 8 ppg and 4.7 assists.
Griffins –  Denzel James –  6-3 wing …14 ppg / 5 rebounds/ 1.5 steals,  Thadius Galvez – 6-2 guard …13.5 ppg/ 3.5 assists/ 2.1 steals, Chris Mooney – 6-3 guard … 9 ppg . 6.7 rebounds, 3 asst.
Bears 3 copyAlberta has a long history in the CIS, with Canada West and National championship trophies in their collection, while MacEwan was, up until 2 years ago, playing at the Canadian Colleges level in the ACAC.  But we’ve seen former ‘College teams’ like TRU and Fraser Valley have playoff success against Pioneer programs.
“There’s great excitement in Edmonton surrounding this series; there are no big high school tournaments competing for fans, so we expect a big crowd”, says Coach Magdanz.
Game times –  Friday, Feb. 26 – at 6 pm, Saturday, 27th- 5 pm, and Sunday, 28th (if necessary) at 2 pm (times are Mountain).   The winner of this series will meet the Pioneer Division leaders and #1 seed Calgary Dinos in one Quarter final series ‘A’  in Calgary.

Jonathan Tull, Regina's high scorer, will be a focus for UW's defense in the 2 Pioneer teams' play-in series in Regina this weekend.

Jonathan Tull, Regina’s high scorer, will be a focus for UW’s defense in the 2 Pioneer teams’ play-in series in Regina this weekend.

 #10 Winnipeg Wesmen  at #7  Regina Cougars –   Here’s a tough series to get our heads around, hoops fans !  Winnipeg, since winning 6 straight to start the 2nd half of the season, have dropped 5 of their final 6 League games; they also lost 2 to Regina back in early December. The home-standing Cougars have that obvious advantage, but, since a huge win at UBC on January 23, UR has lost 5 of 8 to finish up at 11-9. Unknown-2
Winnipeg have their high scorer, guard Denzel Lynch-Blair (17.5 ppg, 3 steals) ‘somewhat doubtful’ for this series, having missed the UBC game last Saturday. Their offensive is12th in Canada West in points /game at 72, and they shoot 39.5%, which is 14th in CW. They can, however, play defense – 2nd in steals and blocked shots, and they allow only 75 ppg.  Their rebounding is a weakness, with a -6 margin, among the League’s worse.
Unknown-1Regina scores more – 81 ppg, and get to the line quite often (24 /game), but they allow more points as well – 77.5 /game.  Besides the home court, the Cougars appear to have more functional depth than the Ws, with scoring spread 7 or 8 deep, and key subs in guard Aaron McGowan and forward Brian Ofori.  Key players in this series –
Wesmen – *D. Lynch-Blair (if he can go) – 6-4 guard, who can score, and disrupt on the defensive end, he has often been the catalyst on offense.  Jelane Pryce – 6-7 forward …  15.2 ppg/ 5.3 rebs/ 1.4 blocks . Ryan Oirbans – 6-9 forward … key rebounder (8.1 per game)  9 points.  William Sesay – 6-3 rookie guard … quick defender, 6.8 rebounds, 9.7 ppg/ 1.8 steals.
Cougars – Jonathan Tull – 6-4 guard …  17 ppg/ 5.2 rebs/ 2.5 steals .  Brandon Tull – 6-4 guard … 11.8 ppg / 3.8 reb./ 2 steals.  Brian Ofori – 6-6 forward … 8 ppg/ 5 rebs .  A. McGowan – 6-1 guard … top-notch 6th man, 9.5 ppg/3.5 rebs/ 2.8 asst.

The Cougars do have the home court, and, if their offense can crank it up, they may have too much scoring for the Wesmen to match.  If nerves hit Regina, the Winnipeg defense could turn this series on it’s ear.  An upset here is not impossible, but our guess would be that UR’s depth will give them the edge.
Game times –  Friday, Feb. 26 – 27- 28 (if necessary)  all at 7 pm  Central.  The winner of this series will meet the Explorer Division’s top team, #2 Thompson Rivers, in Kamloops in  Quarter-Final  ‘B’.

CIS Scores –  (Tuesday) … Saint Mary’s 90  Acadia 74


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Don’t look now, but guess who’s back on top ?  Yes fans, it’s the Carleton Ravens , the same birds who’ve won of 11 of the past 13 CIS Championships !

Who knows if they’ll win in the OUA play-offs, but this week, the Ravens are #1, as Ryerson has a small hiccup in Guelph.  Ottawa wins and gets #2, while Calgary stays at #4, UBC #6, and Manitoba rises to 9 without even playing!  We continue to believe that UBC and 2 other Canada West teams will be in the Final 8, but not a 4th by a wildcard choice.



Overtime –   

  • In a comprehensive article by Wayne Kondro of the Ottawa Citizen , U. Ottawa Coach James Derouin, says that the FIBA rules played in the CIS require players to make quick decisions. “That’s the key,” he says. “Can you teach your players to play without them having the crutch that a coach can call a timeout and bail you out of any situation? You definitely have to develop their decision-making a lot more.”
  • Manitoba Head Coach Kirby Schepp signs a big man from Winnipeg’s talent-rich high school ranks in St. Paul’s High School forward, Cameron O’Hara.  O’Hara played on Manitoba’s provincial U17 and U16 the past 2 summers. At 6-7,   245, he will be a ‘space-eater’ in the lane for the Herd.
  • Sorry about the ‘A-D-B-C’ mix-up in our last post.  To clarify the play-offs – Winners of series’  A plays the  D winner and the B series winner plays the C winner.   S-o-o-o-o …in the March 3-4-5-6 QUARTER-FINALS – we have …
    A – GRIFFINS / BEARS winner  at #1 CALGARY
    D- #5  FRASER VALLEY  at  #4  MANITOBA – Winner of series A vs Winner of D at the Final 4, March 11/12
    B – COUGARS / WESMEN winner  at   #2  THOMPSON RIVERS
    C – #6 LETHBRIDGE  at #3  UBC – Winner- series B vs Winner of C at the Final 4

Dinos and Wolf Pack – Top Playoff Seeds


Dinos Sweep Bears … Regina gets big home win

Speedy guard, David Kapinga, and the Calgary Dinos

Speedy guard, David Kapinga, and the Calgary Dinos are the top seed for the Canada West playoffs.

#4  Calgary 79  at Alberta  66 –  The Dinos win their 13th straight in finishing the home and home sweep of their Northern rivals. The 2nd half was key for Calgary, as they go 46-34 to pull away, using 23/29 from the foul line to good advantage. Thomas Cooper scores 19 and adds 8 rebounds, while Jasdeep Gill tallies 16 points/ 4 assists in the win, bringing UC to 17-3 on the year. Alberta finish at 10-10, in 6th spot, beating out Winnipeg in a tie-breaker.  The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye is the game’s high man, with 22 points/ 9 rebounds, and Brody Clarke scores 17.  U of A has a very short trip to their ‘play-in ‘ series next week, as they meet the MacEwan Griffins on the North -side of the river in a best-of-three.  Box Score

Travis Sylvestre comes off the bench to lead Regina to a win over the Huskies on Saturday.

Travis Sylvestre comes off the bench to lead Regina to a win over the Huskies on Saturday.

at Regina 84 Saskatchewan 74   –  The Cougars struggle early, but catch some rhythm later in the 2nd half for a clutch home win over the arch-rivals;  UR grabs 5th place at 11-9, and will host Winnipeg in one of two best-of-three, ’play-in’ series next weekend.  Regina out-shoots the Huskies 46% to 35% from the floor, but U of S (8-12)  stays in it for most of the game, hitting 12 treys to the Cougars’ 4. Travis Sylvestre has a solid game for UR, with 19 points/ 6 boards / 4 assists coming off the bench, and both Brandon Tull (5 steals) and Aaron McGowan (4 reb/3 asst) score 14.  Saskatchewan get 24 from Evan Ostertag in his last game for the ‘Dogs, and Shane Osayande scores 17 and adds 15 rebounds, as he continues to impress.    Box Score

at Lethbridge 96   Trinity Western 75  –  The Spartans get to within 3 at half-time, but the Pronghorns run away and hide with a 59 point blitz in the 2nd, as they connect on 15/38 tries from beyond the arc vs 8/25 for TWU. Both Zac Overwater and Brandon Brine put up 20 points, with Overwater adding 5 rebounds and 5 steals.  Rob Olsen has 15 points / 8 boards / 5 assists for the 4th place ‘Horns (12-8) . TWU finish a very difficult campaign with a 1-19 mark; they have Lucas Mannes scoring 20 plus 9 rebounds, and senior wing man, Kelvin Smith adds 16 and 9 boards as well.  Lethbridge gets a 1st round bye in the playoffs, and will play at UBC in their quarter-final series in 2 weeks.  Box Score

at #6  UBC 79   Winnipeg  67 –  The Ws stick with the ‘Birds until the 4th quarter, but much better UBC shooting decides the issue – 49% to 39% from the floor. The Thunderbirds grab 2nd place in the Pioneer, and get home court in the March 4-6 quarter-final series vs Lethbridge.  Very balanced scoring for UBC tonight, with all 5 starters in double figures, as David Wagner converts his inside game for 17 points / 7 rebounds, while Conor Morgan, with 9 and Will Ondrik, 8, lead T-Bird rebounders. Winnipeg get 15 each from Jamar Farley and Jelane Pryce, and Ryan Oirbans has 9 points / 10 rebounds.    Box Score

at Victoria 90  Brandon 74 –   The Vikes get a good shooting game, and cruise to their 9th win, as Mac Roth has a great final contest in UVic colours with 21 points, and Reiner Theil also shows his best as a 5th year grad, at 13 points / 11 rebounds. Earl Thompson Jr. is the game’s high scorer for BU, with 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds.  UVic  are 9-11, and Brandon just 1-19, as both teams miss the playoffs.  Box Score

CIS  #10 Manitoba  (15-5) has the bye in this final weekend of League play.


Explorer –  MRU gets a sweep, but Mac  hangs on to 3rd

James Lefebvre has another strong game for the Cougars on his senior night at MRU.

James Lefebvre has another strong game for the Cougars on his senior night at MRU.

at Mt. Royal 94  Fraser Valley 83  –   The Cougars repeat with a strong 2nd half to catch and pass  the visiting Cascades, as UFV sits starters later in the game.  59 points in that half turns the tide, after Fraser Valley led by 9 at the break. James Lefebvre leads MRU scorers with 19 plus 4 rebounds, and Brett Layton continues with his double-double outings, posting 17 points / 15 rebounds / 6 steals. UFV are hurt by 18 turnovers vs only 9 for the Cougars. The Cascades are sharp from long range, with 12/24 from outside, led by 4/5 by Manny Dulay (14 points), while Kevon Parchment scores 18 plus 7 boards and 7 assists.  Mt. Royal are tied in 3rd place with MacEwan at 10-10 , but the Griffins win in a tie-breaker (a win over TRU).  Fraser Valley get a bye next week then travel out to Manitoba for a quarter-final series with the Bisons.   Box Score

UNBC 83 at MacEwan 74 –  You have to hand it to the UNBC T’Wolves (4-16) in the final game of a tough season; they come out and battle for a road win, shooting 47% from the floor, and take the rebounding 40-39, while committing just 10 turnovers. Rhys Elliott again provides the punch on offense with a game-high 24 points/ 5 rebounds, and Colin Plumb finishes strongly, with his 19 points / 9 boards / 6 assists.  Mac (10-10) won’t like to lose going into next week’s 1st round of the playoffs, but they do get there, in 3rd after a tie-break decision over MRU. Ryan Coleman has a nice game for the Maroon, with 17 points / 10 rebounds for a double-double.  Box Score

at T. Rivers  88    UBC-O 79  –  The ‘Pack (16-4) get a sweep to go into the playoff bye week as the #2 seed in the Canada West play-offs; they will host the MacEwan – Alberta winner.  56% shooting on the night, and a 30 point 3rd quarter puts TRU clear, and they hold off a UBC-O rally in the 4th. Josh Wolfram nets 25 points and grabs 6 boards, while Volodymyr Iegorov tallies 19 points, and Luke Morris 17 off the bench. Aldrich Berrios has 17 for Okanagan (8-12), and both Buzz Truss and Mitch Goodwin score 16 apiece. Box Score


More CIS Scores from Friday –
Atlantic – at #9 Dalhousie 94 UPEI 81 ,  Cape Breton  85  at St. FX   78
Quebec –  Concordia  at Bishop’s
Ontario –  at  #2 Carleton 105  Waterloo 40 , at #3 Ottawa 109  Laurier  79,  at #5 McMaster 85 Laurentian 66,   at #7 Brock 86   Nipissing 69 ,  Windsor 78 at Western 72 ,  at Lakehead 88  Toronto 77 , at Algoma 71 Queen’s 60


Overtime –   

  • Several schools who are hosting games this weekend are suffering reduced attendance because of ‘Reading Week’, as students are off campus in many cases. I assume this was part of the issue at Mt. Royal, as the term ‘Crickets’ could have applied to the small gathering on Friday for UFV at MRU games. Actually, there are a number of schools which have ‘chronic apathy’ when it comes to attendance at their games; it is one of the bigger challenges for Canada West Athletics and member schools.
  • David Wells, our ‘Deep South. Alberta’ correspondent,  tells us he expects

    ‘Pronghorns Nation’ welcomed Brent Watkins to Senior Night celebrations on Saturday.

    Brent Watkins, the 6-10 California import who was such a popular player with UL for 2 seasons (2013-15),  to be one of 4 UL ‘seniors’ honoured on Saturday night. Watkins , who was involved in tragic career-ending auto accident last summer, is in town along with family members, in a reunion with the team and community. ‘Wellsie’ also expresses fear in the ‘Horns camp that Dejon Burdeaux’s recurring ankle/leg problems may be worse this time, and may prevent him from any play-off action. . Also, Spencer Lambert hasn’t made a return from injury , and his number 20 has been worn by Brian Prenoslo,  a 6’4″, 4th year transfer from Red Deer Univ. College.

Manitoba and Regina Get Huge Wins

Bisons in OT over Wesmen and Regina Catches Vikes in the 2nd half

 Manitoba copyManitoba 82 at Winnipeg 74  OT  –   Down by 7 at the half and 5 at the 3/4 mark, the Bisons take the lead half-way through the final stanza, but Winnipeg fights back to get it to extra time.  12-4 Herd in that session as they get the sweep with a win at UW to advance to 13-5, and now solidly in 3rd spot.  Keith Omoerah has a stellar performance with 22 points and 16 rebounds, helping UM control the glass by a 57-41 count. Both Justus Alleyn and A. J. Basi cash 15 points for Manitoba who matched a somewhat cold shooting night from Winnipeg, both  hitting just 37.5% from the floor.  The Wesmen (9-7) have James Farlay with 17 points, and William Sesay scoring 9 and grabbing 11 boards. Box Score

 Regina  91   Victoria 82  –  The Vikes were better on Saturday in Regina, taking a 4 point half-time lead, but the Cougars win the 2nd half 49-36 to get a critical sweep, as they are in 4th at 10-6.  UVic, last year’s League champs may be outside the play-off picture, as they drop their 6th straight to fall to 7-11. Jonathan Tull comes up big for U of R once more, with his 24 points/ 6 boards / 4 steals, and he got help from 16 points / 8 rebounds / 5 assists by 6th-man Aaron McGowan. Victoria had balanced scoring, with 5 in double digits, led by 15/ 5 reb/ 4 asst from Grant Sitton, and 10 points / 11 boards by Reiner Theil. Box Score

Lars Schleuter's late trey catapults Dinos to Saturday win.

Lars Schleuter’s late trey catapults Dinos to Saturday win.

at  #5 Calgary 88  Lethbridge  84 –  A 20 point Dinos lead at the break was erased by agame Lethbridge squad, who made a massive comeback, hitting 52 points in the final 20 minutes. Calgary was reeling, and stuck on offense, as the ‘Horns switched to Man-D, and confused the UC attackers. It was tied at 79 with 3 minutes left, and UL had all the momentum; a Thomas Cooper free throw and Lars Schleuter’s 3 point shot put Calgary back in front, and they held on with hoops from David Kapinga and Cooper, and a big blocked shot from Dallas Karch.  UC goes 10 in a row and are in 1st spot at 14-3, while the Pronghorns fade to 9-7.  Cooper led all scorers with 27, plus 5 boards and 10 assists, while Schleuter finished with 18 including 6/9 from 3 point range. For UL, it was Brandon Brine scoring 19 and 7 rebounds, with Rob Olsen adding 18 points.  Box Score

at Alberta  83  Trinity Western 60 –  With a smothering defensive game, the Bears never trail in this home win, moving them to 9-8 on the season. Mamadou Gueye continues his hot play for the weekend, with 27 points / 7 reb/ 5 assists, and Brody Clarke adds 16 points/ 3 asst / 3 steals. TWU shoots only 36% to 47% for the U of A; Kelvin Smith is the lone Spartan in double figures with 11 points.    Box Score

 at Saskatchewan 81   Brandon 61   –  The Huskies looked like a refreshed team, as they get great scoring from a lengthened bench corps, led by 22 from guard Alex Unruh, and big man, Trevor Severinski, with 14. The U of S out-shot (46% to 40%) and out-rebounded (43-35) the Bobcats, taking control with a 51-24 edge in the sandwich sessions. Brandon’s D. J. Jordan hit 18 points / 6 reb and Earl Thompson had 15 points, but the ‘Cats go to a dismal 1-15 while the Huskies are now 6-10.    Box Score

Okanagan Get a Clutch Home Win over UFV

Mitch Goodwin leads Okanagan to a huge home win over Fraser Valley.

Mitch Goodwin leads Okanagan to a huge home win over Fraser Valley.

at UBC-Okanagan 68  Fraser Valley   65 –   The Heat (8-8) help their play-off cause with a clutch win courtesy of 3 points from Randall Mosca in the final seconds. This is a toughly contested game with many lead changes throughout, as Mitch Goodwin tallies 24 points for UBC-O, adding 5 reb / 5 asst. UFV cost themselves with 18 turnovers; Manny Dulay hits 24 points for the Cascades (10-6) including 5/10 from beyond the arc, and Nate Brown contributes 19 points / 7 boards.  Box Score 
at Thompson Rivers  70  UNBC 56 –   The Wolf Pack lead all the way; they are just too much for the T-Wolves in out-shooting the visitors 45% to 31% from the floor, and 44 rebounds vs 30 for UNBC. Albert Medrano scores 14 to lead TRU (14-2), while Josh Wolfram has 12 rebounds and 8 points. UNBC (3-13) gets 14 points and 5 rebounds from Saje Gosal.  Box Score

Denzel James scores 30 to propel his Griffs to a big win at Mt.Royal.

Denzel James scores 30 to propel his Griffs to a big win at Mt.Royal.

 MacEwan 78  at Mt. Royal   73 –   The Griffins (7-9)  bounce back for a crucial split on the road vs MRU, as the visitors make a 28-15 outburst in the 2nd quarter stand-up for the win. Mac outshoots the Cougars 48% to 39% from the floor, and make 18/24 free throws to 12/23 for the Cougs (6-10).  MacEwan gets a big 30 point game from Denzel James (6 reb), plus 16 points / 6 boards / 5 asst from Chris Mooney. Mt. Royal are paced by 20 points / 8 reb from James Lefebvre, and 12 points / 12 boards by Brett Layton. Box Score

More  CIS Scores  on Saturday –  
Quebec – #6 McGill 74 at UQAM  60   , Concordia 64   at  Bishop’s  61
Atlantic – at St. FX  96  UPEI  90  , at Saint Marys  86 UNB 77  ,  at Acadia 87  Cape Breton 79, #10 Dalhousie 83 at Memorial 78
Ontario –   at Toronto 79 Laurier 60  , at Windsor 93 Nipissing 71 , Guelph 102  at York 98, at Algoma 81  Waterloo 68  , at Western 61 Laurentian 50   , at Queen’s 80  Lakehead 72

Overtime –   

  • A.J. Basi, with an example of why the local rivalry is inevitably the more intense; after the Manitoba Bison’s game 1 win over Winnipeg on Friday,  “It feels good,” Basi said. “Just in general, beating the Wesmen, we don’t really like those guys. There’s always a rivalry there. On top of that we won the Duckworth Challenge, and we’re one step closer to clinching a home playoff series.”  From the Winnipeg Sun – Kirk Penton.
  • UNBC Coach Todd Jordan, on his team’s effort in Friday’s loss at  TRU, despite their injury problems taking away firepower and depth, “I don’t think the score reflected the effort we put in today” explains … Jordan. “ I was happy with our guys. We had a really weak second quarter that put us in a tough spot. We are pretty banged up and injured and have a lot of young guys seeing lots of minutes.”  From a story in News Kamloops.
  • Just in case you missed it yesterday …
    A celebration of the  Life and Accomplishment  of famed  Alberta Colleges coach, Phil Allen, will be held at the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton on Wednesday, February 17  at 10:00 am in the main gymnasium. There will be a reception to follow. Players, Alumni, Colleagues, Family and Friends are all welcome. Please RSVP or contact the family directly –

Canada West Pioneer – Nip and Tuck



Hammer and Tong in the Pioneer Division  Battle –

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The games are fiercely contested, largely competitive, and beginning to take a toll.  More players and teams are ‘sore, lame, hurting, fatigued’, or just flat-out injured, as we talk with coaches around the League. Last week saw leaps forward – by Winnipeg, with their 2 wins at home over Victoria, as the Wesmen hit 7-5;  by Alberta, who are now 7-6 after getting 2 much-needed road wins at Brandon; and by Calgary, who mix up their line-up, and throttle the short-handed TWU Spartans to stay in 1st place at 12-3.
We saw significant wins –  Regina, most notably, who won their 1st-ever game at UBC on Saturday, and sit at a tidy 8-4, in 4th place; Manitoba (9-5) on Saturday, getting a win in Lethbridge, and ‘calming the Herd’ after a disappointing Friday loss. We have to assume the ‘Pronghorns (7-5) were pleased with the Friday home win, but not so much on Saturday.
We have last year’s champs, UVic (7-7), staggering  back home after 2 more losses (at Winnipeg), and trying to steady the ship before the Thunderbirds visit this coming weekend.
And, painfully, we had both Brandon and Trinity Western remain winless, with 2 losses apiece.

Now That We’ve Decided First in the Explorer …

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 7.15.30 AM

The whole Division has a bye week  !  This is a  chance to heal, take a few deep breaths, re-tool the game-plans, and prepare for the final 3 weekends.
But the TRU Wolf Pack are getting stronger, and distancing themselves from the fray beneath them … we have to call it at this point. … 2 home wins over MRU, and they are 12-2, with a 3 game lead.

Fraser Valley, at their healthy-best, can still be a playoff factor, but their current run of injuries and illness has taken away some of the confidence and cohesion. A bad loss on Saturday at MacEwan, and now 9-5.
Okanagan (7-7) get 2 road wins and 3rd place on their own, as they clip the UNBC ‘Wolves, who are another crew licking their wounds, falling to a distant 3-11.
MacEwan needed and got a ‘lifeline-win’ on Saturday vs UFV, and the Griffs can still play their way back to 3rd, but time is not on their side.
Mt. Royal loses 2 … they can consider mathematical chances at this stage, with 4 home games left, but the odds are getting a bit to large for the Cougars (5-9), we would guess.

‘Unsung Heroes Week’ –

Jasdeep Gill of Calgary, is one of many Canada West stalwarts who toil mostly unheralded from game to game.

Jasdeep Gill of Calgary, is one of many Canada West stalwarts who toil mostly unheralded from game to game.           photo –  David Moll, UC Athletics

They’re seldom in the headlines, but their impact shows in the games.  These 8 players are representative of so many of the ‘engine room’ kind of players; they are the ones who give their teams an edge just when it makes the difference between winning and losing.  ‘Points off the bench’ …  ‘Teammate in a supporting role’ !

Aaron McGowan, Regina –  This  4th year transfer (UFV) guard would be a sound pick as ‘6th Man of the Year’, if there were such an award.  (Maybe we’ll create one !)  He has been a super addition for the Cougs’ , and he helped last weekend in Vancouver, with his 21 points,  5 assists, and 5 steals  vs UBC.

Mike Pierzchala, Lethbridge –  We’re just starting to see the talents of ’North Side Mike’ emerge, and he looks like a future star for the ’Horns.  A modest 12 points /9 rebs/ 5 Asst vs Manitoba, but he will figure more notably down the stretch for Lethbridge, and certainly in future seasons.

Jasdeep Gill, Calgary –  Here’s an experienced 4 year – veteran who waits for the call, then rolls out his varied skills package to contribute where he’s needed .  A high school point man, he has morphed into a ball-handling ‘3-4’  for this year’s Dinos. Against TWU, he tallied 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists in the 2 lop-sided wins.
William Sesay, Winnipeg – He’s a smooth, quick 25 minute/game rookie, who shoots 46%FG, and scores 9.5 ppg. In the Ws 2 crucial wins over Victoria, the Winnipeg high school product had 13 pt/19 big rebounds/6 assists /3 steals.

Colby Jackson, Alberta – This import guard from Las Vegas is the starting point man, but we don’t think he gets enough credit for his efforts to pull together the GBs’ offensive game.  At Brandon, he led the Bears to 2 victories with 16 assists, 22 points, and 6 rebounds.  All-around excellence !

Gerard Gore, Thompson Rivers –  This 6-5 native of Antigua is coming into his own as a 2-way wing role-player on a team of celebrated stars. He had a strong weekend in 2 wins over Mt. Royal, with his  22 pts/18 rebounds.

Glen Yang , Mt. Royal –  A 2nd year combo-guard (He passes and he shoots?!) , he has recently shown signs of increased confidence in his game.  In 2 games at TRU, he scored 41 points (well above his average) and added 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and 5 steals.  Chances of stardom here perhaps!
 Keith Gerdes, MacEwan –    A seldom-mentioned, 4th year  from Edmonton, this 6-5  forward is a steady, dependable contributor for the Griffs.  He scored 22 points on Saturday, and that out-burst led Mac to a win over visiting UFV.

Some more noteworthy performances –

Lucas Mannes 39 points Friday vs Calgary … Hot !  Brett Roughead, the Bears 7-1 post man, with 24 rebounds on the weekend against Brandon. UBC’s Conor Morgan has found the range – he totals 51 points in the Regina series for the ‘Birds. Lethbridge’s ‘Batman and Robin’, Rob Olsen and Brandon Brine score 55 and 47 points respectively in the 2 -game set vs Manitoba.  UC’s Thomas Cooper just keeps on scoring, with 49 vs TWU in 2 games.

Overtime –   

  • Lucas Mannes, who scored 39 points last (Friday) night (vs the UC Dinos) was limited in action  Saturday  due to injury…TWU was also down  to three subs as a number of players are out with injuries.  (This is from Scott Stewart, TWU, about as much as we might ever get concerning player health, we guess.)  It hasn’t helped the Spartans’ cause that talented import guard Dean Richey left the team over Christmas break, or that guys like Matt Blackaby are injured.

    Dejon Burdeaux, U of L guard, is one of many players on the injured list.

    Dejon Burdeaux, U of L guard, is one of many players on the injured list.  photo – UL Athletics

  • On that injury front, UBC has been without David Wagner , their ‘go-to’ post man, since the Friday game at Manitoba on January 15.  Dejon Burdeaux of Lethbridge has injuries or ‘issues’ with both legs / ankles / knees, apparently including a painful thigh contusion suffered in the Saskatchewan series.  Fraser Valley has been hit hard, as Mark Johnson, a 3rd year import forward, who had 21 points in a win over Okanagan in early November, has not played significant minutes since then (unspecified). Billy Cheng is gone for the remainder of this, his 5th year for UNBC with a knee injury.  Big Sebastian Denault was out of the line-up for Alberta this past weekend. These are of great consequence to the teams, of course, but they can be even tougher to handle for the young player himself.
  • UBC has signed one of the most sought-after multi-sport athletes in recent memory;  Parker Simson, an all-star quarterback for the Kelowna Owls, will plan to play football for Coach Blake Nill’s defending CIS champs, and basketball for Coach Kevin Hanson’s ‘Birds as well. Says Hanson, “I have always been a big advocate for multi-sport athletes Parker’s court/field vision and awareness has really developed because he has played multiple sports. He has a great package of athleticism and psychological attributes. “   Kelowna is the #1-ranked high school basketball team in B.C., and Simson is averaging 15 ppg/ 6 rebounds, 6 assists/ 6 steals.  From a story by Lorne White in Kelowna Now

Hot Teams, Hot Shots !


 Hot Teams – Hot Players … 1st Week of CW  play in January

The UBC Thunderbirds sweep Lethbridge and claim 1st in the Pioneer after the return to play in Canada West for the New Year. photo - Jeremy Johnson-Silvers : The Ubyssey

#6, Jordan Jensen-Whyte and his  UBC Thunderbirds sweep Lethbridge and claim 1st in the Pioneer after the return to play in Canada West for the New Year.                                                  photo – Jeremy Johnson-Silvers : The Ubyssey


Hot Teams in the Pioneer –

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.56.08 PM

UBC swept our feature series with a couple of convincing wins over the Lethbridge Pronghorns in Vancouver. The Birds start the 2nd half by claiming sole possession of top spot, and may well be the odds-on favourites.
Calgary, in 2nd place,  takes a couple of nail-biters from a revitalized Saskatchewan team … both games could have gone either way, but the end game came out in the Dinos favour twice on home court.
Manitoba Bisons nab a split at UVic, and get back some momentum.  The Herd have a confident tone to their recent communications, and that win keeps them thinking positively. Regina Cougars add big Rawane Ndiaye, and they tack on their 3rd and 4th wins in a row to claim a tie in 3rd at 7-3.  If the big man can make a major impact, this may be a team to watch !
Winnipeg sweeps Brandon in a home and home, and the Ws are back to .500, and tenuously gripping the #7 playoff spot.


The Explorer Heats-Up !  –

Chris Mooney, MacEwan guard, drives vs UNBC.

Chris Mooney, MacEwan guard, drives vs UNBC.       photo  – UNBC Sports


Both of the favourites, the TRU Wolf Pack and the UFV Cascades tripped and fell on Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.56.40 PMSaturday.  The hot team for the weekend was the G’Mac Griffins, who secured 2 big road wins to move into a 3rd place tie with Okanagan.
The Heat ambushed the Wolf Pack in Saturday’s all-Okanagan tussle, and the ‘unbeatable aura’  fades away in a hurry.
Mt. Royal needed and got a glimmer of hope as they took advantage of a short-handed Fraser Valley team, and got a very useful and encouraging road win in a ‘weird’ finish Saturday.


Regina's Brian Ofori helps his team on and off the court last week!

Regina’s Brian Ofori helps his team on and off the court last week!   photo –


Top 10 Players Last Week –

Brian Ofori, Reg. Cougars –  Our ‘Man of the Week’ !  He flies to NC to accompany his new teammate, ‘Pops’ Ndiaye, on a highway jaunt up to the ‘Great White North’ to begin the week. Then he brings his special ‘Energy -Blast’ game to the court on Saturday and Sunday … 17/15/ 4 blk  24 points, 21 rebounds, and 6 blocked shots coming off the bench in the Cougs bully job on the visiting TWU Spartans.

Brett Layton, MR Cougars – The mature rookie forward is the real deal for MRU, as his 18.7 ppg puts him 6th in Canada West scoring, and 11 rebs/game are 2nd in the League.  Rookie of the Year material, without doubt! The truly hot 6-8 post puts up 41 points and an astonishing 35 rebounds in the 2 game split at Fraser Valley.
Kevon Parchment, Cascades –   UFV may be reeling from their zany Saturday OT fiasco, but Parchment shows his unfaltering effort with 40 points, 30 rebounds, 9 assists, and 8 steals in the games vs Mt. Royal.  One of the very best in the League again this season.

Thomas Cooper , Dinos – The 6-5 import guard got a rough-ride from the U of S defenders, but, despite a lukewarm shooting weekend, he makes clutch points in the 4th quarter both nights to help UC grab the Ws. 43 points/ 16 rebounds/ 10 assists for the weekend.

Denzel Lynch-Blair, Wesmen – The fiery shooting guard brings it in Brandon – 25 points, 5 rebs, 3 asst, 2 steals … then he produces in the ‘return bout’ in Winnipeg on Saturday, with 19 points, 7 boards, and 5 helpers.  The Ws need his best, and he delivers the heat this past week.

Shane Osayande ,   Huskies –  Just what the Dr, ordered for the Sled Dogs!  The athletic, strong post man was a tower of strength inside, as he posted 2 game totals of 34 points and 31 rebounds.  His presence gives Saskatchewan a much tougher team as we get into  the playoff run.  They may be down, but don’t count them out just yet!

Phil Jalalpoor, T-Birds – The import point man starts to shine, as the ‘Birds rip Lethbridge down a couple of notches in the standings.  He is a strong floor leader, and tallies 32 points/ 7 rebounds, and 8 assists to help UBC to 2 home victories. He reps the other Thunderbirds, several of whom had excellent weeks!

Ryan May has a big weekend, as the Griffs sweep at Northern B.C.

Ryan May has a big weekend, as the Griffs sweep at Northern B.C.

Ryan May,  Griffins – This 6-6 , 5th year G-Mac forward (Daysland, AB)  played a big role in vaulting the Griffs into a 3rd place Explorer tie with 2 solid outings at UNBC.  His hot Saturday game with 24 points was critical in a 72-70 thriller, and he totaled 36 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assts.

Kelvin Smith, Spartans –  A steady, strong effort from Kelvin, even as his team continues to struggle. The L.A. native  piles up 41 points, 10 boards, and 6 steals, with great work at both ends of the court.

Grant Sitton, Vikes – In a split with Manitoba, the slender, slick, 6-7 Sitton is easily the top threat for the Vikes, with his 38 points and 20 boards for the 2 game set.


Sunday Game result from Regina –

at Regina  95 Trinity Western  60  –  The Cougars emphatically finish off the sweep of Regina copythe Spartans, with 11 treys to 3 for TWU, and a 30-10 pasting in the 2nd stanza.  6 Regina players reached 10 points or more, with 16 by Aaron McGowan off the bench, and 13 each from Alex igual and Will Tallman.  Stephen Shields had a nice 11 point/10 rebound double for the Cougs, who advance to 7-3 on the season. Trinity remains winless at 0-10, with another rough night, shooting just 34% from the floor and turning the ball over 21 times.  Kelvin Smith scored 19 points for TWU and Lucas Mannes had 16 plus 8 rebounds.  Box Score

Other CIS Scores –
Atlantic –  Acadia  75  at  Memorial 73


Overtime –

  • Well, so much for easing into the line-up … On Sunday in Regina, playing in his 2nd game since arriving by car from his home in Raleigh, NC, Rawane Ndiaye, the 6-10 import  transfer from U. Tennessee,  scored 9 points/ 5 rebounds against the TWU Spartans.   He played 10 minutes on Saturday, and 15 on Sunday.
  • It was a raucous environment at Calgary’s Jack Simpson Gym on Saturday night, as the Bell All Star Challenge visited Calgary.  The NBA road show, a promotional tour pumping-up the Toronto Raptors hosting of the February 14  NBA All Star game, drew a packed house of many young community and school players and their families and friends.  Contests, give- aways, celebrity appearances, and OKC Thunder dancers livened up the evening. Great for promoting the game, the CIS, minor basketball. Thanks to the  NBA, Bell Canada, Air Miles, and UC.  The Bell All Star Challenge Tour continues with upcoming events scheduled for – both Windsor and Saint Marys-Halifax, Jan. 16 – then U. Alberta and UBC, Jan. 23 – Carleton and Bishop’s on Jan. 30 – finishing at U. Toronto on Feb. 6.  Local winners will receive all-expenses paid trips to Toronto to compete in the finals as part of the NBA All-Star weekend.
  • Here’s a ‘doff of the toque’ to long-time fans of Canada West Basketball …
    Dennis Kadatz, former UC Athletic Director and Football Coach, with his wife, Denise.

    Dennis Kadatz, former UC Athletic Director and Football Coach, with his wife, Denise.

    So many supporters for the many teams in our League have been witnesses to game action from Vancouver Island to Winnipeg for decades.  On the weekend in Calgary, we saw and talked with many veteran fans, including  Spero and Georgia Leakos, who now reside in Calgary, but who are lifetime Saskatchewan Huskies supporters. Spero, for many years the score-keeper for U of S home games,  was the long-time owner of the classic ‘Commodore Cafe’ in downtown Saskatoon, and he and Georgia made a great effort to come out to see the Sled Dogs play the Dinos. Many other notables including Jack Neumann, Dennis and Denise Kadatz,  Peter and Liz Connellan, Teresa and Don Maxwell, Skip Morgan, Ken Myhre, and Ken Parent .