Thunderbirds and Bisons both on a roll in League play
The 2 hottest teams in Canada West continued to reel off the wins this past weekend. The UBC Thunderbirds, as expected, swept their 2 game set with the Brandon Bobcats in Vancouver, and the ‘Birds are now 7 wins in a row, 2nd only to the Manitoba Bisons in winning streaks, with the Herd up to 8. Manitoba got a scare on Friday at home against the UNBC T’Wolves , but pulled it out, and won more easily on Saturday.
But, in this ‘Year of the RPI Monster’, both teams lost ground in the ‘order of finish’ race. Last week the T’Birds stood at .6559 , but dropped .109, still in the top spot for the moment. The Herd, after their 2 wins, fell 149 points from last week’s .5842. (I guess you just play your best, and let the chips fall …. ). UBC looks to be destined for the 3rd or 4th play-off seed, even at 19-1, while Manitoba are likely 5th in the RPI ordered seeding list.
Both these teams will be ‘tough outs’ in the post-season , and may be good picks for the Final Four. Our best guess for the hosts may be either the Alberta Golden Bears or the Saskatchewan Huskies, who seem to rise to the top spot as we try various guesses for the results of remaining League games. The Dogs and GBs meet in saskatoon this coming weekend to decide the issue.
Who else is going well? The Lethbridge Pronghorns have won 4 straight, and locked up a play-off spot, and have a bye week to marshal their forces before their final week’s appointment vs the Bears in Edmonton.
15 League All-Stars will be tough to decide
Coaches across Canada West are nominating top players for all-star consideration at season’s end. They have 15 players to select, and we thought we’d look at an expanded number of possible candidates.
Keith Omoerah, Justus Alleyn of Manitoba … Denzel Lynch-Blair- Winnipeg … Earl Thompson Jr – Brandon … Brandon Tull – Regina … Shane Osayande, Matt Forbes – Saskatchewan … Dejon Burdeaux, Elliott Sentance – Lethbridge … Brett Layton, Josh Ross – Mt. Royal … Thomas Cooper, David Kapinga – Calgary … Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, Mamadou Gueye, Alberta … Thadius Galvez – MacEwan … Rhys Elliott – UNBC … Volodymyr Iegorov – Thompson Rivers … Aldrich Berrios – UBC-Okanagan … Patrick Vandervelden – Trinity Western … Manny Dulay – Fraser Valley … Conor Morgan , Jordan Jensen-Whyte – UBC … Grant Sitton – Victoria
So, there are 25 of the best. We know we could form a play-off team with 10 who we left off this list, but this is a pretty good crop from which to select.
Top 10 Rookies –
Narcisse Ambanza – Wesmen, James Wagner – Bisons, Johneil Johnson – Reg. Cougars, Max Eisle – Dinos, Scott Kellum – Vikes, Brett Warren – Pronghorns, Craig Martin- MRU Cougars, Trent Monkman – Wolf Pack, Isaiah Familia – T’Birds, Matt Lafontaine – Heat
92 Years of Refereeing Experience
Richard Schear, who lives in Redcliff, AB, began officiating basketball (and, eventually, football) after he had completed his Education degree at University. The 72 year old has been active as a ref now for 48 years, while his taller, much younger side-kick, the irrepressible Art Unsworth, has been a ‘zebra’ for 44 years. Schear explains why he enjoys officiating … First, the camaraderie with the other officials. Second, it forces him to keep in good physical shape. Third, being a referee in high school sports, gives Richard a chance to interact with the youth of today. “By and large those young people who play high school sports are great kids, they will be the leaders of tomorrow,” says Schear. Unsworth, a farmer-rancher near Maple Creek, SK, has 2 sons, Clint (6-10) and Chris (6-8) who both graduated from U. Saskatchewan, having won a Canada West and CIS Championship with the Huskies in 2010.
As well as cheering his boys through high school (Medicine Hat, AB) and university ball, Art, has been a mentor for many young refs in the latter part of his career. We congratulate these two fine gentlemen on their amazing contribution to the game over the years.
- Regina Cougars head coach Steve Burrows on his team’s effort in topping the Calgary Dinos on Saturday, “I wish I could say it was something I said or did, but these guys stuck together and they kept on working at it and kept on going,” Burrows said. “A couple of things went our way and we made some shots. It was just that whole thing of believing and trying to stick with what we were doing.” From a Regina Leader-Post article by Rob Vanstone
- Huskies Coach, Barry Rawlyk, celebrated his 100th and 101st Canada West conference wins as head man for the U of S team with a two-game sweep at home over the Mount Royal Cougars. Rawlyk spent the majority of his long coaching career as a high school coach, before taking over at U. Saskatchewan in 2010. The leading active coach, in his 17th year at UBC is Kevin Hanson with 270 wins in Canada West play. 2nd is Calgary’s Dan Vanhooren, who, over the same 17 years has 201. 3rd – UVic’s Craig Beaucamp with 191 in 13 seasons. 4th – TRU’s Scott Clark, in his 17th year has 179. 5th – Barnaby Craddock of Alberta has 153 in his 12 years at 3 different schools.
This , of course, is the time of year for ‘Senior Nights’, as senior players finish their eligibility, and most also finish a degree. The MRU Cougars graduating players, Brett Layton and Derek Wolf, will be honoured on Saturday night between the 4 pm Women’s game and the 6 pm Men’s contest. TRU’s big man, Volodymyr Iegorov, plays his last home game this Saturday for the Wolf Pack, and 6 other schools will recognize the accomplishments of their senior grads this weekend. UFV – Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon, Winnipeg – Jamar Farley, Brandon – Earl Thompson Jr, Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem, MacEwan- Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, and Thomas Jereniuk, Saskatchewan – Matt Forbes, and Trevor Severinski, UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and Will Ondrik.