Final 4 ‘Wide Open’ – Friday Semi-Finals

 

 

Berths in U-Sports Nationals Up for Grabs

One win away.  For the 4 teams in this week’s Final 4, their clearest focus may well be the one major step they have to take to get to the National Championship tournament in Halifax on March 9-12.   Win Friday, and you’re in.

This makes for as intense a game as they will have played all year.  The host Calgary Dinos won last year’s Canada West Final, and went on to reach the championship game vs Carleton last March in Vancouver.  The largely veteran Dinos are aiming for a repeat appearance, but will have a real tussle with the Manitoba Bisons. The Herd have not played in a National Final 8 Championship since 1985, and they are aching to seize this opportunity.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have had fairly recent runs to a Nationals Tournament, with Alberta in 2014 and Saskatchewan in both 2014 and 2015.  The Bears and Huskies split their regular season series in Saskatoon in early February, and their Friday tip-off at 3 pm will continue a fierce rivalry .

5th year Huskies forward, Trevor Severinski, hopes to find some magic against the Golden Bears                  Photo – Huskies Athletics

# 9 Saskatchewan Huskies  vs #8  Alberta Golden Bears –  Saskatchewan are worried about the Bears’ ability to put up points, and Alberta’s staff will be devising strategies to defend the post combo of Shayne Osayande and Matt Forbes.  The 3 point shot could obviously be a difference maker, as it has been for Canada West’s best long-range shooting team, U of A,  much of the regular season.

The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye shoots 41.5% from 3 point range, and he’s the 5th best of the GB’s shooters from outside the arc ! (Gueye is 12th in CW, and, of course, he has a few other skills to bring to the party.)  Austin Waddoups 46.8%, Andre Kelly 44.7%, Geoff Pippus 42.6%, and Ivan Ikomey 42.2%.  Hot.  And the Bears still have the inside threat of all-star post man, Brody Clarke.

The Huskies Osayande can take over a game.  He’s a walking, leaping, shot-blocking, double-double.  And his muscular ‘mate,  Forbes, has that 5th year zeal as he steps on the stage for one of his last performances. The ‘Dogs may live and die with the 2 -way games of their guard corps, Lawrence Moore, Jaylan Morgan, and Alex Unruh.  Getting Morgan back is vital to their cause, as is the rejuvenation of the offensive threat posed by ‘small forward’, Trevor Severinski.  This 5th year shooter has found his shooting eye at just the right time.

This is a ‘street fight’ kind of game, which we see as a toss-up.  Shake hands and go to a neutral corner.   It’s a matinee game time of 3 pm .   Canada West TV

Calgary’s Mitch Ligertwood should be a key figure vs the Bisons.                   Photo- David Moll – UC Athletics

#5 Calgary Dinos  vs  Manitoba Bisons –  The Bisons come off a 2 game road sweep of the previously 25-1 UBC Thunderbirds.  They should be on a ‘Wanted Poster’ !  Armed and dangerous !  The 4 pillars of this team, Ilarion Bonhomme, A.J. Basi, Keith Omoerah, and Justus Alleyn averaged 33.5 minutes apiece, and tallied 88% of the Herd’s points in Vancouver.

Bonhomme is most dangerous as a penetrator, and Alleyn has been their ‘drop dead’ scorer for most of the season.  Omoerah is a multi-faceted weapon, with his rebounding, scoring, and leadership.  Basi has been a streaky shooter, but has a knack at crunch time.  The Dinos will know that they can’t give him too much free room.  Off the bench Coach Kirby Schepp utilizes veterans Malik Irwin and Joey Nitychoruk along with all-rookie forward  James Wagner.

Calgary will be playing a variety of ‘small ball’, very likely.  Mitch Ligertwood had a strong series in the post against TRU, and he has the experience from last year’s Final 4 to inspire his efforts.  The ‘overall team effort’ is the key factor, according to Coach Dan Vanhooren, and he looks to the defensive skills of perimeter  players led by ultra-quick David Kapinga,  shooting guard Thomas Cooper, and his side-kicks, the gritty Jhony Verrone, the spidery, energetic, Mambi Diawara, and skilled rookie, Max Eisle.

Veterans Dallas Karch and Jasdeep Gill are 5th year players who are wanting to go out as winners, and they have both shown an ability to make an impact.  This match-up produced a split on the season’s opening weekend at UC;  we should expect a rousing affair, and quite possibly a ‘down-to-the-wire’ finish.           8 pm on Canada West TV

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In the East –    

Carleton’s Connor Wood, OUA Player of the Year.
photo – Ottawa Citizen

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 has  #1 Carleton vs  #4 Brock at 4:50 Eastern time , and #3 Ottawa vs #2 Ryerson  7:50  from Carleton U. in Ottawa   Both on  OUA TV   The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.   For more detail, check in with Mark Wacyk’s comprehensive  CANhoops.ca  blog, with great OUA coverage.

Atlantic  –   The festive annual tradition of the Atlantic Tournament at the Halifax Scotia Bank Centre will tip-off on Friday with the two Quarter-Finals –  Acadia vs  Memorial  at 6:30  Atlantic time , and  St. Mary’s vs  St. FX  at 8:30.  Both of these games are available live on AUS TV    .   Friday’s winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)  with the championship final going Sunday at 4:30.   Dalhousie will be the host team for the U-Sports Nationals.

Quebec –   Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

 

Overtime –

  • There is some heated discussion surrounding the one ‘At-Large or ‘Wild-card’ spot in the March 9-12,  U-Sports Final 8 Nationals  to be awarded by a Coaches Committee after play this Sunday.  We wrongly suggested that Canada West has a rule that only Final 4 teams can be considered.  Apparently not, so UBC is able to receive consideration, despite having lost 2 straight to Manitoba in CW Quarter-Finals.  Who knows how this will go?  The results this weekend will be a big factor, of course.  It seems to suggest in the U-Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria  that teams advancing further down the play-off trail be placed in a category 1 ‘cluster’ of teams for consideration.  This is one of the sections which lends more subjectivity to the exercise.
  •  Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren, on his feelings about 4th year guard, David Kapinga’s absence from the CW all-star list.   “Vanhooren was pleased with Kapinga’s performance, calling him an “unrecognized all-star.”  “It’s a shame that a player with that level of talent doesn’t get recognized by our league in that fashion,” he said. “I think that he’s clearly one of the better players in the league and he showed that in the fourth quarter (in last Friday’s win over TRU) . He’s an all-star in my mind.”   From a story in UC’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet. 
  • Forward Lars Schleuter is side-lined for the Dinos

  • Two significant absences last week as their teams qualified for the  Final 4  were  Jaylan Morgan of Saskatchewan  and Lars Schleuter of Calgary.   Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk suggests, “ He’s worked hard to recover, and made significant progress, so  we are expecting Morgan to be back in the line-up for the Semi-Final Friday vs Alberta.”  Schleuter, however, doesn’t expect to be in action this week for the Dinos, and he said “It’s tough to watch from the sidelines, but I have confidence in my teammates this week”.

 

 

 

The 2 Hottest Teams in Canada West

 

 

 

Thunderbirds and Bisons both on a roll in League play 

5th year defensive stopper, Will Ondrik and his T’Birds teammates move to 15-1 on the season.   photo – Richard Lam  ,  UBC Athletics

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

Shane Osayande, Huskies          photo – Huskies Athletics

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 –

Scott Kellum, UVic import guard

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

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92 Years of Refereeing Experience

Richard Schear (L) and Art Unsworth (R) team up at a recent high school tourney .

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.

Overtime –  

Coach Steve Burrows         photo –  Regina Leader-Post

  • 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.
  • Derek Wolf plays his final home game at MRU on Saturday.         photo – MRU Athletics

     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.

 

Calgary Surrenders Lead in Final Minutes

 

 

Hot 2nd half garners win for the Knights

team photo-Lars Schleuter

Lars Schleuter scores 18 , but UC drops a game to Warner-Pacific

 Warner-Pacific Knights 93  Calgary Dinos  86  – The Dinos 2nd game down in Chandler, AZ  was looking good at the half.  Calgary takes a 46-36 half-time lead as Lars Schleuter is hot from the outside.  The 2nd half is a different story, as the Knights charge back with 57 points, and the Dinos cool off with  40.

Most of the damage is done in mid-frame with a 12-1 run from W-P, then again with a 24-10 blitz as they approach 2 minutes.  Calgary get 23 points/ 5 rebs/ 6 assts from  Thomas Cooper, and 18 points  by Schleuter.  Jhony Verrone counted 13 points / 3 assists.   Warner-Pacific hit 28/40 free throws vs Calgary’s 13/19.  Box Score 

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Overtime –

Dave Smart, Carleton, (L), with an incredible winning record in U-Sports.                                           Kevin Hanson, UBC, (Rt) who tops Canada West coaches.

  •  The 15 winningest active coaches   (5 yrs +)  in U Sports (CIS) –  1.  Dave Smart, Carleton – 504 wins – 45 losses = .918  … in 17 years !   2. James Derouin, Ottawa – 173-52 = .769 … 7 yrs   3. Kevin Hanson, UBC – 390-141 = .734  in 17 years   4. Barry Rawlyk, Saskatchewan – 148-60 = .712  in 7 years   5. Amos Connelly, McMaster – 128-59 = .684  in 7 years   6. Steve Konchalski, St. FX – 628-308 = .670  in 42 years!   7. Roy Rana, Ryerson – 126-67 = .653 in 7 years  8. Dave DeAveiro, McGill  (Ottawa) – 329-181 = .645  in 16 years  9. Craig Beaucamp, Victoria – 266-156 = .630  in 14 years   10. Chris Oliver, Windsor (Queens) – 242-154 = .611 in 14 years    11. Adam Friesen, Fraser Valley – 77-49 = .611  in 5 years   12. Barnaby Craddock, Alberta (Brandon, UFV) – 211-143 = .596  in 12 years   13. Jonah Taussig, Saint Marys – 86-61 = .585  in 5 years   14. Dan Vanhooren, Calgary – 292-209 = .583  in 17 years     15. Mike Raimbault, Winnipeg (Brandon) – 126-105 = .545  in 8 years.

 

 

Previews – Saskatchewan, Fraser Valley

 

 

2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

 Saskatchewan Huskies

’15-‘16      No playoffs                  8 win  12 losses (Pioneer)

hus-copy

Returnees –  5th years –  Matt Forbes, 6-6 fwd, Regina Beach. Trevor Severinski, 6-6 fwd, Pitt Meadows, BC. … 4th Year – Shane Osayande, 6-6 fwd, Toronto. Alex Unruh, 5-10 guard, Saskatoon.   … 3rd Years – Mack Burns, 6-6 fwd, Regina.  Joseph Barker, 6-6 fwd, Saskatoon.  … 2nd Years – Chan De Ciman, 6-2 guard, Regina. Dean Wittow, 6-7 fwd, Leduc, AB. Jonathan Halvorson, 6-3 guard, Regina. Reid Thuringer, 6-2 guard, Warman, SK.  … (after redshirt)  1st year – Davis Humbert, 6-2 guard, Saskatoon ( Aden Bowman).

New faces –   Jaylon Morgan, 6-5, 3rd year, Brampton, ON (Williston St., ND). Addison Dewar, 6-3 guard, 1st, Saskatoon (Marion Graham). Emmanuel Akintunde, 6-2 guard, 1st, Saskatoon (St. Joseph)

The Huskies would like to put the 2015-2016 season behind them, and they think they have the team to do that. Missing the playoffs has not been part of the Saskatchewan script for the last 10 years or so, and we expect the Green and White to be better this campaign.

Look for Mack Burns to be a bigger factor for U of S this season.

Look for Mack Burns to be a bigger factor for U of S this season.

The Huskies senior core of players has quickness, rebounding, and scoring ability led by their two big forwards, Matt Forbes and Shane Osayande.  Forbes is a ‘hammer and tongs’ physical force,  who was missed last season when he went down with injury.  Osayande has ‘pro-type’  physical abilities, and he averaged a double of 14 ppg / 10 rebounds, with more to come, we suspect.    Another big man, Trevor Severinski may repeat as the best three- point shooter in Canada West (47% last season), and he can guard a bigger opponent. Mack Burns is a versatile small forward, with a good shooting touch and  an aggressive style as a rebounder. Joseph Barker has also shown a good nose for the boards, and he will provide depth on the frontline.

At the guard spots, Coach Barry Rawlyck has the dynamic  Chan De Ciman (12.5 ppg as a rookie), who will combine with point man Alex Unruh (48% FG, 8 ppg), and newcomer Jaylon Morgan, a big shooting guard. After redshirting last season local Saskatoon product Davis Humbert may get a good look as a backup guard on the playing roster.

The ‘Sled Dogs’ may not be as deep as some of the other top teams, but their best players are very capable of winning enough games to get them in the top three or four. Injuries and other issues took their toll last season, and Saskatchewan will need some better fortune as they chase a championship this year.

Schedule –   Nov-Dec –  at Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, Brandon, at Regina  – 4 series

Jan-Feb –  UBC, at Lethbridge, at Calgary, Mt. Royal, Alberta, at UNBC – 6

Prediction –  Huskies will be better, and may make a mark at playoff time.

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Fraser Valley Cascades

 ’15-‘16 –  Lost to Manitoba, 1/4 finals                  wins 12   losses 8  (Explorer)

Fr Valley

Returnees –   5th years –  Manny Dulay, 6-3 guard, Surrey.  Vijay Dhillon, 6-1 guard, Richmond. 4th year –  Navjot Bains, 6-6 fwd, Surrey.  3rd years – Mark Johnson, 6-6 fwd, Palm Springs, CA.  Matt Cooley, 6-9 fwd, Coquitlam, BC.

New faces –   Andrew Morris, 6-5 fwd, 3rd, Burnaby, BC (tsf. U. Victoria) . Denver Sparks-Guest, 6-5 wing, 3rd year, Coquitlam (tsf from Simon Fraser). Anthony Gilchrist, 6-4 guard, 3rd, Cathedral City, CA  (College of the Desert). .  Sukhman Sandhu, 6-10 fwd, 1st, Surrey (Tamanawis). Riley Braich, 6-3 guard, 1st, Abbotsford (Yale Sr Sec). Daniel Adediran, 6-5 wing, 1st, Surrey (Pacific Academy )   Justin Dhillon, 6-3 guard, 1st, Richmond (HJ Cambie)

There are 7 newcomers in the playing roster for Coach Adam Friesen, going into his 5th year at UFV, which constitutes a big turnover.  The Cascades have had the most competitive program among the newer schools to Canada West, as Friesen has a 67% winning rate in Canada West League play.  This former hot-shooting, lefty guard (TWU) had the Cascades in the Final 4 in 3 of his first 4 years.

This is, however, the first year ‘AKP’ , after Kevon Parchment !  UFV will miss the splendid all-around play of their perennial all-star and ’15-’16 Defensive Player of the Year, who has graduated.  “Right now, we’re just learning we’re in the post-Kevon Parchment defensive life,” Friesen said earlier his Fall. “We have a lot of new faces, we have some growing pains that way, and we’re realizing we maybe got away with some stuff the last couple years because we’ve had Kevon.”

One of the Cascades top shooters, Vijay Dhillon

One of the Cascades top shooters, Vijay Dhillon, is a 5th year leader.

Among the 5 returnees, Coach Friesen can be confident in his pair of 5th year guards, Manny Dulay (11.6 ppg/2/7 asst) and Vijay Dhillon (15.6 ppg/2.5 asst), both of whom shot over 40% from 3 pt range last year.   Mark Johnson (12 ppg/5.7 rebs) , Navjot Bains (7.4 ppg/7.2 rebs), and Matt Cooley (6.7 ppg/6 rebs) provide a solid core on the forward line.

Friesen was extremely busy and very successful with his recruiting efforts this past Spring and Summer.  7 new faces ready to step up, and 6 red-shirts working to make the grade for future campaigns.  Wing man, Andrew Morris, who moves to Abbotsford from UVic, has been offensively sharp in pre-season play, with a 21 point, perfect shooting game against Lethbridge.  Denver Sparks-Guest should be a ‘first 8’ player, with his experience at Simon Fraser;  he is a big guard with the skills to make an impact.

Friesen has been impressed with the early showing of 2 local high school recruits, Riley Braich and Daniel Adediran.  Another rookie to watch is Sukhman Sandhu (Tamanawis, Surrey, BC), a post transfer returning after a red-shirt year in a California JC, who should develop into a solid CIS competitor.

It’s hard to predict how this team will come together, with the number of newcomers to be worked into the line-up.  UFV has the leaders with a history of big-game success, but it remains to see if there will be enough cohesion to play at a high level consistently.

 Schedule –  Nov-Dec. – Saskatchewan, home/home Trinity W, UNBC, at Brandon  – 4 series Jan-Feb – MacEwan, at Calgary, at Alberta, Thompson R., Victoria, at UBC-O – 6


 

 Overtime –    

  • Vicissitudes of the Canada West regular season schedule – Wilfred Laurier (Waterloo, ON)  will have played more games in both B.C. and Manitoba than will Saskatchewan, even after the conclusion of League play.   Neither Victoria nor UBC plays any games in Manitoba … Brandon has 1 series in B.C.
  • Mack Roth is one scorer the Vikes will have to replace.

    Mack Roth is one scorer the Vikes will have to replace.

    Three starters from Saskatchewan’s ’15-’16 team beginning last season are no longer with the team.  Evan Ostertag graduated, Shawn Lathan left, and Jauqin Bennett-Boire left school early in the New Year, and is now red-shirting at UBC. Lethbridge lost 3 starters to graduation/5th year-  Jared Baker, Brandon Brine, and Rob Olson … TWU lost 3, with  Lucas Mannes, Dean Richey  (very early), and Kelvin Smith (5th year grad) .  The biggest group of starters, however, are gone from the UVic Vikes.  Reiner Theil, Brandon Dunlop,  and Mack Roth graduated, while Jordan Charles is not playing this season.

  • All-stars or all-rookie team players returning –  UBC has 3, in Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Conor Morgan, and all-rookie, Taylor Browne. Alberta has Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke (R), Calgary has Thomas Cooper and Lars Schleuter, TRU with Volodymyr Iegorov, and Jeff Tubbs (R), and Winnipeg has Denzel Blair-Lynch, and William Sessay (R) .  ‘Single stars’ – Manitoba has Keith Omoerah, MacEwan – Denzel James, and  Saskatchewan – Chan De Ciman (R).

 

Road Teams With a Chance

 

Road Games a Tough Go in Canada West

Can Mt. Royal and their veteran post man, Jame Lefebvre, win at UBC-O?

Can Mt. Royal and their veteran post man, James Lefebvre, win at UBC-O?

Statistically, and from many coaches’ experiences, winning games on the road in Canada West can be the ultimate challenge.  It’s a long way from Manitoba to B.C., and the athletes are visiting gyms they may never have seen before.

So many factors mitigate against the visitors, but we look this week at several instances where the parity of talent and performance may see some road teams carrying off a win or two by Saturday night. It’s less likely if you’re MacEwan going into TRU, but match-ups like Regina at home to Lethbridge are far less predictable.

So, here are the road teams that might well be holding out hope for at least a split this Friday and Saturday ….   Certainly Fraser Valley at UNBC, and UBC at Saskatchewan  … and Calgary is looking like they will give UVic a run, along with Mt. Royal playing UBC-O in Kelowna   … The two Winnipeg -based schools look like favourites … the Wesmen over Trinity and Manitoba over the Bears, but particular caution for the Herd, however, since Alberta took one from the mighty T-Birds in Vancouver !

Pioneer Division –

Mack Roth has been a consistent scorer for the 4-0 Vikes.

Mack Roth has been a consistent scorer for the 4-0 Vikes.

Calgary Dinos  3-1  at Victoria Vikes  4-0 –  This is a ‘Show Me’ kind of series, with the Vikes having won 6 of 8 meetings over the past 4 seasons.  If the Dinos have designs on beating UVic this time, then the visitors need to win on the boards, run their offense and share the ball, and stifle the Vikes key scorers. (Brilliant game plan, editor!)   Who scores in the paint?  Calgary, with any of their 5 or 6 post players, or Victoria, with their screening, back-cutting, offense?  Calgary hopes for the return of quick guard, David Kapinga, who missed last weekend in Manitoba. Road wins vs good teams are hard to come by ….

Alberta Golden Bears  2-2  at Manitoba Bisons 2-2 —  The Bears have the forwards to give Wyatt Anders, Keith Omoerah, Brett Jewell, and co. a run on the glass, but can their guards match-up with Justus Alleyn, AJ Basi, and Ilarion Bonhomme ?  The compact Colby Jackson is a capable point man for Coach Craddock, and he needs shooting guards …  Sheldon Pittman? Lyndon Annetts? … to make their presence felt.  M. Gueye can’t carry the offense every night! Can the Buffalos break through against the GBs ?

Regina looks to Jonathan Tull to get them 2 wins at home vs the U of L.

Regina looks to Jonathan Tull to give them scoring at home vs the Lethbridge Pronghorns  .

 Lethbridge Pronghorns 2-0 at Regina Cougars 2-0 –  Regina comes off a bye week (rusty or rested?) , and off a win last time they met the ‘Horns.  But Lethbridge has won 7 of their last 8 over the Cougs, and they arrive in the ‘Queen City’ with a veteran crew, led by forward Brandon Brine, and guards Jared Baker and Rob Olsen, who are 5th year players intent on leading U of L to the playoffs.  This should be a tight series, with import guards Dejon Burdeaux (16 ppg/5.5 steals) for the Antelopes and Alex Igual (10 ppg/7.5 asst) for the ‘Cats likely to feature prominently.   Aces for the home squad … Jonathan Tull, and his ‘little brother’, Brandon.

UBC Thunderbirds 3-1 at Saskatchewan Huskies 1-3  –  Another pair of ‘ambitious’ teams in this year of unpredictability in the Pioneer Division …  both the ‘Birds and the Huskies have won a lot of games in the past 10 years (Barry Rawlyk has a 71% winning average for U of S – Kevin Hanson is close to 75% with UBC!)  The T-Birds are 13-4 vs Sask. in those 10 years, and, unless Coach Rawlyk can rally his somewhat bruised ‘pack’, that gap may widen.  UBC has a major size advantage, while Saskatchewan may have more guard depth, however young they may be.  Veterans need to have an impact for U of S – Evan Ostertag and Trevor Severinski, and UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, David Wagner, and Conor Morgan.

Jelane Pryce and the Wesmen are happy to be back home vs TWU.

Jelane Pryce and the Wesmen are happy to be back home vs TWU.

Trinity Western Spartans 0-4 at Winnipeg Wesmen 1-3  –  This may be the lowest profile series of the weekend, but the Spartans will be very motivated to get their opening win, and may have the guns to get it done on the road.  Vartan Tanielian joins Kelvin Smith, Dean Richey, and Lucas Mannes in providing scoring for TWU, and Patrick Vandevelden chips in on the boards.  Winnipeg is happy to be home after their 2 week ‘Tour of Alberta’, and they will want 2 wins to even their record.  Patience is a key for Coach Raimbault, with young players working to ‘learn on the job’.  Jelane Pryce and Jamar Farlay can be leaders for the defense, which will key their successes as a team.

Brandon Bobcats  0-4 … get the bye

Explorer Division –

 

Reese Pribilsky, TRU's 5th year floor leader.

Reese Pribilsky, TRU’s 5th year floor leader.

Mac Ewan Griffins 1-3  at Thompson R. WolfPack 4-0 –  This series is 2-2 over the last 2 seasons !  Will this help the Griffins in their daunting task to sneak a win at Kamloops ?  A-h-h-h-h … NO !  Despite the strength they have on their forward line (Keith Gerdes, Ryan May, Ryan Coleman), Mac will find it hard to match-up with J. Wolfram and friends.  Mac’s guard combo of Denzel James and Thaddeus Galvez will aim to keep TRU’s Reese Pribilsky from controlling the game.  With home court, it’s hard not to see the CIS 10th – ranked WolfPack feeding hungrily.

Fraser Valley Cascades 4-0  at UNBC Timberwolves 1-3  –  UNBC won their last meeting … but, again, does this mean an upset of the 4-0 Cascades?  This is not likely (UFV won all of the previous 10 games shown on CIS Hoops’ chart!) , but the ‘Big Trees’ might be excused for looking ahead in the schedule to Nov. 27/28, when they meet the raging WolfPack in Kamloops.  Trap games this week in PG ?   Billy Cheng and Rhys Elliot will need more ‘Wolves in an angry mood, if they are to threaten Kevon Parchment, Vijay Dhillon, Manny Dulay and the rest of a strong UFV contingent.

 

Mitch Goodwin is a key offensive weapon for the Heat.

Mitch Goodwin is a key offensive weapon for the Heat.

Mt. Royal Cougars 1-3 at UBC-Okanagan Heat  1-3 –  Guarantee … both coaches are thinking – “We gotta win these 2 … this team is ‘gettable’ … We need to make up ground, keep pace, climb in the standings .”  They’re right to think that way, but may admit only that, “We will work on the things we can control; we can’t focus on outcomes, but, rather, on good execution of our system.”   Mt. Royal has an even more youth than Okanagan, but they have more height, and a rapidly improving group of forwards.  UBC-O won a game, they’re at home, and they are improved over last season.  Interesting match-ups – Derek Wolf, Glen Yang, and Brett Layton for MRU vs Aldrich Berrios, Mitch Goodwin, Dean Johnston for Okanagan.


 CIS Scores —

Atlantic –   Saint Mary’s 77 Dalhousie 58  –  The Huskies are the AUS’ most unpredictable team, and Dal will be disappointed as they had a brief flirtation with the CIS Top 10 !   St. FX 93  Acadia 92  – road win for the X-Men in a very well-balanced Atlantic League.
Ontario –    Windsor 81   Ryerson 67 – down go the Rams, the #5 ranked team in the CIS.


 

Overtime –

U of L's Mike Hansen 'co-stars' with our man, David Wells, in a new 'Horns Nation podcast.

U of L’s  Coach Mike Hansen ‘co-stars’ with our man, David Wells, in a new ‘Horns Nation podcast.

  • Coach Mike Hansen, Lethbridge, says, “No one on our team, player or coach, has ever been (to play at UR) in Regina.”  Hansen credits the vicissitudes of the quirky Canada West schedule over the past few years.  This is one of many topics discussed by the ‘Horns Coach and David Wells (‘Basketball Historian’, journalist, Amateur Sports Administrator ….) in the ‘fresh out of the wrapper’  Pronghorns ‘Run Together’ – ‘Wellsie and the Coach’ podcast.
  • Adam Friesen, UFV Head Coach, as  his Cascades head to Prince George for a weekend series against the UNBC T’Wolves. “UNBC is a scrappy team that’s got some really good versatility, and guard scorers,” Friesen analyzed. “We have to keep on sharing the basketball and playing solid defence.”  (From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics)

Saskatchewan and Regina Previews

 

Saskatchewan Huskies, Coach Barry Rawlyk, 6th year

Huskies big man, Matt Forbes

Huskies big man, Matt Forbes

The Huskies, without big men, Matt Forbes and Shane Osayande, have  won 4 of 5 CIS pre-season games to date, including a win over all 3 of UVic, Carleton, and Fraser Valley at the Vikes Tournament.  That suggests to us that, despite some key player losses, U of S will again be one of the top contenders in Canada West.

 Evan Ostertag may be the CW 6th Man of this sesaon, with his scoring touch heading for a 15 ppg+ level, and added experience gives Trevor Severinski a brighter green light to launch his outside shot.  Forbes, when healthy, is a beast inside, and Osayande shows the potential to give  a big assist as a strong defender and a tough rebounder.

Yes, Coach Barry Rawlyk landed yet another San Diego-area recruit in wing man Shawn Lathan, but perhaps more tellingly, he snatched the impressive point man, Jauquin Bennett-Boire, away from B.C., and coaxed the lightening -quick Chan DeCiman up from Regina. These are 2 great rookie additions, and Devin Wittow out of Alberta also looks sharp.

The ‘Dogs host their Graham Construction – Huskie Invitational this coming weekend, with Regina, Windsor,  and Concordia providing an intriguing mix of teams. Rawlyk has a .75% winning record in Canada West and CIS competition, and he may guide the Huskies into another playoff run this time around.

Returnees-

Alex Unruh           G      5-10,  3rd year,  Saskatoon

Evan Ostertag      G       6-1,    5th,     Saskatoon

Jonathan Karwacki  G    6-0,    3rd,      Saskatoon

Joseph Barker          F     6-7,    2nd,     Saskatoon

Matthew Forbes        F     6-6,     5th,     Regina Beach

Shane Osayande       F     6-6,     3rd,     Toronto

Trevor Severinski        F     6-6,     4th,      Pitt Meadows, BC

Mack Burns                F    6-6,       3rd,      Regina

New Faces – 

Devin Wittow             F     6-6,      1st,       Leduc, AB

Chan DeCiman          G    6-2,       1st,      Regina

Shawn Lathan             W   6-4,        2nd,     San Diego, CA (tsf S’Western Jr. Coll. )

Davis Humbert            G     6-2,        1st,      Saskatoon

Jauquin Bennett-Boire  G   6-2,        1st,       Abbotsford, BC

Reid Thuringer             G    6-2,         1st,     Warman, SK

 

Regina Cougars – Coach Steve Burrows, 3rd year

Regina copy

There are rumblings around the West that imply the Cougars may be more vicious predators in the 2015-16 campaign. Coach Burrows is typically reluctant to predict great things … “We are trying to build a winning culture and attitude … one day at a time.”  Well Coach, it should be easier with a healthy Alex Igual, the flashy import guard, and a solid returnee group led by the high-octane brothers Brandon and Jonathan Tull, shooter Travis Sylvestre, and big men Jeremy Zver and Will Tallman.

 Brandon Tull will be a leader for U of R

Brandon Tull will be a leader for U of R

Coach Burrows said, “Both Stephen Shields and Gurkirat Kular have the skills to give us a little more useful depth.  But we won’t get Ndiaye until after Christmas … he is finishing his degree in Tennessee.”

Regina has the size, the experience, and, maybe now with Igual, the offensive consistency to take a determined run at the post-season.

This group was not that far away last year, and, as the Coach points out, “We’ve added a few more pieces to help us win the games that may have slipped through our hands in past years.” An early indication will be how they fare against some pretty good teams at the U of S Tournament this weekend. The ‘Green Cougars’ also travel to Nova Scotia in  a couple of weeks to play in the Cape Breton U. Classic.

Returnees –

Travis Sylvestre  6-4   F,       4th,    Regina

Will Tallman       6-8     F,      5th,    Regina

Brandon Tull     6-4    G,     3rd,    Ajax, ON

Jonathan Tull    6-4     G      5th,    Ajax

Matt Augustine 6-0     G      5th,    Toronto  (* injured)

Alex Igual          6-4       G,    4th      Barcelona, Spain

Jeremy Zver      6-5        F,     5th     Regina

Brian Ofori         6-5        F,     3th,    Montreal

Mike Malecha      6-2       G,    3th,   Regina

Zach Mihalicz      6-8        P,     2th     Parker, Colorado

Brandon Buttazoni 6-0     G,    3th,     Regina

Additions: 

Stephen Shields     6-7      P,     4th,    Brandon, MB  ( tsf Brandon )

Kolton Bellamy       6-6      F,     1st,     Regina

Rawane Ndiaye       6-10    P,     2nd,   Bronx, NY (tsf Tennessee )

Gurkirat Kular           6-4      G,    1st,    Surrey, BC ( tsf Simon Fraser )

Sam Hillis                  6-3       G,    1st,     Regina

 

Overtime –

  • The Doug Mitchell Sports Centre at UBC has a new basketball court, in preparation for the 2016 CIS Final 8 Tournament. Story in The Ubyssey. The floor was ‘christened’ on Oct. 2 as UBC hosted their Fall Invitational Tournament.
  • Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson (Dinos) and Jordan Baker (G. Bears) are both starting for Galitos-Tiey in the Portuguese Pro League.  We are having no luck getting a translated page, but will keep trying.
  • Howard Kelsey, Canada Basketball, encourages a look at the new National Team Alumni website –   http://www.nbtaa.com
  •  Scores from last week –  Calgary 93 Saskatchewan 81,  Brock 103 Brandon 86, Sask. 69 Mt. Royal 62, Calgary 76 Alberta 64, Brock 81 Winnipeg 52, MacEwan 65 Manitoba 64, Mt. Royal 53 Alberta 50,  UFV 90 Trinity W. 81, Winnipeg 75 MacEwan 66, Brock 79 Manitoba 75, UFV 77  TWU 68, Brandon 114 MacEwan 107.
  • Saskatchewan vs Concordia, and Regina takes on Windsor to tip off the Graham Construction Tournament in Saskatoon on Thursday.  The Stingers won 3 straight at their own Dore Tournament last week, and Windsor may be a Top 10 team again this year in CIS.

CIS Final 8 – Schedule Set

 

This week's CIS Final 8 at Ryerson - 1st time ever in Toronto.

This week’s CIS Final 8 at Ryerson – 1st time ever in Toronto.

CIS Final 8 – Tournament Seeding

1. Carleton Ravens (Ontario champions: 17-2 reg. season / 3-0 playoffs)
2. Windsor Lancers (Ontario finalists: 15-5 reg. season / 3-1 playoffs)
3. Ottawa Gee-Gees (Ontario 3rd place: 18-1 reg. season / 2-1 playoffs)
4. Victoria Vikes (Canada West champions: 15-5 reg. season / 4-0 playoffs)
5. Dalhousie Tigers (Atlantic champions: 10-10 reg. season / 3-0 playoffs)
6. Bishop’s Gaiters (Quebec champions: 8-8 reg. season / 2-0 playoffs)
7. Ryerson Rams (Ontario 4th place: 17-2 reg. season / 1-2 playoffs)
8. Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West finalists: 15-5 reg. season / 3-2 playoffs)

 

Tournament Schedule –

Wednesday, March 11 – Team practices, and All – Canadian Awards  

Thursday, March 12 – Quarter-Finals
11 am  – game 1-  # 8 Saskatchewan vs. # 1 Carleton
1 pm –   game 2 –  # 4 Victoria  vs. # 5 Dalhousie                                                     break –                                                                                                                                   6 pm – game 3 – # 7 Ryerson vs. # 2 Windsor                                                                                                  8 pm – game 4 – # 6 Bishop’s  vs. # 3 Ottawa

All games can be seen on (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv

Friday, March 13 Consolation Semis
2 pm –    game 5 – Loser game 1 vs. Loser game 2
4 pm –    game 6 – Loser game 3 vs. Loser game 4

Saturday, March 14 – Consolation Final (5th) and Championship Semis
2 pm –   5th-place game – winners  Games 5/6   (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv)  break                                                                                                                                      6 pm  Semifinal 1 – Winners games 1 and  2 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv)         8:30 pm Semifinal 2: Winners games 3 and  4 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Sunday, March 15 – 3rd Place game and the Championship Final
11:30 am 3rd place game …  (Rogers TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
3:00 pm   Championship Final  (Sportsnet 360 & ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **

 

OUA Leads in CIS Tournament Titles with 21

4 teams in this year's Final 8 Tournament.

4 teams in this year’s Final 8 Tournament in Toronto.

Carleton – 10 (2002-2014)

Windsor – 5 * (1963-69 – include Assumption)

Waterloo – 2 (1968 +75)

Brock – 2 (1992 + 2008)

Guelph – 1 (1974)

Western – 1 (1991)

Canada West – 19

Victoria dominated in the 'Ken Shields Era' .

Victoria dominated in the ‘Ken Shields Era’ .

Victoria – 8 (1980-1986 + 1997)

* Brandon – 4 (1987, ’88, ’89 + ’96) ‘GPAC’

Alberta – 3 (1994, ’95, and ’02)

UBC – 2  (1970 and ’72)

Manitoba – 1 (1976)

Saskatchewan – 1 (2010)

Atlantic – 10

Saint Mary’s – 4 ( 1973, ’78, ’79, ’99)

St. FX – 3 (1993, 2000, ’01)

Acadia – 3 (1965, ’71, ’77)

Quebec – 2

Concordia – 1 (1990)

Bishop’s – 1 (1998)

 

Overtime –

Transfer leads to a title for UVic's Mack Roth.

Transfer leads to a title for UVic’s Mack Roth.

  •   UVic’s 4th year transfer,  Mack Roth,  who was born in Saskatoon when his Dad was Head Coach for the Huskies, on how he got to play for the Vikes, “I took a transfer year (after 2 seasons at UBC-O) — I wanted to play for an elite program,” he explained. “(Vikes coach) Craig Beaucamp was great. He brought me on. I worked my way into the rotation.  I’ve been getting a chance to get a lot minutes this year on a very good team. This is a dream come true. I’ve never won anything before, so this feels great.”  By Darren Zary, in the Star-Phoenix.
  • Victoria Coach Craig Beaucamp, on the thrill of winning the Canada West
    Vikes' Craig Beaucamp is no stranger to CIS Tournament play.

    Vikes’ Craig Beaucamp is no stranger to CIS Tournament play.

    Championship for his Vikes, “Getting to Nationals is always the big goal and sometimes teams under estimate the value of winning a conference championship,” added Beaucamp, who wins just his second conference title in his 12-year tenure. “There is still so much pride in winning your conference, as the last time we won was 2006 so, it’s definitely not easy to do. Several of the guys on the team have played through the last two silver medals so it was nice for them to get this win.”  From a post-game report by UVic’s Ali Lee.

  • Saskatchewan Coach, Barry Rawlyk, suggests that UVic might have been better prepared for the Final than his Huskies , “The Vikes were a little better prepared to play in the final than we were,” said Rawlyk. “In hindsight, so much of our preparation was for (semifinal opponent) UBC.  That’s nothing to take away from the Vikings. They played very well tonight. At the end of the day, the game gets closed out or doesn’t get closed out by us.”  From U of S Athletics.

Championship Play This Weekend

 

Dadrian Collins and  the #1 seeded Huskies are looking for a home court championship this weekend.

Import forward, Dadrian Collins and the #1 seeded Huskies are looking for a home court championship this weekend.

 

Canada West Final 4 – at U. Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

Semi-Finals, Friday, March 6 –

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 4.41.56 PM

Finals, Saturday, March 7 

 

McGill are the # 1 seed in the 'Q'.

McGill are the # 1 seed in the ‘Q’.

Other CIS Playoff action this weekend –

Quebec Final 4 – at Bishop’s U., Lennoxville

Friday, Semi-Finals – Bishop’s Gaiters  vs Laval Rouge et Or, McGill Redmen vs Concordia Stingers

Saturday , Final – Winners to play for ‘the Cup’, and a spot at Nationals.

 

 

Ottawa has home court in the OUA Tournament.

Ottawa has home court in the OUA Tournament.

Ontario Final 4 – at Ottawa U.

Friday, Semi-Finals – Carleton Ravens vs Ryerson Rams,  Ottawa Gee-Gees vs Windsor Lancers

Saturday –  3rd place game and Champ. Final –  all 4 teams will qualify for Nationals

 

 

And, it all leads to  … March 12-15, CIS Final 8 – at Ryerson U. – Mattamy Centre, Toronto2bpi18nnb2c9yhlr copy 2

Teams – Ryerson (host),  Dalhousie (AUS champs),  3 more OUA teams, 2 Canada West finalists, Quebec champs.

Quarterfinals on Thursday, March 12,

Cons. Semi- finals on March 13,

Championship semis –  and Consolation final, Sat., March 14

3rd place game, championship final, Sun. March 15

 

Overtime –

  •  images Batten down the hatches, men !  As we suggested in our preview, it may well turn into a ‘Pier 6 brawl’ in game 2 on Friday in Saskatoon as the Huskies try to turn the tables on the T-Birds, who won 2 in Vancouver in November.  Somewhat ominous utterings from the Sled Dog camp … “We’re excited to be hosting and for our first-round matchup against UBC, because they kind of smacked us around a little bit back at the beginning of the season,” says Huskies forward Evan Ostertag. “We’re excited to see how far we’ve come from then.” U of S head coach Barry Rawlyk says the T-birds put the Huskies back on their heels with their very physical style of play. “It was really a war,” Rawlyk recalls. “We have to be prepared to stand up to them in terms of physicality.”   – From a Star-Phoenix article by Darren Zary
  • A newer face in the line-up for Saskatchewan is Shane Osayande, a 6-6 forward, who transferred from Algonquin College, and, after some frustrating delays,  just became eligible for the last part of the regular season.  Osayande could see some time on the floor this weekend, and his coach suggests that he has the tools to help the Huskies win,  “He brings a level of athleticism we haven’t had for a while,” says U of S head coach Barry Rawlyk. “That’s not to disparage the athletic talents of any of our guys but he just really gets up so quick. He’s very long and has good size.”  Another story in the Star-Phoenix from Darren Zary.

Preview- Calgary-UFV, TRU-Sask.

Can point man, Manny Dulay, guide his Cascades to another Canada West Final 4?

Can point man, Manny Dulay, guide his Cascades to another Canada West Final 4? Photo – UFV Cascades Athletics

 

Dinos at Cascades  –  2nd Seed  On Home Court

As Fraser Valley Coach Adam Friesen suggests, the Cascades “ … have been pretty good at protecting our home court.” His team is 11-2 vs CIS schools at Abbotsford this season, and the visiting Dinos will be hard-pressed to win twice this weekend.  But, the Dinos come of a 2 game sweep of Manitoba in Calgary last week, and, coincidently, the Cascades lost to Thompson Rivers in their final home League tilt.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 11.20.37 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 11.22.01 AM

UFV has a veteran group, home court, a tenacious defense, and a handful of guys – Manny Dulay, Kevon Parchment, Jasper Moedt, Dominique Brooks – who can give decisive efforts.  Depth is a question, with big man Nate Brown getting only sparse action over the final 2 weeks of the schedule.  Calgary has a 9-10 deep rotation, with Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson their obvious court leader, aided by Phil Barndt, Dallas Karch, Josh Owen-Thomas, Lars Schleuter, and LJ Hegwood who all log consistent minutes each time out.

Prediction – Who hits the shots?  Who plays better defense?  Who controls the boards?  This may be a 3-game toss-up, although you have to give an edge to UFV for their 1st place finish and overall record.  ( 6 pm Pacific – Fri /Sat )

 

Dadrian Collins is a deadly outside threat for the #1 seeded Huskies.

Dadrian Collins is a deadly outside threat for the #1 seeded Huskies.

Huskies Heavy Favourites Despite Alternate Gym

The Saskatchewan Huskies are very tough to beat on their home court at the PAC (12-1 this season), and they’ve earned that advantage through the playoffs, if they beat Thompson Rivers this weekend.  But wait !  They’ve been bumped (by the CIS V-Ball Tournament … MT!) over to the cozier confines of St. Joseph’s HS gym for games 1 and 2.  Still, it’s Saskatoon (-30 C presently, just to greet the B.C. boys!), and the 15-5 Sled Dogs are anxious to make short work of the visiting Wolf Pack, and stay home for the Final 4. TRU comes in after a 2 game sweep of Winnipeg, and has built some confidence with their last 2 weeks of ‘playoff competition’.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 1.19.26 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 1.19.38 PM

The Huskies get it inside, shoot more free throws, and have a big rebounding edge; they add quality depth with Mike Scott, Evan Ostertag, and Connor Burns.The ‘Pack can be 9-10 deep, but need exceptional offensive efforts from vets like Brett Parker, and Tallon Milne.  Prediction – TRU will not be over-run, with their defensive effort holding them in, but the Huskies just have more experience and depth.  A two game sweep seems likely.   ( 7 pm Central, Fri/Sat )

 

This Week’s Quarter-Finals Schedule for Canada West –

Thurs –  UNBC at UBC,  Alberta at UVic   both are 7 pm Pacific

Friday – TRU at Saskatchewan – 7pm Central,  Calgary at UFV – 6 pm Pacific

Alberta at UVic – 7 pm Pacific,  UNBC at UBC – 8 pm Pacific

Saturday –  TRU at Saskatchewan – 7pm Central, Calgary at UFV – 6 pm Pacific

If necessary … Alberta at UVic  and  UNBC at UBC – both at 7pm Pacific

Sunday –    if necessary … Calgary at UFV – 2 pm PST, TRU at Saskatchewan – 7pm  CST

 

VG's Ryan Bennett scores 30 on 9/18 from 3 pt range in win over

VG’s Ryan Bennett scores 30 on 9/18 from 3 pt range in win over York.

CIS Scores from the East –

OUA Playoffs – 

Lakehead 69  Guelph 48, W. Laurier 90  Western 82, Windsor 85 Toronto 71, Laurentian 87 York 84

Saturday Q-Finals –

#5 Windsor at #4 McMaster,

Lakehead at #1 Carleton,

Laurentian at #2 Ottawa,

W. Laurier at #3 Ryerson.

 

Overtime –

  • How does U of S’ Ben Baker get to be a 2-time winner of CW Defensive Player of the Year ?  Here’s how, as described by Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk, “He plays all over the place,” said Rawlyk, “but the major thing with him is he’s been asked to guard every team’s most prolific scorer and he does remarkably well regardless of what position his opponent plays.”  Also, “His ability to rebound the ball, to end defensive possessions, has been key to our success all year,” stressed Rawlyk. From a Star-Phoenix article by Darren Zary.
  •  Canada West champions from the past 15 seasons:  UBC (5) – 2003, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013;  Alberta (3) – 2005, 2012, 2014; Calgary (2) – 2004, 2009;  Victoria (2) – 2001, 2006; Saskatchewan (1) – 2010; Brandon (1) – 2002.  The Vikes lead all-time , with 14 titles, Alberta has 11, UBC 10, Calgary 4, and Lethbridge, Brandon and Saskatchewan 1 each. (Remember that schools like Brandon, Regina, Winnipeg, Manitoba have titles from the Great Plains Conference prior to joining Canada West).
  • Long, tall, and super-dedicated Western Saskatchewan veteran referee, Art
    Art, the cowboy, with sons Chris (L) and Clint ®.

    Art, the cowboy, with sons Chris (L) and Clint ®. Back in the day !

    Unsworth, on his ‘Junior Mentors’ program for encouraging young officials – “The biggest obstacle in development …  is the cities, (who) have enough …. (While)  Without support, development, and evaluation from the urban/provincial associations the rural continues (to struggle) in the bush.” This program has run  for 5 years, with mixed results, with 8 students in the Maple Creek area this season, but other towns might not get much going.  It’s a great cause, Art !  Hopefully others will work along with you.

 

Dinos – Bears Battle Thursday

 

Rivalry Game Can Change Fortunes

Calgary's Jarred Ogungbemi_Jackson and Alberta's Joel Friesen lead their teams into the Thursday show-down in Calgary.

Calgary’s Jarred Ogungbemi_Jackson and Alberta’s Joel Friesen lead their teams into the Thursday show-down in Calgary.

Alberta Golden Bears (11-6)  at #10 Calgary Dinos (12-5) –  The Big Game … just one this week for these 2 arch-rivals, and they are both eager for the win.  It really does change their playoff outlook with a W vs an L !  Calgary won the game in Edmonton back in December, but tons of ice has flowed under the bridge since then.  Bears have 5 wins in a row, and the ‘dynamic duo’ of Joel Friesen (19 ppg, 5 rebs, 2.2 asst) and Mamadou Gueye (17.5 ppg, 7 rebs, 2 asst) have been burning it up during that run.  When called upon, like Batman, 5th year wing, Ken Otieno (14 ppg,  5 rebs) will offer up a 20 point outburst to save the day.  The GBs get good floor leadership from Youssef Ouahrig (9 ppg, 4 rebs, 4 asst), and they are deeper up front with the presence of 6-8 rookie Sebastian Denault (7 ppg, 5 rebs in 19 minutes).

Phil B

Dinos Phil Barndt –                         Photo David Moll for UC

Calgary comes off a thrill-a -minute road series tussle with UBC, where they get a split, and are now sitting 3rd with 3 games left … 1 with the Bears and 2 at Saskatchewan. Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is playing like a man possessed, and tallying team highs with 20.5 ppg, 7.4 rebs, 5.1 assts, and 1.6 steals.  His fellow 5th year, import forward, Phil Barndt, averages 10 ppg, 4.6 rebs, but has been more aggressive lately, witness a 26 pt/11 reb gem last Friday vs the ‘Birds. The Dinos are always looking for a couple of more stalwarts to step up and assert themselves; 2 prime candidates are Dallas Karch, who leads Canada West in FG% at .637, and has been reaching double figures more often lately, and the ebullient (look it up) Matt Letkeman, who, if he can avoid drawing too much attention from the officials, can do some damage inside.

Too close to call, really.  “Neutral corners … protect yourselves at all times.”

 

Friday / Saturday  in Canada West –

Brandon Tull, Regina

Brandon Tull, Regina –      Sportshooter photo

UBC Thunderbirds (10-6) at Regina Cougars (7-9) –  The ‘Tommy Nixon Show’ goes on the road !  A ‘fresh’ weekend in Regina, and a Cougars team with something to prove, perhaps?  Nixon, with a white-hot streak, now leads CW in scoring at 21.8 ppg, with his finesse/grappling style in the post, and 61% FG average with 52% from outside. Someone cover that dude!  With Jordan Jensen-Whyte looking sharp at the point, and Kedar Wright able to answer the call, UBC is better with the ball.  Their bigs seem to take turns with strong offensive efforts, and the Cougs may be over-run if they can’t defend all that size and shooting.  Regina has the Jonathan (20 ppg, 5.6 rebs) and Brandon (15 ppg, 5 rebs) Tull  brother combo, and forwards Travis Sylvestre and Will Tallman playing significant roles as well.  The T-Birds are riding the wave, and will be tough to beat here.

# 7 Victoria Vikes (12-4) at Brandon Bobcats (1-17) – The Vikes would dearly love to win out, and have someone deliver a blow to the Huskies, with whom they’re locked up in a 1st place Division tie. Brandon has flashes of brilliance, but they’ve been overly seasoned with disinterested rebounding, and porous defense.  Can they surprise the vaunted Vikes out there on the frozen prairie?  Yes, but you’d better get some inviting odds.  Chris MacLaughlin, Marcus Tibbs, Reiner Theil and company will not be allowed to stray too far from the game plan by Coach Beaucamp.

Huskies post man, Matt Forbes

Huskies post man, Matt Forbes

#5 Saskatchewan Huskies (12-4) at Lethbridge Pronghorns (6-10) –  Now, while the legendary home-court voodoo has been oddly absent for much of this season, the ‘Horns can still get ‘herded -up’ and  ride the talents of Brandon Brine, Jared Baker, Brent Watkins, and Rob Olsen.  They gave UVic a couple of good games out on the island, and should not be taken lightly.  The Head Huskie, Barry Rawlyk, will advise his pack accordingly, and the Green and Black will work to extend their 8 game win streak.  Matt Forbes, Connor Burns, Dadrian Collins, and Ben Baker make for tough crew on the boards (2nd best in CW at + 6.4), and their 47% FG shooting produces 83 ppg.  Lethbridge doesn’t match that, and their high turnover rate might make for voracious feeding by the ‘Dogs.

Winnipeg Wesmen (10-6) at Trinity Western (1-15) –  4 consecutive wins have revived the Wesmen, and they are establishing a ‘bend-but-don’t-break’ kind of formula based on a swarming defense. Jelane Pryce has been a consistent scoring leader, and Mark McNee is not far behind;  Jordan Clennon, Chris Baxter, and Travis Krahn are working well together in the back-court.  Trinity has Justin Bakuteka scoring, and both Denny McDonald and Taylor Heinrichs chipping in with points and rebounds, but 1 win in 16 outings ?  No puzzle, really … Winnipeg allows 70 ppg … TWU – 93 ppg !

Jasper Moedt, UFV's top rebounder

Jasper Moedt, UFV’s top rebounder

#9 Fraser Valley Cascades at UNBC Timberwolves (9-7) –   Will this be a ‘vengeful’squad of Cascades, trying to make up for a lone loss after 15 straight wins?  Or rather, do the boys follow anticipated (and paraphrased) wisdom of Coach Adam Friesen, who  might say, “We now have to concentrate on building for the play-offs.  Play good team defense, rebound as a team, and share the ball efficiently, just as we’ve done all season.”  (At least this is what we imagine the song sheet reads this week in Abbotsford). UNBC are happy on the home ice, with 6 wins vs 2 losses, and they have a modest 4 game win streak of their own as they join the hunt for 2nd place.  The  T’Wolves Francko Kouagnia –  Devin McMurtry  vs  the ‘Cades Jasper Moedt – Nate Brown tag team match-up will be well-worth the price of admission!  We also have the shooting artistry of Fraser Valley’s Manny Dulay  (9 treys in a game ?!) and  UNBC’s Rhys Elliot .  Big weekend in Prince George !

Mt. Royal Cougars (7-9) at Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack (9-7) –  You can’t blame the ‘Pack for looking over their shoulders after losing 3 of 6 and giving ground to UNBC.  They will host a Mt. Royal team who knocked off the mighty Cascades, and who still have designs on catching both of TRU and Northern B.C. (Hope springs eternal!)  The Cougars will need to win with defense, and try and keep the score in the 60s or 70s; they score 72 ppg vs 80 ppg for the ‘Pack, and how do they match-up with the TRU big men, 6-11, Josh Wolfram (19 ppg/10.6 rebs), and 6-8, Tallon Milne.  James Lefebvre accepts the challenge game after game, and the athletic MRU perimeter troops will have to do their part.

UBC-Okanagan Heat (3-13)  at  MacEwan Griffins (5-11) –  Has UBC-O found their groove, and can they build on an impressive win their last time out?  Team leaders, Mitch Goodwin and David Manshrek, are getting stellar efforts from super-rookie Aldrich Berrios, and the Heat will need all of that against Denzel James (18 ppg, 6 rebs), Ryan May (12.6 ppg, 8.4 rebs) and the Griffins.

 

The ‘Biggest’ (“Every game’s a big game ….”)  CIS Games this week –

Ottawa's Capital Classic on Friday

Ottawa’s Capital Classic on Friday

OUA –  In the ‘Capital Hoops Classic‘ on Friday –  #2 Carleton  vs #1 Ottawa ,  at #3 Ryerson  Guelph , #6 Windsor at Laurentian , Lakehead at Toronto , at #4 McMaster  Queen’s , Western at Laurentian, at #3 Ryerson   Lakehead , Guelph at Toronto.

AUS –  at UPEI  – Acadia , at Cape Breton – Dalhousie ,  at #8 UNB – UPEI 

Quebec – Concordia – McGill , UQAM  – Bishops  ( home and home series) Laval rests.

 

Overtime –

  •   Former Bears player, Dinos Coach, and Saskatchewan Athletic Director (Boy, did
    John Dewar - Yesteryear

    John Dewar – Yester-year

    this guy get around !) John Dewar, was in touch yesterday.  “I’ll always be a Dino in my heart”, he says. “Please say hello to Coach Vanhooren and all the alumni guys at Senior Night.”  He has another assignment this week, as he ‘rides  shotgun’ in a team van with his son Dan and the Marian Graham Falcons high school team as they play in the Harry Ainlay Tournament in Edmonton.  Dan coaches his 2 nephews (John’s grandsons) Addison (gr. 11) and (gr. 9) Alexander Dewar on the varsity Falcons, who are currently the #1 team in the Saskatoon City League.  Of course, Grandpa John is their biggest fan.    More details in this December story in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix by Don Rice. 

  •   “A lot can happen,” stressed U of S men’s coach Barry Rawlyk, whose team currently is tied with the Victoria Vikes for first in the Prairie Division and second overall in the Canada West conference at 12-4 behind only the Fraser Valley Cascades at 15-1. “We’re in a spot right now where we could finish anywhere from first to sixth (in the Prairie Division), really, but we can’t worry about anything else going on in the league. We just have to take care of the business in front of us.”    From another Star-Phoenix story, this one by Darren Zary.