These 7 Teams Look to Move Up in Canada West

 

 

Brandon Tull will be a senior leader for the Regina Cougars.      photo – Arthur Ward

 Regina – The Cougars go 9-11 and are good at their best, but are troubled by injuries in the 2nd semester.  Coach Steve Burrows will enter his 5th year at the helm, and faces the task of ‘renewing’ a roster which loses 3 veteran mainstays.  Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, and Matt Augustine graduate, and more size will be crucial in the recruiting project.  The Cougs have dependable vets returning in Brandon Tull, Alex Igual, and Brian Ofori.  Burrows looks to the younger Hillis bothers, Ben and Samuel, and rookie star, Johneil Johnson to pick up some of the slack.  An infusion of talent, especially in the bigs, will be necessary if UR is to move up.

Thompson Rivers –   Coach Scott Clark loses a ‘franchise player’ in import forward, Volodymyr Iegorov, who graduates this Spring.  Clark could anticipate that challenge, but the veteran bench boss also has his rookie stand-out, Trent Monkman,  transferring to Victoria. The Wolf Pack, 8-12,  have been a play-off team in recent years, and Clark has worked successfully to develop his young talent. This coming season will test his resolve once more.  The Orange returnees include import guard, Derek Rhodes, strong forward, Luke Morris, guard, Michael Rouault, and scrappy point man, Madhu McConnell.  TRU will also be looking for some size in the recruiting process, and certainly more depth for this young group.

MRU’s import star, Josh Ross,  returns for his 5th year        Photo – Cougars Athletics

Mt. Royal –  The ‘Blue Cougars’ face a familiar challenge, as Coach Marc Dobell sees 2 big post men, Brett Layton, and Ray Goff leaving the roster along with 5th year guard, Derek Wolf .  Layton is wanting to start Law School, and Goff has had very tough nagging leg injuries, and is graduating early next year.  MRU does return guards Glen Yang, Noah Lewis, and Craig Martin along with import  scoring leader, Josh Ross, Ryan Cunningham, and forward, Nick Tancon.  Coach Dobell is waiting to announce his signees, and has not quite finished the process.  We do understand that L.J. Hegwood is looking to transfer in from SAIT, and that McNally HS (Calgary) star, 6-7 Diew Moses, may be headed to the Cougars as well.

MacEwan –  There will be significant change with the Griffins, as they say goodbye to Denzel James, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens, Keith Gerdes, and Tyler Wise as 5th year grads.  Thadius Galvez, their outstanding lead guard, is also on the move, and Coach Eric Magdanz is left with a major recruiting task.  Returnees Ryan Coleman, Harrison Lane, Adonis Montfort -Palomino, Ali Raza, and Atlas St. Paul-Butler will be counted on next Fall. The Griffs have younger players like British import, Jake Notice, along with 3rd year guard,  Tarik Scott, coming off an injury rehab, and a local red-shirt freshman, Deonte Doslov-Doctor.  Recent signees include Lincoln Anderson, a 6-3 guard from Cardston, AB, who comes off a 2 year Mormon  church mission, and 6-8, Ben Niles, from Kamloops (Valleyview Sr Sec).  Coach Magdanz is also excited about Dustin Gatski  (Westlock, AB), a 6-4 transfer after  1 year of Junior College in Wyoming, and Moreau Amadou  a 6-4 wing from   Sir Winston Churchill, Calgary.

Marcus MacKay will carry a big scoring load for the Timberwolves.

UNBC –  Starting last season at 4-4 last Fall, The T’Wolves struggled through 12 straight losses to finish at 4-16, well out of play-off contention.  They lose their slick guard, Rhys Elliot, along with Elliott Rowe, and Sam Zhang to graduation. Coach Todd Jordan will be looking to add some size and more punch to his roster this Spring and Summer.  The UNBC returnees should include big shooting guard, Marcus MacKay, lead guard, James Agyeman, Vaggelis Loukas, an active forward, and Anthony Hokanson, who is a skilled wing man.   Adam Pahl, a  6-6 wing from Okotoks (Foothills HS) , AB was announced in January, and he comes with high hopes.  Volodymyr Pluzhnikov, is a ‘tough-minded’ guard coming off the red-shirt list, and Jordan has a few more prospects he hopes to sign in the next few weeks.  “We need to get bigger, and to make big improvements in our rebounding”, says the 5th year Head man.

Trinity Western –  The Spartans, 3-17 last season, do not graduate any 5th years, and Coach Aaron Muhic suggests that his returnee list should include all of his current roster players. We have mentioned veteran guard, Tyus Allen, who is rehabbing his injured knee, but who will not be ready until at least the Fall of 2018.  The Spartans will return  import guard, Pogos Trunyan, their high scorer (15 ppg), along with 6-10 post Patrick Vandervelden (13 ppg/7.2 rebs), and Vartan Tanielian, a 12 ppg scorer at wing. Among his younger contributors will be guards Max Viitala, and Josiah Meppelink.  TWU have not announced any new signees or transfers.

UBC-Okanagan –  After an 8-12 record in 2015-16, the Heat cooled off to just 2-18 last season.  Coach Peter Guarasci, in his 5th year, loses guard Mitch Goodwin to graduation.  But, he also has 7 other roster players (Cam Friesen, Randy Jernidier, Ryan Morck, Austin Penrose, Buster Truss, David Manshreck, and Davide Ciancio) who will not return, which obviouly leaves a daunting task of recuiting this Spring. Aldrich Berrios, his high-scoring (17.6 ppg) guard is back for his 4th year, along with back-court rookies, Matt Lafontaine, and Tristan Matthews.  Noma Obeseki, an athletic small forward,  will be entering his 3rd year.  Owen Keyes, a 6’9” Kelowna Sr Sec. stand-out has already signed, and looks like a strong prospect. Jake Stokker, Penticton Sr. Sec  is another big man signee , details in this story from Kelowna Capital News 

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Overtime –

  • Mason Foreman, a 6-7 forward from Winnipeg, who most recently attended Athlete Institute Prep just outside Toronto, has signed with the Calgary Dinos for next Fall.  Mason’s father is Jeff Foreman, who was a 3-time CIS All-Canadian with the Winnipeg Wesmen (Great Plains Athletic Conference)  in 1992, ’93, and ’94. ( In 1994, Jeff was CIS Player of the Year, and he was also a member of the Canadian national team.)
  •  UVic will, later this week, induct two former basketball stars into their Vikes Hall of Fame. Spencer McKay , was a dominating post man for Vikes teams of the late 1980s – early 1990s, and Carol Turney-Loos, was a key to their 1980 National title.   More details in this Oak Bay News article   

Quarter-Finals Set for Thursday Tip-offs

 

 

Quick turnaround for quarter-finals tip-offs

If you’re the TRU Wolf Pack, you will feel like visitors on your own campus, as you leave again on Wednesday for Calgary,  your 3rd road destination in as many weeks.  TRU were in Regina to finish League play, then last week a 3 game set in Brandon, finishing Sunday …  Monday a.m. on the road to Winnipeg, connecting flight through Calgary, and finally home to Kamloops.

TRU’s Scott Clark leads his ‘Pack to another play-off showdown with the Calgary Dinos.

The Wolf Pack face the #1 seeded Dinos starting Thursday in Calgary, a team they lost to in the Canada West Final last March.  Coach Scott Clark, speaking from the Calgary airport on Sunday afternoon, allowed, “This schedule is beyond our control, so we just deal with it. We are very proud of our young team, who responded very well to a tough atmosphere in Brandon, and fought off a very athletic Bobcats team.  Now we’ll go back and rest, do laundry, and look at some film.  We hope the guys will be just as fired up to face the Dinos, and we know it will be a challenge.”

The Manitoba Bisons were busy making last minute plane reservations as well, as the Herd head out to Vancouver to meet the UBC Thunderbirds.  Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp tells us, “It’s hard to arrange the flights .  You don’t know if you have 2 or 3 games … we may have to wait until Monday to get back home.  It’s expensive!  Meanwhile UM is prepping to play what Schepp calls ” … the best team in our League right now.”

Lethbridge are chartering a bus to return to Edmonton, where they just finished League play against the same Alberta Golden Bears 2 weeks ago.  Well, not exactly the same Bears; we’re pretty sure the starters for both teams will be more prominent in this 1/4 Final than in their last regular season encounter.

The Winnipeg Wesmen will also board a highway cruiser for their series in Saskatoon against the U of S Huskies.  The Ws took 3 games to subdue the UFV Cascades, but looked sharp in the Saturday 84-59 clincher, as their deep perimeter talent ran away from Fraser Valley.  Saskatchewan awaits with their vaunted pair of posts, and a deeper back-court than they’ve had in past seasons.

Our detailed series previews on Wednesday.

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These are our choices, as we wait for the official list from the coaches voting.  Our 1st teamers are the ‘game changers’, and are most consistent at putting their stamp on the game.  Dejon Burdeaux does it all for the ‘Horns, while Thomas Cooper is a clutch scorer and rebounder for the Dinos.  Volodymyr Iegorov is the engine for TRU, with all the skills to turn pro. UBC’s Conor Morgan won the scoring title, and is having an amazing season.  Shane Osayande is a double-double almost every time he suits up for the Huskies.

Our 2nd team features U-Sports’ top 3 point shooter in Fraser Valley’s Manny Dulay, and the all-round value delivered by UBC vet, Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Canada West’s top defensive disruptor and leading 3 pt % shooter is Calgary’s David Kapinga, while Manitoba’s Keith Omoerah fills a stat sheet with points / rebounds / assists. Josh Ross arrived as a transfer to MRU after an All-Canadian College career, and he gave the Cougars scoring, passing, and great rebounding.

Our 3rd team has the incredible ‘cross-over king’ Thadius Galvez of the Griffins, along with the Wesmen’s dynamic scoring guard, Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Grant Sitton stood tall for the Vikes during one of their tougher seasons, and Brandon Tull finished his career at Regina as a record setter for that school.  Austin Waddoups is one of 3 Bears who could be on our list, but his energy, creativity, and timely scoring have launched Alberta to greater heights.

There are certainly others worthy of recognition, but we have 15.  You may wish to mention more of your favourites.  Feel free to share them with us.                                 (All-rookies Wednesday)

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Julian Spear Chief – Morris, playing  for the Pronghorns. photo – UL Sports

Overtime –

  • Former Lethbridge Pronghorns star,  Julien Spear Chief – Morris was recently elected as the President of Harvard University’s Law School Legal Aid Bureau.  This  article from Harvard  explains the significance of this election.       Thanks to Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp for passing this on to us.
  • The Victoria  Vikes made it to the CIS Nationals in 2012-13,  2013-14 and 2014-15, and were in the semi-finals in March of ’14 and ’15.  But 2 straight years with a 9-11 League record, missing play-offs last year, then bowing out in round 1 this campaign has Vikes supporters ‘concerned’.   14 year Head Coach, Craig Beaucamp, who has a 70% winning average in Canada West play, and is a 5 – time CW Coach of the Year is determined to get UVic back on top.  ““There are no quick fixes,” said Beaucamp. “It is going to take time. You can’t panic. You can’t just blow it up . Our current group has to get better.  We have a good core and I like it, but we need help. We are small up front. To be honest, we need to add to the mix.”    More on the Vikes’ plans this Times – Colonist  article by Cleve Dheensaw 

 

Cascades Ride Dulay to Game 3

 

 

‘If Manny Dulay crosses centre, is he in shooting range ? ‘

 Fraser Valley 78  at Winnipeg  71 –    “Magic Manny’ Dulay has given us the 3 game series we suspected we would have with these 2 evenly- matched teams.  In an extremely well-played game (only 14 total turnovers between the teams), it was the killer shooting

Precision shooting by UFV’s Manny Dulay takes the teams to game 3. photo – UFV Athletics

display by the 5th year guard from Surrey that fuelled the Cascades win in game 2.

In this virtuoso matinee performance, Dulay was an incredible 7 of 7 from way outside, as he scored 29 points/ 6 rebs/ 5 asst/ 3 steals.  Mark Johnson stepped up for 14 points, as he was 2/3 from 3 pt range, as well as claiming 7 rebounds.  The middle of the game saw the visitors tallying 49 points, and today they were able to limit Winnipeg in any small 4th quarter surge.

The Ws get 22 points from the highest scoring non-starter in Canada West, import guard  Sean Tarver. Winnipeg’s Ryan Oirbans is effective again with 16 pts /10 rebs, but the difference was the 12/22 (55%) UFV shooting from beyond the arc.  The Wesmen hit just 5 treys, and thats a 21 point spread !  14/15 from the line helped Winnipeg, but that was not enough to have the home side threaten in the end.   Box  Score    The 3rd and deciding game is Saturday at the same 3 pm Central time.        This and the other play off games available   On Canada West TV

Justus Alleyn leads Manitoba to a series sweep over Regina.   photo- Jeff Miller – Bisons Sports

at Manitoba 88  Regina   80  –  The Bisons claim a spot in the quarter-finals, with a strong opening half, where they open up a 13 point advantage, looking more relaxed and ready than on Friday.  The Herd expand that lead in the 3rd quarter, then hold off a late Regina flurry for the sweep of this series.

Once again tonight, it’s guard Justus Alleyn leading the way for UM with 20 points/ 3 steals, while back-court mate A.J. Basi hits 18 points.  There are 5 Bisons in double digits, as they shoot 48% from the floor, and 41% from 3 pt range ( Alleyn is 4/8 outside and Malik Irwin 2/2 and 10 pts) . Turnovers played a role, with Regina committing 19 and Manitoba 17, while the home side wins the rebound battle 45-36.

Brandon Tull leads the Cougars in their final game of the season, with 19 points/ 4 steals.  UR got 13 points apiece from Johneil Johnson and Travis Sylvestre.   Box  Score    Manitoba earns a date in the Q-finals with the UBC Thunderbirds out in Vancouver starting next Thursday.

Tyvon Cooper scores 30 as the ‘cats win game 1 over TRU. photo- BU sports

at Brandon  101  Thompson Rivers 95  –  Break up the Bobcats !   Finding a  new team confidence, the ‘Cats send their fans home smiling, as they hit 55% from the floor and join the visiting T’Wolves in a  53-55 track-meet in the final 20 minutes.  No one blinked as both teams let it rip, with Brandon hitting 2 more treys (and 52% from 3 pt range)  for the difference.

Tyvon Cooper had a slick 30 points/ 8 rebounds for the Bobcats, while Earl Thompson Jr ‘hit for the cycle’ with 20 pts/ 6 rebs/ 6 assts/ 3 steals.  All 5 BU starters were in double figures, with big John Paul registering a double of 11 pts/ 10 boards, and Pookie Saunders  posting 14 pts/ 5 rebs/ 7 assists/ 5 steals.

TRU responded to a 48-40 half-time deficit with a big offensive eruption in the 3rd and 4th quarters.  Volodymyr Iegorov displayed his play-off mettle with 29 pts/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals, and Joe Davis had one of his finer nights, cashing 24 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.     Box  Score        Game 2 is at 7 pm Central on Saturday.

Mike Pierzchala has a big 31 pt night in the ‘Horns series opening win.     photo – Levi Balan

at Lethbridge  97 Victoria 85 –  The ‘Horns repel a spirited UVic comeback in the 3rd quarter, and finish strong to capture game 1 after putting up 29 in the 4th.  The home side gets a scare, as Dejon Burdeaux, their powerhouse guard leaves with an awkward fall late in the 3rd.

Burdeaux gets some timely ‘corner work’ from his seconds, and, much to the collective relief, he’s back for a solid final 20 minutes. The big gun for UL on the night was Mike Pierzchala, with a sparkling 9/11 outside shooting display, leading to 31 points.  Also aiding a team 52% from 3 pt range was Elliott Sentance with his 21 points on 5/9 from outside, plus 8 rebs/ 7 assists.

The Vikes spread their scoring pretty well, as they get 14 pts each from Grant Sitton (9 rebs), and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson (7 boards).  UVic had 3 others in double figures, with a good team shooting night (44% FG, 41% 3 pt, and 17/19 from the line).   Victoria could not match the Pronghorns energy in the final 10 minutes, and they will need a Saturday win to extend the series.  Box  Score     Game time Saturday is 7 pm Mountain.

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Winning is Tough for Canada West’s Newest Schools

Only 2 of the 6 ‘Explorer Division teams from last season made the play-offs this campaign.   And these were not the latest entries to Canada West;  both Fraser Valley (2006) and Thompson Rivers (2005) have been in the League for some time now. The Wolf Pack and the Cascades have both enjoyed some success in play-off competition over those years.  Trinity Western joined Canada West in 1999, then, a year later, the 4 Great Plains schools were added – Brandon, Manitoba, Regina, and Winnipeg.

This season we see the newest of our 17 teams, Mt. Royal, MacEwan, UBC-O, and UNBC, all on the outside looking in at the post -season play-downs. The TWU Spartans, who are also out, have had a few brushes with championships with Jacob Doerkson and company, but have ‘fallen on harder times’ in recent seasons.

No team outside of Victoria (16), Alberta (11), UBC (9), Calgary (5), Brandon (1), Lethbridge (1), and Saskatchewan (1) have ever won the Canada West title.  There were, of course, championships won in the GPAC by Brandon, Manitoba, and Winnipeg.

This season’s play-off slate prompts us to consider the old saw, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”, as we have Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC the top 4 seeds, awaiting their opponents for the quarter-final series. We do believe the newer schools can become more competitive, and, on many nights, they have been already.  It’s not easy, however, to build a consistently strong contender in the early years of participation in Canada West.

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In the East –  Friday    

Atlantic – at #10 Dalhousie 88  Saint Marys 81 ,  at Acadia 88  St. FX 82,  at UNB 99 Cape Breton 93 – a good effort by the Capers, but they remain O-for.

Quebec –  at Laval 73 UQAM 62

Ontario –   at #1 Carleton 82  #5 Ryerson 77-  Good game.  Makes the play-offs more interesting !  at #3 Ottawa 74  Toronto  54 , at Queens 70 York  60, Laurentian 87 at Algoma 64, at Lakehead 66 Waterloo 62

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Overtime –

Nova Scotia star, Andrew Milner, signs with Calgary.

  • Andrew Milner, a 6-3 guard from Antigonish, NS,  has signed with the Calgary Dinos for the Fall of 2017.  Milner, who was a member of 2 Nova Scotia Provincial teams which won Canadian Championships in 2015 and 2016, will graduate this June from Rothesay Netherwood School (NB) .  Calgary Head Coach Dan Vanhooren says, “Andrew is very skilled and dedicated young player, and we look forward to his joining our program.”

 

  • All 4 of Canada West’s 1st round play-off sites are on the Prairies … teams seeded 5 – 8. Manitoba, Lethbridge, Winnipeg, and Brandon are hoping home court will give them the edge, and they can move on to quarter-finals next week.
  • Women’s Canada West 1st Round Play-offs –   (Best of 3 series’) Thursday, Brandon 56 at Trinity Western 48,  Friday  ,  Calgary 67 at Fraser Valley 48,  at  UBC 74 UNBC 61,  at Victoria 67 MacEwan 54 ,  at Trinity W 70  Brandon 57 – goes to a 3rd game Saturday  .     Interestingly, all 4 of these series are in B.C.  The Women’s top 4 seeds are 1 Saskatchewan  2 Regina   3 Winnipeg  4 Alberta.

 

 

Long Road for 1st Round Play-off Teams

 

 

 4  Competitive Series in 1st Round of Playoffs

              … Thursday start for ‘Play-in’ series’ in Canada West

As the top 4 seeds, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC rest-up, heal, and prepare, there is no slow-down for the 8 teams heading into the ‘Play-in’ series this weekend.  Games start at Manitoba and Winnipeg on Thursday night in two of the best of 3 sets, with Brandon and Lethbridge hosting series’ to begin on Friday.

Here are the match-ups –

Keith Omoerah contributes to the Bisons offense in many ways.      Photo – J. Miller, UM Sports

#12 Regina Cougars at # 5 Manitoba Bisons –  If we look at the past history between these teams, we might be tempted to call this a lock for the Herd.  Manitoba has beaten Regina in 15 of the most recent 16 meetings, including a January sweep at Regina (84-75, and 93-81).  But the Bisons have not been as convincing over the past month, with a couple of losses at Brandon, then close calls with UNBC, and both nights last weekend against Mt. Royal. Regina comes off a solid weekend at home, where they swept the TRU Wolf Pack.

The Cougars and Bisons are both laden with experience;  Regina features guards Alex Igual (14.7 ppg/ 4.6 rebs/ 3.3 assts), Brandon Tull (13.5 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) and rookie, Johneil Johnson (12.2 ppg/ 3.7 rebs). Forwards, Brian Ofori (13 ppg/ 6.3 rebs) and  Travis Sylvestre (9 ppg/ 3.6 rebs) have played well of late.

Manitoba have a strong, veteran group, with Justus Alleyn their top scorer at 17.4 ppg/3.6 rebs, and the all-around play of Keith Omoerah (13.2 ppg/ 8.7 rebs).  AJ Basi (13.3 ppg) and Ilarion Bonhomme are dangerous back-court threats.  James Wagner, a big rookie can give the Bisons a boost inside, along with veteran post, Brett Jewell .  The question remains, ‘Which team can pull together and win 2 games this weekend?’  The home court favours Manitoba, and UBC awaits the winner .  (Central) 7:30 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (if a 3rd game is necessary)

Winnipeg’s William Sesay will be a key factor vs Fraser Valley.

#10  Fraser Valley Cascades at #7  Winnipeg Wesmen –  This is the other Thursday start, and we have two guard – oriented teams facing off after both just had road trip weekends.  The Cascades have the quick turnaround from a bus-trip up and back on the icy, snow-packed Coquihalla Highway to Kelowna last weekend.  Wash the uniforms, pack the bags, attend a brief 2 days of classes, and off they go to Winnipeg.  The Wesmen come off a 2 loss weekend in Victoria, and somehow have to ‘right the ship’ , and win the home series vs a UFV squad that has won 4 straight to finish the season.

5th year Cascades back-court shooters, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon against  Winnipeg’s Denzel Lynch-Blair, Sean Tarver, and rookie,  Narcisse Ambanza. The much improved Fraser Valley post man, Nav Bains, battling with the Ws’ big Aussie import, Ryan Oirbans.  Talented complimentary players like the Wesmen’s William Sesay and Jamar Farley  vs Fraser Valley’s Denver Sparks-Guest, Mark Johnson, and Andrew Morris.

The Cascades have won 5 of the past 7 meetings, but the Wesmen have home court.  This is looking like a 3 game series.  Note the different game times (Central) –  Thursday at 7 pm, Friday at 3 pm, and Sat. , if necessary, again at 3 pm.  The Saskatchewan Huskies will host the winner in the quarter-finals. 

UVic’s Grant Sitton will be a focus for ‘Horns defenders this weekend.        photo – UVic Athletics

#11 Victoria Vikes at #6 Lethbridge Pronghorns –  Prior to last weekend’s play, the Vikes were literally hanging by a thread, and needing a home sweep of a good Winnipeg team to make the post-season.  They got that sweep, and now are in S. Alberta to face the ‘Horns, who own 2 League wins over the Vikes in January at Victoria.

The Pronghorns are the clear favourites with their guard leader, Dejon Burdeaux (17.1 ppg/ 5.4 rebs/ 4,5 asst/ 3.6 steals) , taking the team on his back, and leading them to key wins.  3 of Burdeaux’s main ‘wing men’ are the sharp-shooting British import, Elliott Sentance (17.6 ppg/ 7 rebs/ 40% from 3 pt),  Mike Pierzchala (11 ppg/ 6 rebs), a threat to ‘run the table’, and 6-8 Zac Overwater (11.6 ppg/ 4.3 rebs.

The Vikes have leaned very heavily on 6-8 Grant Sitton, who’s surely a Canada West all-star, with his 20 ppg/ 6.8 rebs/ and 1.2 steals.  UVic’s only other double digit scorer is rookie import guard Scott Kellum (13.2 ppg), who hits 44% from 3 pt range, and chalks -up 2.4 asst per game.  Justin Kinnear is close to 10 ppg at forward, and he will need help from  Jake Newman and Hassan Abdullahi on the glass, if the Vikes are to stay with the ‘Horns.

We like Lethbridge as the home team here;  Victoria will have to make another jump forward if they hope to get the wins.  Game times are (Mountain) 7 pm on both Friday and Saturday, and 3 pm for a Sunday game, if it’s needed.  The winner here travels to Edmonton to play the Bears in the quarter-finals.

#9 Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack   at  #8  Brandon Bobcats –  The Bobcats host their 1st play-off series since 2009 in the old gym  ( SI Director Matt Packwood tells us).  This is the 1st one in their new ‘Healthy Living Centre’.  These teams have only played 9 times, ever, with the most recent a BU home win over TRU in January of 2014, so we can’t rely on trends!

We will watch a compelling battle of the big men, as the ‘Pack bring 5th year, 6-7  import, Volodymyr Iegorov, along with 6-5 Luke Morris, and 6-5 Joe Davis, who are all double digit scorers , with Iegorov among the League’s top rebounders at 9.1 rpg. Brandon responds with high-scoring Earl Thompson Jr (16.2 ppg/ 8.6 rebs), 6-5 Chris Stanhope, and a surging giant in 6-11 John Paul from St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean.  Brandon’s guards are led by shooter, Tyvon Cooper, while TRU has wing man, Michael Rouault, and import guard, Derek Rhodes.

There will be some new-found excitement surrounding this Bobcats team at home, and, if they can limit their turnovers and continue their improved shooting, they may pull this off.  The ‘Pack played in the CW Final last year, and this young team are looking to take another crack at it.  Only improved guard play and team defense will get them to the next round.  It may take 3 games to sort this out.  Winner goes to Calgary to face the Dinos in quarter-finals. 

 

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Overtime –

  • UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson, with comments about the RPI system, whereby his 19-1 T-Birds finished as the  4th play-off seed,  “Overall, it’s frustrating but we have known that it’s been coming for a few weeks,” said Hanson.   “It is out of our control and we’re not whining about it. Our players are long over the shock. We are getting prepped to play whomever is put in front of us.  (From  Howard Tsumura’s ‘Varsity Letters’ blog  )
  • In that same ‘Varsity Letters’ posting from last weekend, Hanson reports that Conor Morgan has an ankle injury, but is expected to be ‘shooting by the end of the week.’  Guard Phil Jalalpoor is also getting treatment for an ankle injury. UBC has a bye as a top 4 team this week, and will be at home vs the winner of the Manitoba – Regina series Feb . 23-25.

 

 

Vikes Sweep Over Winnipeg Gets Them In

 

 

 

 

Grant Sitton’s shooting propels Vikes to a sweep over Winnipeg. photo- Vikes Athletics

at Victoria 79  Winnipeg 78 –  A massive win for the Vikes, who avoid a tiebreaker scenario for the final spot.  They look to be 11th, with their 9-11 record, while Winnipeg are either 7th or 8th, awaiting the Bears-Horns Sunday game. Grant Sitton, on his Senior Night, lights it up for 27 points/ 12 rebounds for Victoria, and his 5 points in the final 30 seconds snatches victory for the home side, who trailed by 4.  Sean Tarver led the Ws with 23 points, while Narcisse Ambanza added 19, and Denzel Lynch-Blair 18.   Box Score    

at #7  Alberta  97  Lethbridge 86 –  The 2 Alberta rivals warmed up cautiously in the opening 10 minutes , then hit the ‘Go button’ with the Bears winning the last 3 stanzas by an 81-75 count. Geoff Pippus is hot for Alberta, with 24 points and 5/8 from deep, to go with 5 rebs/ 4 steals. Mamadou Gueye tallied 19 pts/ 7 rebs, as Alberta (14-5) is 1 win away from claiming the top seed for playoffs. Lethbridge (12-7) shoots it well, but hits 3 fewer treys, and 14/20 from the line vs 26/29 for the home side. Dejon Burdeaux has a big scoring night for the Pronghorns, with 35 points/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals .  UL are looking like 6th place finishers on the play-off seeding, regardless of their  result tomorrow against U of A.   Box Score          2nd game, Sun at 7 pm

at Manitoba  71  Mt Royal  68  –  In the 2nd close win in a  Bisons sweep, the home team hits 10 treys on 18 tries, and snares 46 rebounds vs 35 for the Cougars.  Down by 9 at the half, MRU won the 2nd, but couldn’t quite catch Manitoba.  Mt. Royal falls just short of a play-off spot, with their 8-12 record tying them for 12th with Thompson Rivers.  On the 2nd tie-breaker (since the 2 teams did not play each other), TRU come out on top with a split vs Manitoba back in November ; they were equal in results with other common opponents.  Justus Alleyn leads Manitoba with 20 pts/ 8 rebs, while MRU have 4 in double figures with both Josh Ross (15 pts/ 10 rebs) and Brett Layton (15 pts/ 12 boards) with a double-double again tonight.    Box Score  

at Regina 79  Thompson Rivers 74 –  Closer tonight for the Wolf Pack, but Regina (9-11) comes from behind in the 4th quarter to nab the sweep, and claim a play-off spot.  TRU (8-12) are in as well, but go back to B.C. after their 4th straight loss. Brian Ofori pours in 22 for the Cougars, and grabs 8 boards;  rookie guard, Johneil Johnson has 17 and 7 rebs.  Volodymyr Iegorov scores 16 for the ‘Pack, and adds 12 rebounds.   Box Score  

Calgary’s Dallas Karch enjoys a strong game on his Senior Night.  photo- UVic Athletics

at #6 Calgary 95  MacEwan 87  – It’s another free-wheeling affair, as the Griffs work hard trying, in vain, to nab a post-season berth, as the 2nd half, in particular, was played at high speed. Thomas Cooper posted 32 points for Calgary, and had 10 rebounds on a very successful Senior Night. Jhony Verrone was solid again for the Dinos, scoring 20 pts/ 8 rebs.  Thadius Gálvez was his elusive best for GMU, hitting 30 pts, and had 6 boards, while Denzel James  totalled 19 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 assts.  The Dinos can finish 1st or 2nd in the play-off seeding, depending on the result of Sunday’s Alberta-Lethbridge game.  Box Score 

#9 Saskatchewan 77  at UNBC 57  –  The Huskies leave no doubt at the half, with a 37-16 spread, and their defense stifling the Timberwolves’ attack. U of S look set in either 2nd or 3rd seed for the play-offs.  Saskatchewan hits 53% from the floor, with Trevor Severinski the top man with 20 points on 6/10 from 3 point range.  Sam Zhang, in his final game for the ‘Wolves, is their leading scorer with 18 points/ 5 rebs.  Box Score  

#2 UBC 104  at  Trinity Western 72 –  Even without an injured Conor Morgan in the

UBC’s Conor Morgan sits out with a leg injury. photo- UBC Athletics

line-up tonight, the Thunderbirds (19-1) are too much for the Spartans (3-17) in the final game of the  regular season. 5 ‘Birds in double figures, with Jordan Jensen-Whyte cashing 23 pts / 8 rebs/ 4 assists, and Isaiah Familia adding 20 points/ 11 rebounds. TWU have Pogos Trunyan with 21 points on 5/11 from outside, but the next highest was Tea Mayberry’s 10 points.  UBC finishes 4th in the final Ratings Percentage Index, based on strength of schedule.  Box Score  

Fraser Valley 85 at UBC-O  78 –  Tied after 3/4s, the Cascades win the 4th quarter and the game by 7 points, with 5th year guard, Vijay Dhillon, hitting clutch shots down the stretch. With the team shooting 54% from the floor, Andrew Morris led UFV with  14 points, with Dhillon and Manny Dulay both scoring 10.  Fraser Valley finish 11-9, and are bound for 10th place in the RPI table.  UBC-O finish their season at 2-18, as Aldrich Berrios leads all scorers with 24 points.   Box Score   

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In the East on Saturday  – 

Atlantic – at UNB 99 St. FX 86, at St. Marys 93 Acadia 90, at Memorial  106 UPEI 92

Quebec – Laval 70 at Bishops 68,  Concordia 63 at UQAM 52

Ontario –  #1 Carleton 114 at York 50,  Western Ont 88 at Laurier 65,  at Waterloo 84  Windsor 69, at Guelph 74  Lakehead  62,  #3 Ottawa  72 at  Queens50  , at McMaster 76 Algoma  61

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Canada West  play-off grid – Sunday

Buenos Noches !

 

 

 

 

Home Teams Win on the Prairies

 

 

Regina captures a key game over TRU in the play-off race 

All 3 home teams won their Friday games at Prairie venues, with the Regina Cougars solidifying a claim on a play-off spot.  Calgary has slim hopes for a most favourable RPI placement, while Manitoba barely slides by a competitive MRU side.

Brandon Tull leads Regina to a clutch home win on Friday.                               photo – UR Athletics

at Regina 81  Thompson Rivers 54 –  The Green Cougars come out very aggressively, and stifle the TRU offense, turning the Wolves over a devastating 25 times. Brandon Tull is finishing his 5th year in good fashion, with 20 pts/ 10 rebs as Regina climbs to 8-11, tied with the ‘Pack. TRU’s big men, Luke Morris (15 pts/ 13 boards) and Volodymyr Iegorov (11 pts/ 10 rebs) both register a double-double, but the Pack are only 28% as a team from the floor tonight.  Box Score  Sat  at 8 pm

 at Victoria 86 Winnipeg 78 –  The Vikes (8-11) put together a most impressive 2nd half,  scoring 56 points to pull away from the Wesmen, who had a 39-30 lead after the opening 20.  Cleaner ball-handling and better rebounding from Victoria make a difference , and the home side hit 48% from the floor, with 12 treys to 10 for UW.  The season-long scoring leader for UVic, Grant Sitton rolls along with 25 points, while Scott Kellum continues his sharp  rookie season with 21 pts/ 5 assts.  Winnipeg, who drop to 12-7, have Sean Tarver scoring 22 pts, and Narcisse Ambanza hits 19 pts/ 5 rebs.  Box Score   Sat  7 pm

Thomas Coopers’ 27 points helps Calgary down MacEwan.  photo – David Moll -UC

at #6 Calgary 101 MacEwan 74 –  It is slow to catch fire tonight, but the UC offense clicks for 59 points in the final 20 minutes,  as Dinos defenders harass Mac’s ball-handlers for 25 turnovers. Thomas Cooper leads Calgary (15-4) with 27 pts/ 6 rebs, while Mambi Diawara shines with his 18 points/ 8 rebs/ 6 steals, as UC hits 53% from the floor. The Griffs (7-12) get some sharp-shooting from their tall, slim forward, Keith Gerdes, as his 20 pts come mainly from 5/6 from beyond the arc. The slick swing-man, Thadius Galvez counts 18 points/ 6 rebs. , but the Griffins cannot match the Dinos torrid pace on Friday.    Box Score  Sat  7 pm

at Manitoba 72  Mt Royal 71 –  The Bisons escape by the tips of their horns, as MRU storms from behind in the 3rd quarter, and leads for much of the 4th.  A free throw from Justus Alleyn of the Herd, with no time left on the clock, decides the issue for UM.  Missed free throws cost the Cougars, as they are 9/22 from the stripe, and the visitors cannot take advantage of a 19-10 turnover advantage over their hosts. Alleyn has 16 for Manitoba (11-8), and Keith Omoerah posts a double of 12 pts/ 11 boards.  Brett Layton doubles for the Cougars, with 17 points/ 12 rebs, and Josh Ross adds 14 plus 9 rebs/ 4 asst  Box Score    Sat 6 pm

#9 Saskatchewan 89 at UNBC 59  –  The Huskies maul the over-matched T’Wolves, as U of S hits 53% from the floor, 12/28 from outside the 3 point arc, and pound the glass for a 36-17 rebound advantage. Import guard, Lawrence Moore has a good shooting night for Saskatchewan, going 7/9 from the floor, and he adds 6 assts/ 7 steals. Jaylan Morgan tosses in 18 points for the ‘Dogs, who move up to 13-6 on the season.  UNBC fall to 4-15, as their high scorer is Rhys Elliott with 18 points.    Box Score   Sat   7 pm

#2 UBC  87 at  Trinity Western  67 –  It’s a 2 point game at the half, but it’s 26-9 UBC  in the 3rd frame, then 53 points in the 2nd half, which finish off the Spartans.  The teams combine almost equally for 41 turnovers in a fairly ragged contest. Jordan Jensen-Whyte leads the ‘Birds (18-1) with 18 points/ 6 assts, and rookie Isaiah Familia hits for 17 points, as he sees 29 minutes of play.  Trinity Western (3-16) have Josiah Allison counting 17 points, and Pogos Trunyan has 14, with 5 rebs/ 4 assists.  Box Score   Sat  at 7 pm

Fraser Valley 87 at UBC-O 72 –  Okanagan has it tied at 40 with the favoured Cascades at the half, but a 30-10 outburst by the visitors takes the air out of the home side.  52% from the field for UFV, as Manny Dulay scores 21, including 4/8 from outside.  Andrew Morris adds 17 off the bench, as Fraser Valley climbs to 10-9. UBC-O get 19 points/ 8 rebs/ 4 assts from Aldrich Berrios, and 13 points from rookie Matt Lafontaine, but they fall to 2-17.  Box Score   Sat at 7 pm

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In the East – 

Quebec – #8  McGill 99  UQAM  73

#1 Carleton 93  Queens 50, # 4 Ryerson 87  Toronto 73,  Lakehead 63  Guelph 62, #3 Ottawa 70  York 69, Nipissing 82 Laurentian 78, #5 Brock 72  Algoma 55

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Overtime –

  • Tough travel conditions along the #1 through the Fraser Valley, and all the way up the Coquihalla to the Okanagan forced the UFV teams to wait until Friday morning before heading East for their games at UBC-O.  Sports Communications Director, Dan Kinvig tells us the Cascades Women’s and Men’s teams called to say they arrived at 4 pm.   That’s a short turnaround for the Women’s team who tipped off a 6 pm.
  • “We control our own destiny,” Vikes coach Craig Beaucamp said.“It’s very simple. We need to win. It’s not really that complicated. Sometimes you talk about must-win situations and it’s just a figure of speech. It’s reality for us. We have to have our best effort this weekend.”   From a Victoria Times-Colonist story by Cleve Dheensaw

Final Weekend Features Scramble for Play-offs

 

 

Final games bring so many permutations and combinations ….

Brandon Tull and the Cougars are at home to TRU.       photo – UR Athletics

Thompson Rivers (8-10) at Regina (7-11)-  This series has implications not only for the 2 teams, but throughout the CW standings.  We have to see Regina as the favourites, being at home, or do we?  The baffling Green Cougars are 3-5 on home court, and 4-6  on the road?  The Wolves are 4-4 on the road this year, and have won 6 of the last 8 meetings with Regina.  TRU are the younger team, but have Volodymyr Iegorov, a tough match-up inside.  It’s a toss-up, with both teams scratching for a play-off berth.   Fri /Sat  at 8 pm

Winnipeg (12-6) at Victoria (7-11) –  Another series where the results will affect all teams in the RPI ratings.  The Vikes would kill for a sweep, and a guarantee of getting into the post -season.  UVic is not keen on missing 2 years in a row. The Ws have won 6 of 8 in the season’s 2nd half, and want to assure a home court for round 1 of play-offs.   These teams are 7-7 over their last 6 seasons’ meetings;  we think a split may be the most likely scenario.   Fri  8 pm / Sat 7 pm

Mt Royal (8-10) at Manitoba (10-8)   –  Both these teams are coming off losses, and we’re not sure how they will respond to these games.  The Bisons are going to be 5th, so there’s no pressure there, but they will want to sharpen -up prior to play-offs.  The Cougs may find themselves in a math tie-breaker for a play-off spot if they can’t get that 9th win.     Fri 8 pm , Sat 6 pm

David Kapinga is having an impressive campaign for the Dinos.         photo – David Moll – UC

MacEwan (7-11) at #6 Calgary (14-4) –  “They’re pretty good!”  So says Dinos Coach Dan Vanhooren as he reviews MacEwan game tape.  “Their post guys are tough, and work hard.  (Thadius) Galvez and (Denzel) James can play.”  Yes, the Griffs are under-appreciated by some, but will not go down without a fight.  Calgary are without Lars Schleuter, who is nursing a ‘lower-body injury’.  Closer than we might expect.  Intriguing match-up –  Adonis Montfort – Palomino (former Dino) returns to his home-town  vs the Dinos super-quick point , David Kapinga.   Fri  8 pm/ Sat  7 pm

Matt Forbes, U of S ‘big dude’         Photo – GetMyPhoto.ca

#9 Saskatchewan (12-6) at UNBC (4-14) –  This does not look like a good match-up for the smaller T’Wolves, as the Huskies bring the ‘big meanies’, Shane Osayande and Matt Forbes.  U of S has a shot at the #1 seed (slim as it might be), so they will have that incentive.  Vaggelis Loukas needs help inside, while Rhys Elliott and Marcus MacKay shoot lights out.  Still a tall order for UNBC.   Fri 8 pm / Sat  / 7 pm

#2 UBC  (17-1) at  Trinity Western (3-15) –  The Thunderbirds are, make no mistake, peeved that they will not be the #1 play-off seed.  So they can be expected to be in a surly mood as they travel to Langley to finish their League slate.  TWU won their last, and are playing better, but this should not be close.   Fri and Sat  at 7 pm

Fraser Valley (9-9) at UBC-O (2-16) –  The big question might be, “How do we get to Kelowna, with all the deep snow on the Coquihalla Highway?”  Assuming the Cascades can ‘plow their way through’, they will be excited for a chance to  get to 11 wins, and to host a play-off series the following week.  Their senior guards, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon will give the Heat’s 3rd year points leader , Aldrich Berrios, and rookies Triston Matthews and Matt Lafontaine  all they can handle.    Fri  8 pm / Sat at 7 pm

Saturday/ Sunday , Feb. 11/12

Andre Kelly’s return should help Alberta vs Lethbridge  Photo – UA Athletics

Lethbridge (12-6) at   #7  Alberta (13-5)   –  The Bears are the ‘odds-on’ to finish as the top seed for play-offs wither tough schedule giving them a boost in the RPI.  This holds true, if they sweep, for sure, or maybe even if they allow Lethbridge a split? ( There are other possibilities, but let’s just wait.)  The Bears look to have an edge at home, and they’re playing better with Andre Kelly back in the line-up.  The ‘Horns will need a 3rd,4th, 5th guy to assist Dejon Burdeaux and Elliott Sentance, if they are to get a win.   Weird game times, with a volleyball conflict.        Sat at 4 pm / Sun at 7 pm

Brandon Bobcats are 9-11, in the play-offs,  and lounging contentedly in their ‘dorm rooms’ this weekend

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In the East –

Tues –  #10  Dalhousie  77 at  St FX  65

Upcoming –  In the OUA – Waterloo at Western Ont,  Laurier at Windsor

Quebec – UQAM  at  #8 McGill

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There are no changes this week, as Ottawa lost to Carleton (doesn’t everybody?), and the Bears and Huskies split.

On the basis of the Top 10, it looks like the OUA has the lead in the ‘At Large Berth’ competition. The U-Sports Final 8 in Halifax March 9-12 will have 2 Atlantic teams, 2 OUA teams, 2 Canada West teams, and 1 Quebec team . An ‘At-large team’ (Wild-card)  will be chosen by a committee of U-Sports coaches. There are many more criteria besides this Top 10  (More later).

 

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Overtime –

  • We think Saskatchewan will be cheering for a split between Alberta-Lethbridge, then Regina -Thompson Rivers, and, finally, a Winnipeg sweep at Victoria.  Then, according to ‘Dr. Timmerman’s Magic Calculator’, the Sled Dogs are CW #1 play-off seed !    (But, those are a whole lot of dominoes magically falling in the appropriate direction!)  Probably Alberta #1.
  • What looks more predictable is some kind of tie for the last play-off spot … involving some of, two of, several of  UVic, Mt Royal, Regina, TRU, or MacEwan.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Bears Hang Up a Big W at Saskatchewan

 

 

Bears outside shooting shocks the Huskies on Friday in Saskatoon

Mamadou Gueye and the Golden Bears claim a huge road W in Saskatoon. photo – U of A Athletics

 # 7  Alberta 80 at # 9 Saskatchewan 67 –  The Bears engage their top weapon, the 3 pt shot, with 13/27 – 48% from outside, and pull away in the closing minutes fo the big road win.  Alberta defense limited the Huskies to 38% from the floor, and the visitor’s sharp ball-handling gave them a 4-14 advantage in the turnover column.  6 points was as close as U of S got in the final frame, and Mamadou  Gueye’s 2 treys in the last 2 minutes iced the cake, and Alberta moves to 13-4.

The Bears get 22 pts from import guard, Austin Waddoups, as he cashes 4/6 from beyond the arc, and  Gueye finishes with 21 and 5 boards.  The Huskies (11-6) have 4 starters in double figures, with a 12 point/13 rebound game from Shane Osayande, and 16 pts/ 8 boards by Matt Forbes before he left with 5 fouls late in the 4th.  Box Score     8 pm Central again on Saturday

at Brandon 79  Manitoba  68 –   The Bobcats (8-11) poke a stick in the Bisons’ spokes,

Tyvon Cooper scores 21 as Brandon derails Manitoba in game 1.  Photo –   Bobcats Athletics

with some aggressive team defense and shut-out rebounding.  Manitoba can hit just 30% from the floor in dropping their 1st game in the last 9 League efforts.  Tyvon Cooper shines for the ‘Cats in this upset , with 21 pts/ 7 rebs/ 4 steals, and he gets lots of help.  Big men, John Paul (12 pts/ 13 boards) and Earl Thompson Jr  (13 pts/ 10 rebs), both record handy double-doubles, and Pookie Saunders deals out 8 helpers.  The frustrated Herd (10-7) have Ilarion Bonhomme, the ex-Brandon point man, collect 14 points/ 6 rebs/ 7 assists as their top man.  Keith Omoerah totals 13 pts/ 11 rebs for his double, but there’s not enough offense on the night for the visitors.   Box Score    7 pm  Central  on Saturday

 

 

at  Winnipeg 102  Regina 93 –  Regina (7-10) looked like their hot shooting would get them a road win, but their defense allows 57 points in the 2nd half to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.  It’s ‘very rare’ to shoot 58.5% from the floor (50% from 3 !) and manage to lose.  20 turnovers, and a +10 for the Ws from the foul line certainly aided the charging home side. Winnipeg (11-6) have 6 players in double digits, with Sean Tarver the leader, scoring 21, Denzel Lynch-Blair 18, and big Ryan Oirbans recording a double of 14 pts/ 10 assists/ 8 rebs.  The Cougars get 25 points/ 5 rebs/ 4 assts from the explosive Brian Ofori, and both Brandon Tull and Alex Igual drop 21 pts for the visitors.    Box Score         7 pm  Central on Saturday

# 6 Calgary 84 at Thompson Rivers 76 –  A 21-11 final frame gets Calgary to the road win, after they trail for most of the opening 30 minutes.  The Dinos overtake the Wolves despite a decided 3 point shooting edge for TRU (10-5), but Calgary makes more trips to the line (25/34 vs 14/18) .  The Dinos move up to 13-4, while the ‘Pack fall to 8-9, after a closely contested match.  Thomas Cooper helped UC finish strong, as he collects 22 pts/ 11 rebounds, and got help from Mambi Diawara, who was good for 14 pts.  4 TRU players hit double figures, with Derek Rhodes cashing 16 pts, and Volodymyr Iegorov scoring 14 plus 10 rebs/ 9 assts.  Box Score          7 pm Pacific  again Saturday

 

at  MacEwan 74   UBC-Okanagan  62  –   A big 2nd quarter gets the Griffins a clear lead, and they are even from there for their 7th win vs 11 losses on the season. GMU out-shoots (47% to 35%) and out-rebounds (43-33) the visiting Heat, who are now 2-15. Denzel James leads Mac with 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 4 assts, while forward Ryan Coleman is off the bench for 14 pts/ 8 boards, and Keith Gerdes chips in with 13 pts/ 8 rebs. Both Austin Penrose (7 rebs) and Aldrich Berrios tally 16 points apiece for UBC-O.  Box Score                 7 pm Mountain  on Saturday

 at  Mt. Royal 96  Trinity Western 66 –  The Cougars open up a 51-30 half-time lead, and cruise to their 8th win, with 5 players hitting double figures.  TWU have offensive troubles stemming from 27 big turnovers, and they shoot only 3/5 free throws vs 19/25 for the home side.  Josh Ross paces MRU with his 16 pts/ 8 rebs/ 6 assts, while Brett Layton adds 14 pts/ 8 boards.  Max Vitala tallies 18 pts for Trinity, as they are now 2-15.  Box Score               6 pm Mountain on Saturday

Manny Dulay leads UFV to a come-from-behind win photo- UFV Athletics

at Fraser Valley 87 Victoria 83 –  A somewhat unexpected offensive explosion in Abbotsford, as the Vikes (7-10)  post 33 points to grab a 73-65 lead at the 3/4 mark, only to see the Cascades win the 4th by a 22-10 count for the come-back victory.  Manny Dulay’s 36 points for UFV (8-9) continue a personal hot streak, but none hotter than Friday.  Dulay splashes 8/11 from 3 pt range and adds 7 assists, while Andrew Morris helps with 14 pts.  as Fraser Valley shoots 51% from the floor.  The Vikes are 50% from outside on 14/28, but their offense stalls out in the 4th.  Grant Sitton scores 26 for the visitors on 4/8 from beyond the arc, and he adds 9 rebounds/ 5 assts.  Box Score        7 pm  Pacific  on Saturday

 

 at   UBC 123  UNBC 75  –  Up 56-37 at the break, the T’Birds top that with 67 points in the final 20 minutes to post a most lop-sided win.  Cruel and unusual ….  Conor Morgan pours in 36 pts for UBC, with 13 rebounds, while Taylor Browne notches 20 pts off the bench, as the Thunderbirds shoot 67% from the field.  UNBC  has 14 pts/ 5 assts/ 4 steals from James Agyeman Box Score              7 pm  Pacific on Saturday

 

Lethbridge has the bye this week

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Scores from the East –

Atlantic -at #10 Dalhousie 88 Memorial  63, at UPEI 92  UNB 77 , St. FX 85 at Saint Marys 83, at Acadia 101 Cape Breton  88

Thursday in Quebec  … at Concordia 68 Laval 54,  at #8 McGill 79  Bishops 62

In the OUA … #1 Carleton 74 # 3 Ottawa 61, at Toronto 79 York 58, at #5 Ryerson  70 Queens 59 ,  at Laurentian 73   Lakehead 67,  Western 79 at Algoma 67, at Nipissing 79  Guelph 69

 

Overtime –

  • Congratulations to Howard Tsumura, long-time Vancouver Province columnist and blogger, on his new website  ‘Varsity Letters’ . http://varsityletters.ca    This impressive site continues Howard’s amazing coverage of school sports, from high school to university.  He provides thoughtful profiles on individual athletes,  covers the progress of teams, leagues, and championships, with a very keen focus on British Columbia specifically.  It is great to see this popular writer continuing to  lead the way in covering so many amateur sports and athletes.
  • UVic vs UFV coaches’ thoughts going in to a pivotal weekend series,  “We know they can score and they have had some very good results in the second half of the year, knocking off Alberta and playing Calgary really tough,” Vikes Coach Craig Beaucamp said of the Cascades. “We are going to have our hands full, we have to play well on the defensive side of the ball for sure.”    The Cascades head man, Adam Friesen says, “UVic tries to grind it out and games like that come down to a possession here or there. Whoever wins the battles in the paint gives themselves a better chance to win.”   (From a story by   MARIO ANNICCHIARICO in the Victoria  TIMES COLONIST.)

3 Top Upset Threats – ‘Pack, Bobcats, Cougars

 

Manitoba, Winnipeg, and Calgary have to ‘take care of business’ … 

Manitoba (10-6) at Brandon (7-11) –  Can the Bisons keep on winning?  Yes, but they travel to Brandon, where history suggests the ‘Cats have a chance to break the 8 game run for the Herd.  Yes, Manitoba swept Brandon last season at BU, but that was the 1st time that had happened since 1975 !   And, the ‘Cats will be fired up for their Seniors,  Earl Thompson Jr, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem, who play their final games in Brandon.   Coach Gil Cheung’s team also has their eye on a play-off spot, and this weekend is that chance, as they wrap up their schedule and wait.  The ‘oddsmakers’ would say no, but these teams are fierce rivals, and no quarter will be given.     8 pm / 7 pm  Central

Regina (7-9)  at  Winnipeg (10-6) –   The Green Cougars are fresh from a euphoric Saturday win over the highly regarded Calgary Dinos, and that momentum should give them a lift as they challenge the Wesmen.  Both these teams are scrambling for play-off position, and we have them both making it in.  They are evenly matched at the  guard spot; Regina’s Brandon Tull, Alex Igual, and young Johneil Johnson ready to tussle with Winnipeg’s Denzel Lynch-Blair, William Sesay, and Sean Tarver.  The Ws have home court, but Regina have won 5 of the last 7 meetings.  8 pm / 7 pm  Central

Calgary (12-4)  at Thompson Rivers (8-8) –    As they have for quite a number of weeks now, the Dinos are being described as “  … a very talented team,”  by TRU head coach Scott Clark. “They are big and fast and athletic.”   Well yes, but the #6 Dinos have lost games on the past 2 Saturdays, and have suffered some ‘uneven play’ for a team meant to be a championship contender.  The Senior celebration in Kamloops for 5th year all-star, Volodymyr Iegorov, will be emotional, and could be a big catalyst for extra focus by the Wolf Pack.  TRU is coming on with a young group, and are on home turf.   7 pm Pacific  both nights

 

Can the home favourites prevail in these remaining 4 series? 

UBC-Okanagan (2-14)  at  MacEwan (5-11) – The Griffins last game was an impressive win over Winnipeg on Saturday, and they have beaten UBC-O in 7 of the last 8 meetings.  Heat mainstay, Mitch Goodwin has been hurt, and UBC-O are not in the play-off mix.  Okanagan have lost 4 games this season by 5 points or less;  they can play well at times, but not well enough to come out on top.  The GMU seniors should get a good send-off in this final home set.   8 pm / 7 pm Mountain

 

Trinity Western (2-14)  at  Mt. Royal (7-9) –  The Blue Cougars are within reach of a play-off spot, while the Spartans are out.   Guard play is so critical, and MRU has it with Derek Wolf, Glen Yang,  Craig Martin, and the combo G-F, Josh Ross, their assist leader with 3.7 apg.  TWU have rookie, Josiah Meppelink, stepping in, but they are just not as cohesive a group as they need to be.  Good match-up with Patrick Vandervelden of Trinity facing Brett Layton of  Mt. Royal.   8 pm /  6 pm Mountain

 

Victoria (7-9) at Fraser Valley (7-9) –  We might have placed this game in the ‘chance of an upset’ group, but the Cascades really aren’t decided favourites here.  UFV has played well against some tough teams, but lost a home game on Saturday to TRU.  The Fraser Valley big men should be up to defending against UVic,  and the guard strength for the home side is there.  The last home games for Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon may drive the ‘Trees’ to a sweep, but Victoria wants to nail down a play-off berth. The Vikes defense looks to be coming around, and role players have a shot at stepping up their minutes.   8 pm /  7 pm  Pacific

UNBC (4-10)  at   UBC  (15-1)–  The Timberwolves, with Marcus MacKay, Rhys Elliott, and Vaggelis Loukas, can be a tenacious group, even on the road (ask Manitoba or Fraser Valley!).  However, after 6 straight League losses since Christmas to ‘mere mortals’, they must be prohibitive underdogs against the mighty Thunderbirds.  (‘The Ubyssey’  student news may not have enough flattering adjectives to describe the UBC domination.)  Not the final home games for Jordan Jensen -Whyte and Will Ondrik, but they will be feted on Senior Night, Saturday.            8 pm  /  7 pm  Pacific

Lethbridge has this week as a bye

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Scores from the East –

In the OUA … Brock  66  Waterloo 63,  Ryerson 79  York 53

Upcoming – The Big news is the Saturday ‘repechage’ with #1 Carleton hosting  #3 Ottawa in the Capital Hoops Classic

Quebec Thursday … at Concordia  Laval ,  at #8 McGill   Bishops 

Atlantic – Memorial  at #10 Dalhousie , UNB at UPEI, St. FX at Saint Marys, Cape Breton at Acadia 

also in the OUA –  York at Toronto, at #5 Ryerson  Queens,  Lakehead at Laurentian,  Western at Algoma, Guelph at Nipissing, 

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Overtime –  Here are excerpts from a great article on 5th year star, Volodymyr Iegorov,

Volodymyr Iegorov, 5th year import at TRU     – photo  TRU Athletics

who came from donetsk, in the war-torn Ukraine to finish school with 2 years  at Thompson Rivers,  by TRU Sports Information  Officer, Scott Stewart.   (Coach Scott) “Clark says that Iegorov has been a ‘breath of fresh’ air in the way he conducts himself and he has been a treat to coach.  Contrary to what some might believe, Iegorov says taking a Masters in Business in his second language (English) wasn’t difficult. ‘It was good I came two months before school started so I had time to adjust.  My teammates helped me so I didn’t feel so far away from home as well. I still feel that way.’ ”

Iegorov – ‘We have a young team and we lost our veterans. I am getting more rebounds than last year.  And my responsibility has increased. I just try to work hard.’

“That work ethic is something that has impressed many people, not only Clark, who says Iegorov has embraced being a good community citizen. ‘One of the first things I did with Vlad was I took him to Salmon Arm to help run a basketball camp.  He came with me and was really good with the kids. He is a bright guy and his adaptability is remarkable. He comes from a different country and two days later some guy is taking him to Salmon Arm to run a camp in another language.’

 

 

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.