Ravens, Rams, Dinos, Tigers on to Semis

 

Ejim’s rebounding carries Ravens to semi-finals

8 offensive rebounds and 26 points by Ryan Ejim pace Carleton to a Q-final win over TRU.

8 offensive rebounds and 26 points by Ryan Ejim pace Carleton to a Q-final win over TRU.

 Carleton 91 Thompson Rivers  75 –  The relentless Carleton effort on the offensive boards paid off with 10 extra chances by half-time, and the Ravens are up 38-33.  The most remarkable thing is the lack of 2nd quarter scoring, as the teams come out of quarter 1 with a 29-23 count, then cool off considerably.  CU hits just 33% from the floor in that opening 20 minutes .

Foul  trouble for TRU big men, Josh Wolfram and Volodmyr Iegorov , threatens to torpedo the ‘Pack’s effectiveness, but they finish the game with the line-up intact. As the game enters the 3rd quarter,  it’s a 5 point game Carleton’s way, but that rebounding, and some improved 3 point shooting by the Ravens extends it to 9-10-12. Brief rests for the TRU starters don’t appear to be enough, and they are flagging with 4-5 minutes left.

Ryan Ejim does the ‘blue collar’ work for Carleton, seemingly claiming every 2nd miss on the O-glass, as he tallies 26 on 11/14 shooting, all within 6 feet of the hoop. CU’s 54-37 rebounding edge is led by Ejim’s 14, and Guillaume Boucard’s 13 rebounds. Connor Wood scores 18 points on 5/13 from outside, and the winners get 15 apiece from Bouchard and Tajinder Lall.

The ‘Pack are led by the 22 points of Gerard Gore and 14 points / 10 boards from Voldymyr Iegorov. TRU hits 47% from the  floor, but only 5 treys to 11 for the Ravens.  Josh Wolfram comes on in the 2nd half, scoring 17 points, as he and Reese Pribilsky close out their memorable careers in this championship competition.
Carleton’s attacking style wears down the Wolves, whose lack of depth inevitably caught up with them in this level of play.  The Ravens move on to the semi-finals on Saturday against Dalhousie, while TRU plays Friday at 5 pm  in a consolation match with Ottawa.     Box Score

 

Tigers steal Ottawa’s thunder with aggressive defense down the stretch

Richie Kanza-Mata and his Dal Tigers teammates use their pressure defense to edge the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Richie Kanza-Mata and his Dal Tigers teammates use their pressure defense to edge the Ottawa Gee-Gees.  photo Halifax Chronicle-Herald

Dalhousie 87  Ottawa  83  –  Two unusual sequences turn this game in Dalhousie’s favour: just before the half, and down by 7, the Tigers steal, and Jarred Reid hits 2 free throws on an intentional (clear-path?) foul, so Dal gets the ball as well. On the buzzer,  Jordan Aquino-Serjue makes a 3-point bomb, and it’s 52-50 !  Then in a  mini-run by the Tigers in the 2nd half, Ottawa turns it over 3 out of 4 trips, and Dal takes the 4 point lead mid-way through the 4th.

The pressure from a quick and determined Tigers team gave Ottawa fits as the game moved into the late stages, 24 trips to the line for 16 points gave the Atlantic champs the edge vs 5/10 for the Gee-Gees. Both teams shoot the ball well, with Dal at 50% and Ottawa 49% from the floor, as UO lives and dies with  the long ball (12/35).  Dal’s fast hands and faster feet produce 24 Ottawa turnovers , resulting in 31 Dalhousie points.
Ritchie Kanza-Mata closes strongly and racks -up 24 points to lead the Tigers, adding 4 assts/ 3 steals, while Kashrell Lawrence uses his power on the inside to score 14 / 6 rebounds / 4 steals.

The Ponies have Matt Plunkett hitting 5/10 from outside for 17 points, and Mike L’Africain, the CIS Player of the Year, scoring 16 / 3 rebs/ 7 assts. The Tigers play in Saturday’s 3 pm semi-final against the 5 time-defending champion, Carleton Ravens, while Ottawa go to the Consolation side vs Thompson Rivers at 5 pm Friday.
Box Score

 

Kapinga’s thievery leads to late heroics for Calgary over McGill

Calgary's defensive ace, David Kapinga, harasses McGill ballhandlers in a Dinos win Thursday in Vancouver.

Calgary’s defensive ace, David Kapinga, harasses McGill ballhandlers in a Dinos win Thursday in Vancouver.

Calgary  72  McGill  69 –  Tense.  This was the tough, tight game we anticipated, with defense controlling things much of the way, and deciding it at the finish as Calgary’s David Kapinga picked McGill’s pocket twice in the final minutes .  Free throws were also critical as Dinos shooters were 10/10 in the 4th quarter, including  2 by Thomas Cooper to give them the 3 point lead.
It was a physical game , with a lot of contact on drives to the hoop, and a little rolling around on the hardwood after loose balls.  McGill got off to a good start, hitting some pure treys by Jenning Leung, and getting strong rebounding early. Calgary’s 25 point 2nd quarter was the difference, in a game where hoops became more and more scarce.

The Dinos Thomas Cooper was shackled  for much of the game, but still snuck in 21 points, with 7/10 from the line.  The Redmen pressured Calgary’s 3 point shooters and allowed little open space out on the perimeter. The Dinos  hit only 5 treys vs 10 for the Reds, and that kept McGill out front for a good part of the 2nd half.
Calgary had 12 points from Johnny Verrone coming off the bench, and Kapinga scored 11/ 2 asst/ 4 steals. Cooper led their rebounding with 9, with Lars Schleuter and Matt Letkeman grabbing 5 each.

McGill were led by 19 from Dele Ogundokun / 5 res/ 4 assts, and 15 from Leung, with 5/10 from outside.   McGill had 19 turnovers and Calgary 17, in what was, at times, a very scrappy contest.  The Dinos pull one out with some stingy defense and good foul-shooting in the final minutes, and they move on to the 5:30 semi-final on Saturday, and the Redmen will play in the 5:00 consolation game Friday.  Box Score

 

On the brink, the Rams storm back for the OT win vs UBC

Coach patrick Taham and his Ryerson Rams 'snatched victory from the jaws of defeat' vs UBC in their Thursday Q-final.

Coach Patrick Taham and his Ryerson Rams ‘snatched victory from the jaws of defeat’ vs UBC in their Thursday Q-final.

 

Ryerson 109 –  UBC  101 –  Just when the UBC student section (with 2:10 left – far too early)  were suggesting in a loud chorus that the Ryerson Rams were ‘Over-rated’ ,  the T-Birds’ Conor Morgan fouled out,  the OUA champs dug deep, hit free throws, a lay-up off a steal, and a 3 pointer to take it to OT !
The Rams are now the attackers, and create the better chances in extra time, to pull out a classic win to continue their route to the semi-final.  UBC has to leave wondering how this could have happened, when they looked so solid in the early going, and made some clutch hoops early in the 4th to ‘dare to dream’ of the 8 – 1 upset !

Adika Peter-McNeilly paced the Rams with 25 points/ 9 rebounds, and both rugged, yet smooth guard, Ammanuel Diressa, and the late game hero, Jean-Victor-Mukama counted 19 apiece.  Ryerson won the battle on the boards 42-31, and out-shot the Thunderbirds 21/27 to 13/17 from the foul line. UBC’s David Wagner was dominant inside in the first 3/4s to score 22, but Ryerson defenders made it harder for him later in the going. Jordan Jensen-Whyte was also a stand-out for the ‘Birds, with 25 points on slashing drives and 8/9 from the line.
Ryerson won this game with some more intense interior defending, and opportunistic conversions off UBC misses toward the end of regulation.  It was a testimony to the resilience of a championship team, and they played their best when it counted most.
In the end they appear to have been rated pretty accurately ….

Ryerson, the OUA champions vs Calgary , the Canada West title winners, at 5:30 pm Saturday in the 2nd semi-final.  UBC plays McGill at 7 pm Friday in the late Consolation game.  Box Score


 

 

Overtime –

  • Headline of the week, in  ‘Kamloops This Week’ – ‘WolfPack draw Ravens; fan bus departs Thursday’ … details , “Fan buses will depart from Thompson Rivers University for UBC on Thursday morning, in advance of the Wolf  Pack’s tournament-opening matchup.  Buses will depart from the Campus Activity Centre at 7:30 a.m. For $20, fans receive a game ticket, transportation to the tournament, a t-shirt and pizza and pop for the return trip. Coffee will be available in the morning, from 7 a.m. until departure.”  Great work by TRU to get their fans to the game!
  • Dalhousie Coach Rick Plato , with confidence in his team, “If the Tigers claw their way into national semifinals, they’ll be making Dalhousie basketball history”, Plato said. “I think there is redemption on their part,” he said of his players. “Knowing how close they were to … for the first time ever, getting Dal to a national semifinal.”  (Lost to UVic 57-56 in round 1 last year).  “I believe in these guys,” Plato said. “They’re not the biggest, they’re not the fastest, they’re not the quickest, but as a group – they’re a pretty special team.” Simply put, Plato said, “if we play our game, we’re going to win.” From Kristen Lipscombe, Vancouver Metro News

TRU and Calgary to Meet in CW Final

 

Dinos blow by Bisons in a decisive win in semi-final #2

Johnny Verrone plays a key defensive role as UC beats Manitoba in the CW semi-final.

Johnny Verrone plays a key defensive role as UC beats Manitoba in the CW semi-final.

Calgary Dinos  100  Manitoba Bisons  74 – For a slow starting team over the course of the last several games, the Dinos have managed to pull together for key wins on each opportunity.  Friday’s CW semi-final was easily the biggest of those to date, as the confident Manitoba Bisons came to town talking of a slot in Nationals and time for a Canada West title.  But David Kapinga refused to bend to the pressure, with his blend of tenacious darting defense and speedy drives to the glass at the other end. Ditto Thomas Cooper, whose scoring seems like an inevitable diet of delicate in-the – lane jumpers, sprinkled with a few treys for good measure.

27 points / 8 rebounds for Cooper, and 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists for Kapinga, as Calgary came from down 14-4 after 4 minutes to up 25-20 at the end of the 1st quarter. Everyone played and hit the score-sheet for UC, with Jasdeep Gill adding a change of pace early on to shift the momentum; both Gill and Johnny Verrone finished with 11 points apiece.

Manitoba came out with A.J. Basi making some tough shots, and Justus Alleyn and Brett Jewell getting to the rim early on.  But the defense let the Herd down, as Calgary scored often in transition, and had established a 9 point lead at the half. The Dinos forced 22 Bisons turnovers, and hit 8 treys to 5 for Manitoba. Basi led UM with 17, Jewell with 12, but Manitoba shot just 37% from the floor to Calgary’s 50%, and the flood-gates opened.

The Dinos advance to the Canada West Final at 8 pm Saturday vs Thompson Rivers in a battle of the two divisional winners; they will both be joining the hosts, UBC, at the Nationals next week in Vancouver.  Manitoba will play the T-Birds Saturday in the 6 pm game for third place, with no other significance than seeding for UBC in the Final 8.      Box Score

 

The Orange prevail in the battle of B.C.

Reese Pribilsky guided his TRU Wolf Pack to the Canada West Final and a spot at Nationals.

Reese Pribilsky guided his TRU Wolf Pack to the Canada West Final and a spot at Nationals with a win over UBC on Friday in Calgary.

Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  72   UBC Thunderbirds  69 –  In this  semifinal # 1, it was the ‘new guys on the  block’, the Wolf Pack, surprising the UBC T-Birds , with a slick passing offense and some very sharp-shooting in a masterful 2nd half. As advertised, the ‘Pack had superior point – guard play from 5th year Reese Pribilsky, who hit the shots and TRU Wolf Pack copymade the decisive passes as TRU pulled by UBC with a 23-17 3rd quarter, then kept coming in a tense final frame. Neither team established an inside game, with some solid interior defense forcing deeper tries. Josh Wolfram led the ‘Pack with his soft touch producing 23 points and he grabbed 14 rebounds for the stellar double-double.  Pribilsky  scored 17 including 3/5 from long range, and he had 4 assists/ 2 steals.
The Thunderbirds seemed to lose their offensive rhythm in the final 20 minutes, and often settled for the long ball, where they were only 6/26 (23%) for the game . Jordan Jensen – Whyte provided some highlights for the ‘Birds with his slashing moves at the hoop, as he tallied 19 points on 9/18 from the floor plus 5 boards. David Wagner scored 15 / 9 rebounds, and Conor Morgan had 14 and 6 boards. But when the chips were down, the Wolf Pack got the clutch scores from Wolfram and Volodymyr Iegorov, while UBC were frustrated by a zone defense from TRU.

Thompson Rivers grabs a spot in the CIS Nationals with the win, and have a shot at their 1st – ever Canada West title on Saturday. UBC, of course, are the hosts of next week’s Nationals, and have their spot in the tournament.  Box Score


 In Eastern Canada … more CIS Play-off action –
Quebec Semi-Finals in Montreal –  UQAM Citadins 70  Concordia Stingers 63 ,  McGill Redmen 76 Laval Rouge et Or 69
Ontario , Wilson Cup Semis, at Ryerson U. in Toronto –  Carleton Ravens 82  Ottawa Gee-Gees 74 ,  Ryerson Rams  96  Windsor Lancers 77


 

Overtime –

  • Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren after the Friday win over Manitoba, “Our team Dinos14has worked very hard for this (spot at Nationals); guys have bought- in to the roles they are playing and everyone is contributing. Our game is dependent on our defense, and we are generating points from that with efforts like we got tonight from Johnny Verrone, David Kapinga, and Mitch Ligertwood.”
  • One remarkable detail from this year’s OUA Wilson Cup Final 4 is that 3 of the 4 teams have an interim head coach.  Carleton, of course, has the legendary Dave Smart taking a year away and Rob Smart, an Assistant since 2005, taking his place.   Ryerson’s Roy Rana is also on a year’s leave, and his replacement, Patrick Tatham, was named OUA Coach of the Year earlier this week . Former Lancers star point man, Ryan Steer, is the interim head man for Windsor, as he fills in for Chris Oliver.
  • Speaking of coaches on the move, Matt Skinn has resigned as the coach at
    Matt Skinn, rejoining family in Western Canada.

    Matt Skinn, rejoining family in Western Canada.

    Cape Breton; the head man with the Capers for 4 seasons, Matt also was Head Coach of the St. FX Women’s team for 4 seasons, and prior to that was an Assistant with the Calgary Dinos under Dan Vanhooren. Skinn decided to make a move back to Calgary to rejoin his fiancé , Karmen Brown, who has started a career with the Calgary Police Service. Calgary is Karmen’s home town, and Matt has his brother, mother, stepfather and grandparents living in British Columbia. “That’s just where I knew I had to be”, said Skinn.  More details in this article in the Cape Breton Post.

  • Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos 4th year Canada West All-star and the CW Player of the Year, on his drive to excel,  “I set the bar high for myself. I want to win everything, team, individual, everything.  I’d rather have the team goals over the individual ones any day. At the end of the day, I want the Canada West championship and hopefully the national championship.”  From story by Rita Mingo in the Calgary Herald.
  • On a stormy Thursday West of the Rockies, a travel crisis faced the two B.C. Unknownschools playing in this weekend’s Canada West Final 4 .  The Thompson Rivers ‘Pack were forced to ‘grab a bus’ after a vicious storm shut down flights out of the Kamloops airport, and the UBC T-Birds waited (presumably somewhat nervously) until this morning, and boarded an early flight to Calgary.  Not the best for prep, but the forces of nature are fickle, and will mess with our plans on occasion !  (At least they’re playing against each other.)

 

Dinos and Wolf Pack – Top Playoff Seeds

 

Dinos Sweep Bears … Regina gets big home win

Speedy guard, David Kapinga, and the Calgary Dinos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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


 

Overtime –   

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

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

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

‘Old’ Pioneer Powers Scrambling

 

 

 

Changing of the Guard in Canada West ?

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 7.38.26 AM
After watching all 3 of Victoria, Alberta, and Saskatchewan absorb two losses each this past weekend, we find ourselves in the ‘New Order’ of Canada West Basketball.  These three teams  have figured prominently in Canada West and CIS hoops for years past;  the last 5 Canada West championship games were won by –  2015 – Victoria over Saskatchewan, 2014 – Alberta over Victoria, 2013 – UBC over Victoria, 2012 – Alberta over Fraser Valley, 2011 – UBC over Saskatchewan.

 The T-Birds are still good bets to be in the Final 4, and, of course, host the CIS Nationals, but what of the Bears, Vikes, and Huskies?  It would seem unlikely, or even shockingly improbable for all 3 strong programs to have such a difficult year.  We certainly think U of A and UVic still have playoff shots, but U of S has faded too far South;  graduation of key players, injuries, and defections have conspired to reduce these teams to chasers rather than the leaders they had been for so long.

We suspect they will all be back next season with their usual competitive squads, but, for now, they have given way to ‘upstart teams’, like Calgary, Lethbridge, Manitoba, and Thompson Rivers.  We have 3 weeks of play remaining in both Divisions, and it’s highly likely that we may have a very different slate of teams competing in the Final 4 come March 11-12.

Four Series Sweeps Change the Standings

Manitoba copyWe had 5 series in the Pioneer last weekend, as the 6 Explorer teams and the UC Dinos had the weekend off. We saw movement away from the middle of the standings by several teams, as 4 of these series’ ended with 2-game sweeps.
> Manitoba has officially exorcised their 2nd half of the season ghosts of past years; they pounce all-over the Regina Cougars, 89-82 and 77-63, and sit at 11-5.
> Across town, the Winnipeg Wesmen prepared themselves for the ‘Red River Rivalry’ series by dispatching a scrappy U of S Huskies squad 81-77 and 81-72 to win their 6th in a row for a 9-5 mark.
> At Lethbridge, the short-benched Bears were trounced by a running, pressing Pronghorns team, who used 2nd half onslaughts to dispatch their Northern rivals 93-61 and 88-62.
> In their brand-spanking -new Carsa Centre, the ‘rebuilding‘ Victoria Vikes were sorely pressed to stay anywhere near the visiting UBC Thunderbirds.  UBC took both games with unusual ease … 79-51 and then 86-67.
> It was fitting that both Brandon (Friday) and Trinity Western (Saturday) got their first wins of the season in their series in Langley.  No playoff chances, but the shut-out is averted!

Top Performers last weekend –

Keith Omoerah is a difference-maker for the Herd this season.

Keith Omoerah is a difference-maker for the Herd this season.  photo- Bisons Athletics

  • Keith Omoerah may not have a big ’S’ on his chest, but he should have !  Keith’s return to the Bison Herd has put this team on a path for championship contention, with his rebounding, scoring, and defensive effort.  16 points / 14 rebounds/ 6 assists on Friday, then 18 boards plus 12 points, 3 asst, 4 steals in the Saturday win. Oh, and we might mention A.J. Basi’s  significant sharp-shooting role … 27 points Friday, and Jonathan Alexander chipping in both nights for totals of 26 points and 14 rebounds.
  • Winnipeg’s  Denzel Lynch-Blair has to be in the  all-star discussion, with yet another week of multiple contributions for UW, with 49 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 steals.  Nicely done, young man !  Ryan Oirbans with his rebounding and a 29 point night on Saturday from Jelane Pryce pace the Ws to a sweep.
  • Brandon Brine hits 37 points, with a scoring frenzy at home for the ‘Horns on Friday, then Jared Baker takes over on Saturday, hitting 3s everywhere, and scoring 17 points / 5 assists.  Lethbridge has a ‘not-so-secret-weapon’, however;  Dejon Burdeaux, back to ‘match-fitness’ is a dominant force at both ends of the floor … 31 points over 2 nights, to go along with 16 assists and 12 steals off the very effective UL press.
  • UBC has a varied attack, as they get 8 players contributing in both definitive victories at UVic … their depth is apparent, when their scoring leader Conor Morgan has a quieter weekend, but rookie Taylor Browne steps up with 15 points/ 4 reb, 3 asst on Saturday, while the night before David Wagner returned to the ‘Birds line-up with 12 points/ 6 rebounds.
Lucas Mannes sparks TWU win on Saturday.

Lucas Mannes sparks TWU win on Saturday. photo – TWU Athletics

A round of applause for the TWU Spartans’ Lucas Mannes with his tour de force of 56 points/12 reb/14 asst/6 steals; his teammate Kelvin Smith chimes in  with 49 points/ 14 rebounds/ 5 steals.   Brandon’s Earl Thompson pots 37 points / 19 rebounds in the split series, and the Bobcats’ rookie, Pookie Saunders, gets our attention with a combined 39 points /12 boards / 10 asst/ 5 steals.

 

 


 

 CIS Scores  on Sunday –  
Atlantic –   UPEI  97  at Cape Breton   80  … a split of their weekend pair, leaving the Panthers (10-4) in a 1st place tie with Dalhousie, and the Capers (7-6) scratching for a playoff spot, back in 5th spot .


 

Overtime –   

  • UBC are wanting to try and duplicate the feat of the 1982 UVic Vikes under Coach Ken Shields, who won the CIS Championship at Memorial Arena in Victoria that season, the 3rd of 7 straight for the Vikes.  The Birds don’t yet have that kind of roll going, but UBC Coach Kevin Hanson wants to start this March !
  • As for the 7-9 Vikes, Coach Craig Beaucamp says , “We’re trying to stay up in a down time.  There is so much left to play for. We’ve got a good nucleus and can’t lose sight of the big picture. We can still make some noise.” From the Victoria Times-Colonist, Cleve Dheensaw
  • Speaking of the U of A Golden Bears , who his UL team beat twice last weekend in Lethbridge, “They’re a banged up group,” said Horns coach Mike Hansen. “It’s a reversal of fortune. We limped up there last season and lost and this time it was their turn to have a bunch of injured guys. Our guys played great D all weekend,” said Hansen. “Jared Baker and Dejon Burdeaux at the top of our press were great both games.”  From Dylan Purcell in the Lethbridge Herald.

Canada West Pioneer – Nip and Tuck

 

 

Hammer and Tong in the Pioneer Division  Battle –

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


Now That We’ve Decided First in the Explorer …

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


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


‘Unsung Heroes Week’ –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some more noteworthy performances –

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


Overtime –   

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

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

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

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

Cougars Welcome ‘Pops’ to Regina

 

‘Pops’ Takes it On the Road to Regina

Rawane ‘Pops’ Ndiaye has had an eventful last few weeks;  the 25 year old former University of Tennessee player finished his requirements for a Psychology degree from UT in mid-December, and, late in the month, traveled to Phoenix, AZ to meet his new teammates and coaches with the Regina Cougars, who played 3 games just prior to New Years.

Rawane 'Pops' Ndiaye has starting workouts with the Regina Cougars this week.

Rawane ‘Pops’ Ndiaye has starting workouts with the Regina Cougars this week.

The young man returned to his family home in Raleigh, North Carolina, to pack his things for his trip to, hopefully, a new chapter in his basketball and academic life in Regina, Saskatchewan. Feeling he needs his car to get around in his new town, ‘Pops’ decides to drive from N.C. to Southern Saskatchewan.  Cougars teammate, Brian Ofori, obviously with the right team attitude and adventuresome spirit, volunteers to fly to Raleigh from Phoenix, and accompany ‘Pops’ on the highway journey North.  They pull into Regina on January 4, and Ndiaye is practicing with the team, and getting classes organized this week.

Coach Steve Burrows is counting on ‘Pops’ to “ adapt to a new team, a new group of guys, and a new style of play.”  Burrows says, “He is a great young man; very friendly, confident, and a knowledgeble, and capable player.”  “It’s certainly a risk to bring in someone in January, and we’ll have to see how he progresses (Ndiaye was forced to quit at Tennessee after an ACL knee injury in 2014; UR is hoping he can return to playing form).  But, as Coach Burrows says, “‘Pops’ didn’t get any shorter when he crossed the border!”  He’s 6-10, 270, with skills and the experience of playing in the NCAA Tournament.

With the benefit of a home date this Saturday and Sunday vs Trinity Western, then a bye week following, the big man will get some time to become acclimatized to his new surroundings. Rawane will, everything going as it should, play in his 1st game as a Regina Cougar on February 2 in Vancouver against the UBC Thunderbirds.

Now, about the block heater for his car ….


Cda West

Canada West Resumes Play This Week –

After a month-long hiatus, Canada West teams will re-engage in regular season games this week. There may be some rust this early in January, but most squads played in tournaments, exhibition games, scrimmages, and/or team practices over that Holiday break.

 

Series of the week – Pioneer Division –

Can UBC's Jordan Jensen-Whyte drive the T-Birds to wins over the visting UL Pronghorns?

Can UBC’s Jordan Jensen-Whyte drive the T-Birds to wins over the visiting UL Pronghorns?      photo – UBC Athletics

Lethbridge Pronghorns 5-1 vs UBC Thunderbirds 6-2 – The ‘Horns start their onerous 2nd semester schedule ‘in the belly of the beast’, at venerable War Memorial Gym on Point Grey, where they are they are 0-12 since the turn of the century.  But, there is fresh hope for ’Horns Nation’, as they shoot it well, rebound it consistently, apply defensive pressure, and have a deep bench.  On the flip side, they are troubled by turnovers, and give up more treys than they make. Brandon Brine up front and Dejon Burdeaux in the back-court are 2 very valuable imports. Local 2nd year wing man,  6-7 Zac Overwater is stepping up his game, and becoming a force on offense.
The Thunderbirds are reputed to have the deepest well of talent in the League, and may be tough to beat, at their very best;  but Coach Kevin Hanson has had moments where he hasn’t been totally convinced.  Conor Morgan can be all-star material on one night ( the 6-9 wing man scored 34 vs Hope Int’l last week in California), then not so much the next.  David Wagner inside and Jordan Jensen-Whyte on the perimeter have been the driving forces for the ‘Birds.  Home court will be big this week, and UBC figures to sweep if they win the  rebounding, and can slow down the U of L attack.

Games Spread from Thursday to Sunday this week –

Thursday –

Winnipeg 3-5  at Brandon 0-6  in game 1 of their home and home –  The Bobcats quite clearly are desperate for a win, but they’re 1-10 vs the Wesmen in the past several years. Winnipeg haven’t yet found their rhythm yet, however, and Brandon’s Earl Thompson Jr., with his tireless rebounding, and the shooting of D.J. Jordan may get the ‘Cats off the schneid.

Friday –

Jasdeep Gill, 4th year wing, and his UC Dinos teammates face the U of S Huskies in Calgary this weekend.

Jasdeep Gill, 4th year wing, and his UC Dinos teammates face the U of S Huskies in Calgary this weekend.                        photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

Saskatchewan 3-5 at Calgary 6-3 – The Huskies are 9-2 over the Dinos in the past 4 seasons, and Calgary has to find the key to beating a scrappy Saskatchewan team that may be under-manned in the post. Both teams are blessed with talented and quick guards, with Thomas Cooper of Calgary leading Canada West scorers (26.7 ppg), and The Dogs scoring more by committee, with Evan Ostertag (15.9 ppg), Chan DeCiman (14.5), and Jacquin Bennett-Boire (13.3).  Rebounding will be key, along with the ability to get more shared scoring by the Dinos.

 Manitoba 6-2 at Victoria  5-3 – In the last 4 seasons, the Vikes are 6-1 over Manitoba, and home court helps UVic here; the  Bisons are as good as they’ve been for many years, however, and they are on a bit of a roll.  Victoria must find a way to gel on offense, and depend on aggressive D to curb the prolific scoring of the Herd (85 ppg).

 And, in the Explorer Division –

Aldrich Berrios leads the Okanagan Heat in a home series vs the TRU 'Pack. photo - Greystoke Photography for UBC-O

2nd year point guard, Aldrich Berrios, leads the Okanagan Heat in a home series vs the 1st place TRU Wolf Pack.                                   photo – Grestoke Photography for UBC-O Athletics

Thompson Rivers  7-1 at UBC-Okanagan 4-4 – The Wolf Pack won 3 of 4 games last season, and they look stronger this time around with Josh Wolfram joined by Ukrainian import, Volodymyr Iegorov, in a heavyweight 1-2 punch in the front court.  Okanagan has improved over past seasons as well, with Heat point man Aldrich Berrios set to give TRU’s Reese Pribilsky a tussle.

Mt. Royal 2-6 at Fraser Valley 5-3 – The Cascades have beaten MRU 4 of the last 5 times they’ve met, and they will not want to give up any more ground to the Wolf Pack in the race for top spot. Kevon Parchment is relentless for UFV, and Vijay Dhillon is now a go-to shooter.  The Cougars need big men James Lefebvre and Brett Layton to win the war inside if they are to stay close.

MacEwan 3-5 at UNBC 3-5 –  The Timberwolves won 3 of 4 from Mac in the Griffins opening season in Canada West, and in the friendly confines of the Northern Sports Centre, the Wolves are hard to handle.  Guards Rhys Elliott and Billy Cheng lead UNBC, so Denzel James and Thadius Galvez will have to respond for the Griffs.

Saturday – 

Trinity Western 0-8 at Regina 5-3 –  The Cougars have won 3 of the last 4 vs the Spartans, and, with the home court advantage, there is little reason that should change this week. Jonathan Tull and company should give the Trinity defense a real test, and TWU has allowed 86 ppg, while scoring just 68 ppg.

Brandon travels to Winnipeg for game 2, Saskatchewan at Calgary, TRU at UBC-O, MRU at UFV, Manitoba at UVic, Mac at UNBC, and Lethbridge at UBC.

Sunday –  Trinity W. at Regina


Overtime –

  • Gil Cheung, Brandon Coach, on leadership (by Robin Wark in the Westman Journal) , “They always say that you can choose your captains, but you can’t choose your leaders,” While captains are chosen for leadership roles, other players often emerge as important leaders as well. For example, Cheung said that first-year player Tyler Anderson has led this season. The 6-foot-7 forward from Langley, B.C. has done so by putting in the extra work, competing, and being one of the team’s hardest workers”, his coach explained.
  • The Calgary Dinos , as one of the fortunate hosts for the Bell NBA All Star NBASplashChallenge, may sell-out Saturday’s Dinos-Huskies  game! The NBA Challenge  is crossing the country as part of the 65th NBA All-Star celebrations to be held in Toronto on Sunday, Feb. 14 at the Air Canada Centre.   On Saturday, January 9, at the Jack Simpson Gym starting at 12 noon, any local b’baller 14 or over can compete (no charge to enter) in skills competitions, 3 point shooting, and/or a dunk contest. Top performers will advance to UC – U of S game time competition for various prizes, including a trip to the game in Toronto and a chance to compete with other winners from across Canada. More details at the Go Dinos website.
  •  Positive comments from  “Pops’  Ndiaye, the 6-10 U. Tennessee transfer,  upon his arrival in Regina for the  Cougars 2nd half of their season in Canada West. “The guys are really friendly, so we’re just kind of building our relationship and getting to know each other,” said Ndiaye,  “Hopefully I’ll be a good fit for them.” From a story in the Regina Leader-Post by Ian Hamilton.

 

Pronghorns Sweep Vikes

 

Lethbridge Pass UVic With a Big Weekend on Home Court

Deion Burdeaux completes stellar weekend, as 'Horns sweep Vikes. photo - UL Athletics

Deion Burdeaux completes stellar weekend, as ‘Horns sweep Vikes.                                    photo – UL Athletics

at Lethbridge Pronghorns  81 Victoria Vikes  74  –   The Vikes arrive in L.A. tied for 1st and leave knotted in 4th, as Lethbridge (5-1) complete the sweep by shooting 52% from there floor, going 11/17 from the stripe to 4/8 for Vic, and winning the rebounding 37-26. The ‘Horns’ import guard, Dejon Burdeaux, hits 26 points/ 7 boards/ 5 asst/ 6 steals … deadly!  Brandon Brine is solid again at 19 pts/ 6 rebs, and Zac Overwater chips in with 15 points for the   home team. Jordan Charles is tops for Victoria (5-3) at 17 points, with Grant Sitton and Brandon Dunlop each scoring 15.   Box Score

 

Lars Schleuter hits 27 for UC in a big win over UBC.

Lars Schleuter hits 29 for UC in a big win over UBC.        photo – UVic Athletics

 at  Calgary Dinos  101 UBC Thunderbirds  82  –  The Dinos push back hard on Saturday,   and this is no game for the faint of heart.  Big blows are landed, and many are exchanged as the pace is break-neck for much of the 2nd half. Thomas Cooper tallies 35 points, including 15/16 from the line, and Lars Schleuter is 6/8 from way outside, as he scores 29. Calgary turns the tables on the boards from last night with a 44-34 edge, and collect 31 points at the stripe vs 12 for the ‘Birds, who are more than a bit ‘disgruntled’ in the final minutes. Jordan Jensen- Whyte scores 21, and David Wagner 16 for UBC.  The T-Birds are now 6-2 and Calgary 5-3 on the season.  Box Score

at  Alberta Golden Bears 66   Regina Cougars  63  –   Alberta (4-4) get the sweep, as they hold on with 2 free throws from Mamadou Gueye adding to a 1 point lead with 1:30 remaining, and that’s all the scoring. This tilt is not high on style points;  U of A is 32% from the floor, have 18 turnovers vs 12 for Regina, and they win ! The Cougars are only 36% themselves, but hit just 3 treys to 8 for Alberta. Gueye has 35 of the Bruins’ 66 points plus 9 boards. Aaron McGowan scores 22 for the Cougars (3-3).  Box Score

Manitoba Bisons  89  at Brandon Bobcats  72 –  More of the same , as the Herd, improving to 6-2,  are just that much better … 45-33 on the boards, 7 treys vs 3 for the ‘Cats, 49% FG – BU has 45%.  It’s 50-36 at half-time and ‘hope is erased’. 5 in double figures for the Bisons – 18 for AJ Basi, with 4/10 deep shots, and 15 from Ilarion Bonhomme plus 6 assts. against his former team. Brandon (0-6) has 22 pts/ 5 rebs/ 4 steals from Troy Grant.       Box Score


Explorer –

‘WolfPack Ravage Cascades Behind Morris’ Big Double

Reese Pribilsky and the TRU "Pack drub the visiting Cascades.

Reese Pribilsky and the TRU “Pack drub the visiting Cascades.   photo – TRU Athletics

 at Thompson R. WolfPack  96   Fraser Valley Cascades 66  –  The WolfPack (7-1) are on the attack early, and grab a 26-7 lead after 10 minutes.  Surprisingly, this is no contest for the home sweep, as TRU hit 53% from the floor, with 13/26 from 3 pt. range against 39% for UFV, and 7/27 from outside the arc. It’s ‘sharesies’ for the ‘Pack’s starting 5, with Luke Morris the leader with 17 points, and 15 rebs.  The other 4 tally 17-17-16-15 !  Fraser Valley drop to 5-3, as Vijay Dillon and Matt Cooley both reach 13 points.   Box Score

 

 at  MacEwan Griffins 66  UBC-Okanagan Heat  46  –  Mac (3-5) bursts Okanagan’s bubble, ending the Heat streak at 4, as a 22-5 trouncing in the 2nd frame decides the contest. UBC-O (4-4) is just 28% from the floor, and 55% from the line … the visitors count 11 FTs to 21 for the Griffs. Thadius Galvez paces Mac with 20 points, while Aldrich Berrios manages just 10 as the top Okanagan scorer.  Box Score

james Lefebvre has a big outing in a hot-shooting MRU win over UNBC.

James Lefebvre has a big outing in a hot-shooting MRU win over UNBC.                        photo – MRU Athletics

Mt. Royal Cougars 88  UNBC Timberwolves 73 –   The Cougars find their shooting touch in a big way, as the home team hits 53% from the floor, including 7/15 treys. UNBC can manage just 37% FG, and the  T’Wolves are  40-24 off the glass. James Lefebvre is big for MRU, with his 24 pts/10 rebs, and Brett Layton also doubles with 14 points/ 13 boards, while Derek Wolfe is 5/7 from downtown for 22 points/ 4 assts.  Rhys Elliot has 24 points/ 4 rebs/ 3 asst/ 2 steals for UNBC, who fall to 3-5.    Box Score

T-Birds Claim First

T-Birds Pound Boards and Beat Calgary To Claim First

David Wagner's 18 pts leads UBC over Calgary

David Wagner’s 18 pts leads UBC over Calgary – photo UBC

UBC Thunderbirds 83 at  Calgary Dinos 76 –  The T-Birds get their 6th straight win, and sit alone in 1st at 6-1, as they own the boards, 50-33, against a smaller Dinos line-up.  The UBC size and pressure on defense also stifles the Calgary attack until the closing minutes, with UC cold at 37.5% from the floor. Every  T-Bird scores, and they have 4 in double figures, led by big David Wagner with 18 points/ 5 rebs, 16 points/ 7 boards by Jordan-Jensen Whyte, and 15 points from import guard, Phil Jalalpoor.  Calgary (4-3) leans heavily on the 31 points/ 10 rebounds of Thomas Cooper, and force the ‘Birds into 22 turnovers, as David Kapinga is aggressive on D with 6 steals.   Box Score

 

at Lethbridge Pronghorns 89 Victoria Vikes   62  –  ‘Horns get a big home win to move to 4-1, and drop UVic back to 5-2.  The ‘Horns have a 38-29 lead at the break, then pour in 32 in the 3rd, to push the margin to 22, and they waltz.  The home team hit 47% from the field vs 36 for the Vikes, and hit an amazing 24/37 free throws to just 6/10 for the visitors.  Brandon Brine has 21 pts/ 9 rebs for Lethbridge, and Dejon Burdeaux delivers 10 assists to go with 18 points.  Victoria hurt themselves with 23 turnovers, and are beaten 43-34 on the boards, as Reiner Theil scores 13 plus 7 rebounds.  Box Score

Mamadou Gueye sparks Bears in win over Regina.

Mamadou Gueye sparks Bears in win over Regina.  photo – U of A Athletics

at  Alberta Golden Bears 84  Regina Cougars 65  –  The Bears (3-4) are the aggressors in this one, as Regina offers fairly passive resistance after the opening 10 minutes; out-scoring the Cougs 42-23 in the middle two frames, Alberta shoots 53% from the floor, and wins the rebounding 37-26.  U of A  is also hot from the foul line, led by game-high scorer, Mamadou Gueye, who is 10/12 there, and cashes 22 points on the night for the home team. Brody Clarke hits 15 plus 9 boards, and Colby Jackson scores 13 and adds 4 asst/ 4 steals.  Regina, now at 3-2, get 15 from Alex Igual, and 13 by Jonathan Tull.  Box Score

Manitoba Bisons 86  at Brandon Bobcats  75 –  The Bisons get warmed up in the middle frames, with a 53-38 spread there and coast in with a clear victory.  The visiting Herd got better shots and made a much higher percentage (52% vs 38% for BU), they won the rebounding 43-37, and never let Brandon off the mat after the half. 4 starters in double figures for Manitoba, who move up to 5-2; Wyatt Anders dominates the glass again, with 14, and adds 13 points, while Justus Alleyn leads the UM scorers with 18. Keith Omoerah has a strong game with 16 points/11 rebounds.  Brandon has Earl Thompson Jr. as the game high scorer with 21 plus 12 big rebounds, and D.J. Jordan goes 17 pts/ 7 rebs, but the ‘Cats slide to 0-5.       Box Score

 Thursday – Saskatchewan Huskies  97 at Trinity Western Spartans 86  –  After seeing the home-standing Spartans roar back to within 1 point after 3/4s, a 28 point final quarter gave the Huskies (2-5) a more secure margin of victory.  The ‘Dogs shot he ball well, at 53% from the floor, as all 5 starters are in double figures, topped by 27 from Evan Ostertag (4 rebs, 3 asst), and 23 by Chan De Ciman (5 rebs, 3 asst). Trinity, who fell to 0-7, had good offensive production, but, as Coach Aaron Muhic said to TWU’s Scott Stewart after the game, “ … we just need to mix in some defense.”  Lucas Mannes scored 23 for Trinity, while Dean Richey added 20, and Kelvin Smith 18.   Box Score

 Friday game – Saskatchewan 78    at TWU 77 –  We are welcomed back to the old campus gym at TWU, and the Spartans seem buoyed on their practice floor;  they lead  a foul-filled affair, right up to the final buzzer, when the ball is in the air from the hand of Jonathan Karwacki.  The Huskies reserve guard drills the trey,  and it’s a cruel ending for the Spartans, who led for much of the way, in pursuit of what would have been their 1st win. But n-o-o-o-o !  Sask. gets the sweep, and are 3-5 at the exam break.  Evan Ostertag and Jauquin Bennett-Boire both total 17 points for the Dogs, with Chan De Ciman scoring 13 plus 5 rebs/ 5 asst.  Kelvin Smith has 29 points including 7/10 from the 3 pt. line for Trinity.  no  Box Score yet … delay.


WolfPack Nose Out-front in the Explorer

Luke Morris leads the Wolves to a big win over UFV.

Luke Morris leads the Wolves to a big win over UFV on Friday.                            photo – Kamloops This Week

at Thompson R. WolfPack  89   Fraser Valley Cascades 75 –   The ‘Pack (6-1) offense delivers (48% vs 35% from the floor) , and they grab 48 boards to 38 for the Cascades (5-2) in the first round of this ‘leaders series’. Luke Morris has a big night for the Orange, with 21 points/ 10 rebs, and Josh Wolfram, using his 6-10 to full advantage, hauls in 18 rebounds to go with 17 points for TRU. Vijay Dillon scores 26 for UFV including 8 treys, while Kevon Parchment adds 15 points / 8 asst/ 4 rebs.   Box Score

 UBC-Okanagan Heat 87 at  MacEwan Griffins 82  –  The ‘Hot-Hot Heat’  (they shoot 52% FG) ring up their 4th straight win, as they withstand a 57 point 2nd half by Mac, and hold on for the W.  Aldrich Berrios is a flame-thrower with the deep ball, hitting 6/7 outside and scoring 21 pts / 5 reb/4 asst for Okanagan. Cameron Servatius comes off the bench for a welcome 12 points and 7 boards for UBC-O, who are now 4-3.  MacEwan (2-5) have 5 in double digits – Thadius Galvez with 17/ 6 rebs/  4 steals, and both Denzel James and Keith Gerdes notch 16.   Box Score

 

UNBC Timberwolves  77 Mt. Royal Cougars  73 –   A big 2nd half comeback falls short for the Cougars, who suffer their 6th loss against 1 win on the year. Northern B.C. moves  to 3-4 with a tidy road win, as they shoot 46%, including 12/24 from beyond the arc. Rhys Elliott continues to be their scoring leader, with 21 tonight plus 4 rebs/ 4 asst., and Colin Plumb contributes mightily with a 17 point / 10 rebound double. MRU will wish they had hit their free throws (only 8/21), which may have won them the game. Brett Layton scored 16 / 7 rebs. for the Cougs, and James Lefebvre hit 13 pts / 11 rebounds.  Box Score


Other CIS Scores on Friday Night –

Atlantic – New Brunswick 102 Saint Marys  97  OT

Quebec –  Montreal 86  Laval 82

Ontario – #1 Ottawa 87 Windsor 53, #2 Carleton 83  #6 Western  47,  #4 Brock 82  Lakehead 80, Queen’s 81 Laurier 74, Waterloo 86 York 83,  Nipissing 71  Algoma  56


 

 

Overtime –

  • Vikes Coach Craig Beaucamp, about playing at Lethbridge, “They play run-and-gun and are especially dangerous on their own court. With the history and tradition they have in their gym, we will have our hands full this weekend. It’s never easy in that place. If it’s a matter of trading baskets, they will be tough to beat.”  (In the Victoria Times-Colonist)
  • And, in the cryptic comment department, Coach Scott Clark gives his insight into his TRU WolfPack’s home series against the UFV Cascades – “They are a good team. “We will have to play well.”  Plain-speak … succinct.  (From News-Kamloops)

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)

Vikes – Huskies in Feature Series

 

CW … Series of the Week –

Likes Brandon Dunlop drives against Huskies' Chan De Ciman (#1) and Trevor Severinski (#13) in October U of S win.

Vikes Brandon Dunlop drives against Huskies’ Chan De Ciman (#1) and Trevor Severinski (#13) in October U of S win.          photo – UVic Athletics

#9 Saskatchewan Huskies (1-1) at  Victoria Vikes (2-0) – The Victoria Vikes

Mack Roth , Vikes

Mack Roth , Vikes

are having yet another ‘Official Home Opener’ for the their bright new, yellow -themed CARSA Centre, as the Saskatchewan Huskies return for this week’s League series. Fans will remember the October opening for the Guy Vetrie Tournament, when the Sled Dogs won 3 games over ‘heavy-weights’, Fraser Valley, Carleton, and the Vikes … that one was 95-72 !

But … this is now.  UVic is 2-0, and ‘finding a different way to get things done on the court’.  A shaky pre-season brought some doubt, but Mack Roth, Reiner Theil, and Grant Sitton are hoping to lead a quick resurgence for the defending Canada West champs.  They, like the Huskies, will be playing a more guard-oriented game, even though both teams pride themselves in getting the ball into the paint.  It’s just not your classic back to the hoop , Chris McLaughlin – type attack.

  • Key Huskies –  Evan Ostertag, Jauquin Bennett -Boire, Shawn Lathan, Trevor Severinski
  • Key Vikes –  Grant Sitton, Brandon Dunlop, Mack Roth, Reiner Theil.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 5.20.34 PM

One notable match-up is the grizzled  5th year vet, point man Brandon Dunlop (left, above), in his 3rd ‘Tour of Duty’ on the Viking ship, going up against ‘raw rookie’, Jauquin Bennett-Boire (right), the Huskies QB on offense. JB-B is more likely to be a scoring threat, but Dunlop is a cagey and tireless worker, who will give all he has for a Vikes win in both these games.

Dinos rookie guard, Torrez McCoy, returns to Winnipeg with the Dinos.

Dinos rookie guard, Torrez McCoy, returns to Winnipeg with the Dinos.  photo – David Moll – UC

#6 Calgary Dinos (2-0) at Manitoba Bisons (1-1) – Home-opener for the Bisons, who have big dreams, but they’ve dropped 5 of their past 6 meetings with the Dinos, and need to find a way to control the diverse Calgary attack.  The trio  of Wyatt Anders on the boards (#1 in CW at 12.5 rpg), AJ Basi (21 ppg) with the deep treys, and point guard Justus Alleyn (4.5 assts, 9 ppg) are central to the Bisons game plan.  Calgary has a 10-11 deep rotation, led by 4th year import wing, Thomas Cooper, averaging a double/double of 25 ppg/10 rebounds. Dallas Karch (11 ppg, 5 rebs) and Lars Schleuter (10 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) are a pair of 6-7 forwards who got off to a good start in week 1.  Both these games should be nip and tuck, and won in the final few minutes.

Winnipeg Wesmen (0-2) at Alberta Golden Bears (1-1) –  Second prize for the Ws is another weekend in Sunny Alberta !  Tough scheduling start for the Wesmen, who need a bigger dose of offensive flow against a Bears team intent on leading with their aggressive defense. UW’s Jelane Pryce is expected to produce 15+ ppg, and needs a better shooting performance this week. Jamar Farlay (14.5 ppg) looks to be a big cog in the offense, but the Wesmen need more ‘hands on deck’. Alberta are good at home, and had Mamadou Gueye, Sebastian Denault, and 1st year import guard, Colby Jackson, score in double figures vs UBC last week.

Brandon Brine leads the Pronghorns into their home opener vs Brandon.

Brandon Brine leads the Pronghorns into their home opener vs Brandon.

Brandon Bobcats (0-2)  at Lethbridge Pronghorns (0-0) – Opening night for the ‘Horns, who have one of the longer returnee lists in the League.  Guards, Jared Baker, and Rob Olsen, along with forward, Brandon Brine, are ‘prime-time players’, and import guard Dejon Burdeaux (Fresno CC) is a potent back-court addition for U of L . For the revamped Bobcats, DJ Jordan scored19 ppg in Brandon’s 2 losses vs Regina last weekend, and he  gets help from Chris Stanhope (17 ppg) and Earl Thompson Jr., a beast on the boards (10 rpg) who scored 11 ppg .

Trinity Western Spartans (0-2) at UBC Thunderbirds (1-1) – Trinity may encounter  a flock of angry T-Birds this week, after UBC dropped their home opener to Alberta last Friday. Conor Morgan, David Wagner, and Jordan Jensen -Whyte and company figure to do some damage to a TWU squad trying to establish some team cohesion;  Dean Richey (import guard, Spokane, WA) looks like a leader, and Kelvin Smith has the tools; team shooting and rebounding need to pick up.  We note the Spartans improved turnover ratio, as new Coach Aaron Muhic works for a more efficient style.

The 2-0 Regina Cougars get the bye this week.


 

Explorer Division – 

Nate Brown is a strong presence inside for the Cascades.

Nate Brown is a strong presence inside for the Cascades.

MacEwan Griffins (1-1) at  Fraser Valley Cascades  (2-0) –  Another test for the defending Division champions, as they host a veteran-laden Mac team.  UFV may not overwhelm, but they get the job done, with their experience and toughness. Mark Johnson (3rd year tsf from Coll. of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA), is obviously a great addition, and he joins battle-tested vets, like Kevon Parchment and Nate Brown to form another strong Cascades squad. The Griffins will have to earn everything they get; Denzel James and newcomer Thadius Galvez look like a dynamic pair for the Griffs.

5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, leads a potent 'Pack attack.

5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, leads a potent ‘Pack attack.  – photo – TRU

Thompson R. WolfPack (2-0) at Mt. Royal Cougars (1-1) –  The ‘Pack come in with an 8-0 record over the pre-season and opening week.  Josh Wolfram, Reese Pribilsky, and  Vololodymyr Iegorov are a ‘wrecking crew’ on offense.  The Cougars respond with new-found size and scoring by 1st year post Brett Layton, a 6-8 returned Mormon missionary, who retained and refined some of his hoops skills last summer. James Lefebvre and Derek Wolfe are seniors that MRU will rely on, if they are to get a win vs the ‘Pack.

UNBC Timberwolves (0-2)  at UBC-Okanagan Heat (0-2) –  Here are 2 teams looking for their first victory of the young season.  Both coaches see these as ‘winnable games’, and a split is a necessity, even on this 2nd weekend. The T-Wolves ride the scoring touch of Aussie guard, Rhys Elliot, and an increasingly confident Billy Cheng, who scored 32 in the first of 2 strong team efforts against TRU last week. Okanagan also came to play on the road at Fraser Valley, and they showed more offensive depth, with Dean Johnston, Mitch Goodwin, Aldrich Berrios, and newcomer, Randall Mosca all averaging double figures.


 

Overtime –

Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU's new 'secret weapon' !

Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU’s new ‘secret weapon’ !  photo – TRU Athletics

  • TRU’s Coach Scott Clark appreciates the impact that  Vololodymyr Iegorov  the 6-7, 3rd year  forward, from Donetsk, Ukraine is making on his WolfPack team.  “He scores in a variety of ways, “ Clark explains. “He doesn’t score in your face. He got to the line, he scores in transition. He scores a three or two. He got a couple from the post some from the back cut. He is like a ‘silent assassin.’ He is a good player and that is the way good players go about their business.”  (From News Kamloops ).  Iegorov scored 29 ppg on opening weekend, and he is a huge addition, playing beside TRU’s other ace big man, Josh Wolfram.
  • You are Thompson Rivers, at 8-0 vs CIS and U.S. Colleges, but do you get even a sniff from the CIS Top 10 voters ?  Ah-h-h, NO!  Why you say? Well, it’s obvious that the Canada West Explorer Division is considered a ‘B League’ .  Any team in the Explorer, even the consistently competitive Fraser Valley Cascades, are passed over by this perception. These teams may have to live with that until 2016-17, when Canada West again merges the teams into one almost unfathomable 17 team League.