TWU / UNBC – Small School Challenges


Spartans and Timberwolves Face an Uphill Path

–  2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

These 2 B.C. schools are among the smallest, by population, in Canada West, and have quite a task in trying to match the resources and recruiting power of many of the larger programs. Despite this, the TWU Spartans, about 6-8 years ago were very competitive in this League with the likes of Jacob Doerksen, Brian Banman, and Jason Keegstra.  UNBC has yet to make that kind of impact, but  Coach Todd Jordan and his boys were 12-8 just 2 years ago with Rhys Elliott and Franko Kouagnia leading the way.

With this new 17 team League, there are now games against some of the much bigger schools for the T’Wolves, and Trinity is definitely in a ‘re-building phase’.  Both teams have some new faces who should help the cause for the upcoming year, but ‘it’s never easy’.

Trinity Western Spartans
No playoffs                  1 win   19 losses      (Pioneer Division)

Returnees – TWU copy
4th years –  4th years – Peter Spangehl, 6-3 wing, Surrey, BC.  Pogos Trunyan, 6-2, guard, (red-shirt last yr), Sacramento, CA … 3rd years – Tyus Allen, 6-1, guard,  White Rock, BC.  Vartan Tanielian, 6-4 guard, Surrey. Patrick Vandervelden, 6-10 forward, 3rd, Abbotsford.  Josiah Allison,  6-2, guard, 3rd, Abbotsford.  Eric Rogers, 6-4 guard,  Chilliwack.   2nd year –  Matt Hayashi, 7-1 post,  Langley … 1st year- Nathan Allison,  6-0 guard (redshirt ’15-’16), Abbotsford.

New faces –   Nick Smith, 6-4 fwd, 3rd,   Surrey (Kwantlen Poly U.). Max Viitala, 3rd, G, 6-5,  Melbourne, AUS  , Ambrose Univ. Coll., (Calgary).  Taturs Maberry, 6-6 post, 3rd, Pasadena, CA  (Los Angeles Valley Col.), Josiah Meppelink,  6-3 guard, 1st,   Langley ( Lynden Christian) Nigel Boyd, 6-3 guard, 1st,   Richmond  (Steveston- London), Aaron Paetkau, 6-5 wing, 1st, Parksville BC (Ballenas), Daniel Stead, 6-7 Wing, 1st, Langley (Walnut Grove), Justin Robinson, 6-1 guard, 1st,   Maple Ridge,  ( Maple Ridge Christian), Ben Reddy, 6-3 guard, 1st,  Victoria (Lambrick Park)


California transfer, Pogos Trunyan (L) and returnee post man, Patrick Vandervelden (L) will be key to the fortunes of TWU.

With a young team coming off a very difficult ’15-’16 season, Coach Aaron Muhic starts his 2nd season at TWU counting on some of his returnees to bring a higher skill level and the determination to help the team move up. “The guys have a good team attitude, and we’re happy with how they work together”, said Muhic. “We certainly have challenges, but we also feel we have the pieces to make things better this year.”

Guard, Tyus Allen, who returns after a year off, “ … may have to shake the rust off,” says the coach, “but he has the skill and experience to be a leader.”  Muhic also points to 3rd year guard, Josiah Allison, who has shown “an aggressive style, and looks good in early workouts.”  Guard, Vartan Tanielian, and big forward, Patrick Vandervelden, should be set for impactful seasons with more playing experience.  Coach Muhic also has high hopes for 2nd year tower, Matt Hayashi, who, the coach tells us, “Is working hard, and starting to get more comfortable with his role.”

Pogos Trunyan played for Coach Muhic in the California College League, and he will be expected to give the Spartans scoring and floor leadership, after red-shirting in Langley in 2015-16. “He is eager to go, and has adapted very well to the International style of play, and his academic program at TWU”, says Muhic. Another import, Taturs Maberry, is a candidate for valuable contributions in scoring and rebounding. Local recruit, Joseph Meppelink, is a very capable high school grad, who has the size and skill to get him into the playing rotation.

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at UBC-O, home and home vs Fraser Valley, at UNBC, vs Regina, vs Lethbridge   …  Jan/Feb –   at Winnipeg, vs Manitoba, at Victoria, at Mt. Royal, vs UBC   Prediction –  Will improve, but tough to reach the top 12

U. Northern BC Timberwolves
’15-’16 – No playoffs                 4 wins    16 losses  (Explorer Division)

Returnees – 5th years – Rhys Elliott,  6-1 guard, Adelaide, Aus. Elliot Rowe, 5-9 guard, Victoria   … 4th years –  Marcus MacKay, 6-4 wing, Terrace, BC.  Nolan Hanson, 6-1 guard, Prince George.  Austin Chandler, 6-6 fwd, Wenatchee, WA  … 3rd years – Vaggelis Loukas, 6-5 fwd, Athens, GR  … 2nd years – Anthony Hokanson, 6-5 fwd, Vancouver.  Saje Gosal, 6-5 wing, Golden, BC.  Neal Randhawa, 6-4 guard, Golden.UNBC copy
New faces –   James Agyeman, 5-11 guard, 3rd,  Brampton, ON (tsf- W. Laurier). Sam Zhang, 6-4 fwd, Pitt Meadows, BC (tsf Capilano Coll.) . Tyrell Laing, 6-0 guard, 1st year, Prince George (Prince George).  (RS) Volodymyr Pluzhnikov, 6-0 guard, Kharkiv, Ukraine (MBC Mykolaiv – Ukraine Superleague).

Todd Jordan, now in his 8th season in Prince George as Head Coach, is hoping 2016-’17 brings a little less pain than last year.  Injuries took away key players for far too many games, and it was tough to get any continuity.  “We were were going with a patch-work lineup from one series to the next”, said Jordan.

The Timberwolves get Nolan Hanson back after he missed almost all of ’15-’16, and Anthony Hokanson, Sam Zhang, and James Agyeman are now available.  Agyeman, a transfer from Laurier of the OUA, can step in as a skilled point man, and boost the guard corps. He and a healthy 5th year stalwart, Elliot Rowe ,should be a good combo at that spot. Rhys Elliott, another 5th year player,  returns as the ‘Wolves leading scorer (18 ppg, 7th in Canada West, 5 rebs and 2.3 assists.)

Two offensive threats for UNBC - Rhys Elliott (L) and Marcus MacKay (R)

Two offensive threats for UNBC – Rhys Elliott (L) and Marcus MacKay (R)

“We’ve had a good ‘off-season’”, says Jordan. “The guys have come back in great shape, and we have more experience as a whole team.”   Jordan says he is looking to several returnees to have significantly better campaigns, including wing, Marcus MacKay, a real 3 point threat.  Vaggelis Loukas will also be a key leader, with his toughness, scoring ability, and maturity as a player.

Rebounding is a focus for UNBC, as they struggled to meet their goals last year.  Jordan says, “We definitely know we have to improve, and everyone needs to play a part, if we want to get our share every game.”  The ‘Wolves take care of the ball very well, and have quality depth on the perimeter to ensure that continues.  Finding an interior presence on offense, and at least fighting to a draw on the boards are top priorities.

“This League gets very interesting as we meet the ‘Pioneer‘ schools, and every weekend is big if we are to contend for a playoff spot”, says Coach Jordan. “Maybe we can surprise a few favourites as our team comes together; we know the guys will work hard, and we think we will give it a good run.”

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at Winnipeg, vs Alberta, vs Trinity Western, at Fraser Valley, vs Thompson Rivers,   Jan/Feb –  at Lethbridge, vs Mt. Royal, at Manitoba, at UBC, vs Saskatchewan     Prediction –  Tough road to  playoffs


Does size of schools matter ?inthebleachers-jumpball

If we looked at Canada West as an ocean, we’d be seeing whales, shrimp and everything in between.  From UBC, the big whale, to Northern B.C. a relative minnow in school population, this League has a wide array of school sizes.

Can schools the size of an average city high school hope to match the ‘big boys’?


The big fish, like UBC, Alberta, Calgary, and Manitoba very much dwarf the Trinity Westerns and UNBC’s out there.  It means financial resources, facilities, and ‘name recognition’.

Brandon is one school that, in the Coach Jerry Hemmings era, overcame this disadvantage, and the ‘Cats won multiple Great Plains titles and 4 National Championships.  But this may be too big a stretch for most of our really small schools.

TRU went to Nationals with a strong core of experienced and talented players last season, and Fraser Valley has had a couple of championship looks.  It remains to be seen how often the ‘small guys’ can buck the trend.

After all, who has won Canada West?   It has been Victoria 16 times, Alberta 11, UBC 9, Calgary 5, and Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, and Brandon 1 apiece.

(Note- We are not counting Great Plains titles won by Brandon, Manitoba, Regina, or Winnipeg)


Overtime –

  • The Guy Vetrie Invitational (Sept. 29 – Oct. 1) has Victoria  hosting McMaster, McGill, and Regina , and fans can watch live video on Canada West TV .   Thursday games – 6 pm (Pacific) McGill vs McMaster, 8 pm Vikes vs Regina, Friday – Regina-McMaster at 6, UVic – McGill at 8, and Saturday – Regina-McGill at 5 pm ,  Victoria vs McMaster at 7 pm.

Top Seeds Leap Out Front

#1 Saskatchewan and #2 Fraser Valley Grab Series’ Leads

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Vijay Dhillon kills Dinos with clutch treys in UFV game 1 win.


At Fraser Valley Cascades  78  Calgary Dinos 71  –  Tenuous control in the opening 20 minutes in Abbotsford, as Calgary starts fast, then Fraser Valley responds, but in the 2nd quarter, the Dinos finish with a 14-1 flurry to take a 38-35 edge at the break.  The 3 point shot got Calgary back in it, but their lead evaporates quickly in the 3rd, as UFV dominates 21-11.  Both teams are loose with the ball at times, with 20 turnovers from Fraser Valley and 14 by Calgary, but rebounding was the decisive factor as the home team almost doubles the Dinos 40-21, led by Jasper Moedt’s game-controlling 13.

Off their bench, UFV’s Vijay Dhillon tops team scoring with 20 including 4/5 from 3 pt. range.  He gets lots of help from Nate Brown (19 pts) and Moedt’s 15 for the double-double. Calgary has Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson with 20 pts/4 assts., Lars Schleuter counting 17 pts/ 4 rebs., and Josh Owen-Thomas with 16 pts/ 4 assts.   Box Score 

Matt Forbes is tough inside in leading U of S to a game 1 win.

Matt Forbes is tough inside in leading U of S to a game 1 win.


at Saskatchewan Huskies 96  Thompson R. Wolf Pack  82  – The Huskies had to shake some of the rust off in the early going, but 53 second half points bring Saskatchewan all the way back from an 11 point deficit midway in the 2nd quarter.  The Huskies are red hot, shooting 59% from the floor, led by 20 points from Matt Forbes, and  8 pts/12 rebounds by Ben Baker.

TRU look good early, but fade under more aggressive U of S defense, as the visitors scoring come harder in the final 20. Brett Rouault (22 pts) and Josh Wolfram (20 pts/4 rebs) pace the ‘Pack, who hit a respectable 48%.  Box Score


Vikes Give McKinnon Gym a Fitting Send-off 

  Chris McLaughlin is Vikes series leader in sweep of Alberta.

Chris McLaughlin is Vikes series leader in sweep of Alberta.


at Victoria Vikes 81   Alberta Golden Bears  67  –  Playing true to their form for the past several seasons under Coach Craig Beaucamp, UVic clamps down on the Bears offense in the 2nd half again on Friday, as they sweep Alberta 2-0 , qualifying for another Final 4.  Trailing 37-36 after a tight 1st half, Victoria hangs up 45 points to U of A’s 30  in the 2nd for a convincing win in the final game at McKinnon.

As he has in most games, Chris McLaughlin is the driving force for the Vikes offense, with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Marcus Tibbs shines at the guard spot with 19 points and 6 assists. Victoria hit 45% from the floor vs just 33% for Alberta, and UVic wins the rebounding  40-27.  Alberta gets a 21 point game from 5th year wing Ken Otieno, in his final CIS appearance.  Box Score


 Thunderbirds Reach Final 4 With 2nd Straight Over UNBC

at UBC Thunderbirds  88  UNBC  Timberwolves  78  –  The T-Birds repel the determined effort by UNBC, and they move on to the Canada West Final 4, looking to capture their 4th Canada West  title in 6 years. The T’Wolves trail 28-9 after a quarter, but hang in to creep as close as 5 points in the 4th, but run out of time. Conor Morgan is the highest flying ‘Bird with 19 points, Kedar Wright adds 17 / 4 assists, and Tommy Nixon 15 pts/ 5 rebs.   Rhys Elliott  hitting 19 points, Jeff Chu with 16, and Billy Chu 14   UBC wins the rebounding  43 to 35, and thrive on a full meal of 28/40 free throws against just 12/13 for the ‘Wolves.  No Box Score yet . 


More CIS Scores, Friday –

Atlantic Tournament – Dalhousie 62 Cape Breton 60 – Dal vs UNB in Semis

Saint Mary’s 99  Memorial 91 – SMU vs UPEI in Semis

Quebec – McGill 73 Laval 64   (Last Q-League games this week)


Overtime –

  • Does anyone else feel that, with a lead or a tie, you might feel that you just take the imagesball at the far end line, rather than move it up to 3/4 court (offensive zone) ?   We’ve noticed so many times where the offensive team has  trouble getting the ball in-bounds safely.  CBU turns it over tonight, with  23 secs. left and  the score tied at 60 … Dal gets the last shot, and buries it for the win.  That play happens so often, that you’d kill for a sure-fire entry pass under extreme pressure.
  • We’re calling UNB in the Atlantic Tournament this weekend.  ( Brilliant ! Bet the favourites). They’ve been the best all season, and should get the 2 wins necessary to win the Cup and get them to Toronto for the Final 8.

Thursday – Bears-Vikes, ‘Birds-‘Wolves


Can the Vikes and Chris McLaughlin get past the Golden Bears ?

Can the Vikes and  Canada West’s Player of the Year, Chris McLaughlin, get past the Golden Bears  in the Q-Finals?

Victoria and Alberta – Two Traditional Powers

In one Canada West Q-Final beginning on Thursday night, UVic hosts Alberta in a match-up of teams with a history of success at the League and National level.   The Vikes  have been to the last 2 CIS Nationals, but haven’t won Canada West since 2006, while the Bears were at the CIS Final 8  last season and in ’12 , and they were CW champs in both those years and in 2005.

Only one of these ‘power teams’  will move on to the Canada West Final 4.  The Vikes have home court, where they beat Alberta twice in League play, while the Bears have the longest current win streak , 8 games, in the League.  Key players and key numbers –

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 2.24.32 PM

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The Golden Bears have a bit more depth (by minutes played), their defense is at least as good as UVic’s, and they shoot the 3 pointer better as a team.  The Vikes have 2 game-changers in McLaughlin and Tibbs, plus as good a rebounding team as there is in CW.

Youssef Ouahrig is another key for Alberta at the point, and Reiner Theill can hit the 3 and play the D for Victoria. Prediction – Home court edge in a 3 game series for UVic. 


5th year forward, Tommy Nixon, is UBC's ace in the paint !

5th year forward, Tommy Nixon, is UBC’s ace in the paint !

Timberwolves at Thunderbirds –  UBC  Has ‘Dynamic Duo’

In the other Thursday start, the Explorer Division’s UNBC Timberwolves (12-8), in their first-ever CIS playoff series (this is only their 3rd year in Canada West), step onto historic War Memorial Gym hardwood to face the 14-6 UBC T-Birds. UBC has been one of Canada West’s winningest programs, with 5 League championships  over the past 12 years. The ‘Birds slipped to 11-11 last season, and started 1-5 this campaign, but finished 13-1 since late November.  Key players and key numbers –

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.39.14 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.39.32 AM

The two dominant figures for UBC over that stretch have been Tommy Nixon, the Canada West scoring leader, and 6-9, Conor Morgan.  UNBC counters with their ‘bigs’ Francko Kouagnia and Devin McMurtry, plus a sharp-shooting Aussie import, Rhys Elliott.  The T-Birds bring more size and experience with  6-8, Tonner Jackson and 6-8, David Wagner,  and their 3rd year point man, Jordan Jensen-Wright, has grown more and more comfortable in that role.

The T’Wolves defense needs  to have a big series, and control the efforts of Nixon and Morgan, mostly inside.  UBC scores (highest ppg in Canada West) in the paint, and at the line !  Prediction – UNBC hasn’t turned it over, and they allow  fewer points, but this still looks like a 2 game sweep for UBC.

  >   Both  these series tip-off Thursday at 7 pm – Pacific


 Canada West Men’s Basketball Individual Award winners:


Huskies Ben Baker- Defensive Player of the Year

Huskies Ben Baker- Defensive Player of the Year

 Player of the Year: Chris McLaughlin, Victoria – As the ‘go-to man in the middle for the Vikesthe 6-10 McLaughlin led his team to a 15-5 season, and averaged 19.8 points per game 2nd in CW scoring, and 10 rebounds.  In his final season at Victoria, the Ontario native is a sure -fire pro candidate.

Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Baker, Saskatchewan – Leading the  Huskies (15-5)  to the #1 seed,   Baker finished  with 2.1 steals/ game,  and 7.7 rebounds, while contributing 12 ppg offensively. He also won this award in 2013.



 Calgary's  Lars Schleuter, is CW Rookie of the Year.

Calgary’s Lars Schleuter, is CW Rookie of the Year.     Photo – David Moll –  UC

Rookie of the Year: Lars Schlueter, Calgary – This 6-8, import wing-man from Germany is … “ a high percentage shooter with a quick enough release to handle the speed of our game and can run the floor very well”, says his Coach Dan Vanhooren.  He averaged 9.6 ppg and 3.2 rebounds, and defended opposing forwards very well, as he started every game for the Dinos.


Dan Vanhooren, UC Dinos, wins Coach of the Year.

Dan Vanhooren, UC Dinos, wins Coach of the Year.  Photo- David Moll, UC

Coach of the Year: Dan Vanhooren, Calgary – This is the first Coach of the Year selection for the Dinos 15 year head man, as he moves the team from 2 non-playoff seasons in 2013 and ‘14 to their 12-8 year this campaign, much of it spent in the CIS Top 10 rankings. Vanhooren has won 2 Canada West titles with his Dinos teams in 2004 and 2009.




Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Devin McMurtry, UNBC – The formidable 5th year rebounder was a peer-tutor, helping his teammates and other student-athletes with their studies, and also coached in the Jr. Timberwolves program.  The clincher, though, was his shaving is famous ‘flowing locks’ for the latest cancer fund-raiser!

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Overtime –

  • Further to the OUA’s use of the RPI as a decision-maker for playoff seeding … The RPI is a metric calculated on the following formula: 25 percent a team’s record, 50 percent a team’s opponents’ record, and 25 percent a team’s opponents’ opponents’ record.
  •  CIS Champions over the past 15 years – Carleton – 10 wins, including the last 4 seasons, Saskatchewan in 2010, Brock in 2008, Alberta in 2002, and St. FX in 2001, 2000. So 11 of 15 for the OUA, and 10/15 for Coach Dave Smart and the Ravens.  Canada West has 2 wins, as does the AUS, and Quebec hasn’t won since Bishop’s in 1998.
  •   Two big recruit signings for  Coach Mark Dobell of Mt. Royal, as theMRU has the friendliest ticket prices in the schools we checked for single game tickets. Cougars land Tyis Yellowhorn, a 6-4 combo guard from Chestermere (AB) High School. Yellowhorn, a key player on Coach Rob Wilson’s  powerhouse team ( 28-0 vs Canadian schools ), had been recruited by several other CIS schools, but stays close to home in the Calgary area. Coach Wilson says, “Tyis is a very good shooter, who builds everything else off that shot.  He makes good decisions as a ball-handler.“   The 2nd addition for MRU is Nate Wall, a 6-8 wing man from Holy Trinity, Okotoks, AB, and another highly sought -after grad, who Coach Dobell describes as having “ … a huge upside. He also shoots the ball really well, and can  put it on the floor.  He has some maturing to do physically (as do most high school grads), but we like his skills as a big kid.”

Eight Teams Left in CW Playoffs



Canada West Quarter-Finals start on Thursday.

Canada West Quarter-Finals start on Thursday.

Thursday –                          UNBC at UBC – 7 pm Pacific    Alberta at UVic – 7 pm Pacific

Friday –                                    Calgary at UFV – 6 pm Pacific   TRU at Sask. – 8 pm Central      UNBC at UBC – 7 pm Pacific    Alberta at UVic – 7 pm Pacific


Saturday –                                                                                                                            Game 3 in the T-Birds/T’Wolves and/or Bears/Vikes series, if necessary                              Calgary at Fraser Valley – 6 pm Pacific,  T. Rivers at Saskatchewan – 8 pm Central

Sunday –                                                                                                                                  Game 3 in the Dinos / Cascades and/or Wolf Pack / Huskies series, if necessary


A Snap-shot Preview of the Canada West Q-finals –

We have 5 Pioneer Division teams and all 3 of the Explorer teams in the Feb. 26th – March 1st Quarter-finals, with just #2 seed UFV now having a home-court among those 3 Explorer squads.

From top to bottom in the draw …

We have #1 Saskatchewan facing a #8 Thompson Rivers team which just won their 1st-ever playoff series, 2-0 vs Winnipeg last weekend. The Huskies faced the Wolf Pack in last year’s Q-final (winning comfortably in 2 straight) in Saskatoon, and have never lost to TRU. The twist here is that the games will be played on a high school court, instead of at the Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.32.33 AMPAC at U of S.

#5 UNBC, displaced from their practice facility in Prince George by the Canada Winter Games (they’ve bivouacked at TRU the last few days), will travel to face the #4 UBC T-Birds at War Memorial. In their 3 year history in Canada West, the T’Wolves are 0-4 against their ‘older cousins’, and are out-sized, except for their formidable duo of Francko Kouagnia and Devin McMurtry. The ‘Wolves face long odds against a T-Bird team that is 13-1 since November.

The ‘cookie crumbled’, and the #3 UVic Vikes, for their 13-5 record in the very tight Pioneer race, get home court, but face a #6 Alberta team (12-6) that has won 8 straight to finish off their regular season.  The Vikes , however, swept the Bears on the McKinnon Gym -Ken and Kathy Shields  Court back in late November. These are two strong  teams with high expectations, and one will fall by the wayside. The Vikes want to give the ‘hallowed ground’ of McKinnon a suitable finale, after so much winning history comes to an end for the old gym this week (we would guess).

The #2 Fraser Valley Cascades were 14-0 a few weeks ago, and looking like they might run the table in the Explorer, if not all of Canada West.  But UFV has fallen back to Earth, with 3 losses, one in each of their last 3 series, and doubts may be creeping in.  The Cascades face the #7 Calgary Dinos, who beat Manitoba 2 straight in last weekend’s play-in series.  The 12-6 Dinos have a high hurdle to clear if they are to win 2 of 3 in Abbotsford, where the Cascades sport a 9-1 League record this season.


 Other CIS Playoffs  – 

The Atlantic Tournament format is an exciting tradition.

The Atlantic Tournament format is an exciting tradition.

Atlantic – The AUS has it’s Championship Tournament starting Fri., Feb. 27 – at the Scotiabank Centre, Halifax.

  • 1. New Brunswick, and 2. UPEI  get a bye to the semi-finals.
  • Quarter-Final #1 –  4. Cape Breton  vs 5. Dalhousie on  Friday
  • Quarter-Final #2 –  3. Saint Marys  vs 6. Memorial on Friday
  • Semi-Finals – 1. UNB vs CBU / Dal winner, and 2. UPEI  vs SMU / Memorial winner – on Sat., Feb. 28
  • Final –  Semi-Final winners play for the AUS Championship on Sun. March 1st

Quebec – They still have League play this week .  Their 4 team Tournament is at Bishops on the March 6/7 weekend. Final standings still to be decided. It looks like UQAM is the team out of the playoffs.

Ontario –   The OUA playoffs include the top 3 teams from each of their 4 Divisions.  They are seeded by an RPI rating, which balances team records with the ‘quality of opponents’. (That’s a huge oversimplification, but ….). All rounds are single game knock-out for the Wilson Cup competition. Ottawa Gee-Gees are the defending OUA champs and Carleton Ravens the CIS Champions.

Ottawa and Carleton are the odds on favourites in the OUA's Wilson Cup.

Ottawa and Carleton are the odds on favourites in the OUA’s Wilson Cup.

  • 1. Ottawa, 2. Carleton, 3. Ryerson, and 4. McMaster get a bye to the Q -finals
  • 1st Round games – Wednesday, Feb. 25
    • 10. Guelph at 7. Lakehead – winner plays 2. Carleton in the Q-Finals
    • 11. Laurier at 6. Western – winner plays at 3. Ryerson in the Q-Finals
    • 12. Toronto at 5. Windsor – winner plays at 4. McMaster in the Q-Finals
    • 9. Laurentian at 8.York – winner plays 1. Ottawa in the Q-Finals
  •   The Quarter-Finals will be played on Saturday, Feb. 28
  • The OUA Men’s Final Four will be hosted at the highest remaining seed.  Semifinal action is scheduled to begin on Friday, March 6th followed by the Gold and Bronze medal games on Saturday, March 7th.

> The CIS Final 8 Tournament is at Ryerson’s Mattamy Centre from March 12-15   


Overtime –

  • Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, extolling the virtues of his teammates after the Dinos
     'OJ' gives his teammates credit in playoff wins.

    ‘OJ’ gives his teammates credit in playoff wins.

    won the 2nd game over Manitoba on Saturday, “Josh Owen-Thomas (4th year import, Australia) has one of the toughest jobs because he’s always guarding one of their best players full court, rebounding and playing some point guard duties and he came up big,” Ogungbemi-Jackson said.  And an ‘OJ’ nod to 3rd year post, Mitch Ligertwood, Port Moody, B.C., “He came in and battled and nothing was easy, so we’re lucky to have Mitch and hopefully he can keep playing this way for us.”   (From  Lucas Meyer, Dinos Sports Information).

  •  David Wells, the Lethbridge sports guru, who knows basketball in Alberta as well as
    Ken Olynyk, now better known as Kelly'd Dad !

    Ken Olynyk, now better known as Kelly’s Dad !

    anyone, gives us further testimony on Karl Tilleman … “ Karl was amazing. After his (Mormon Church) mission when the 3pt line was in (I believe it came in after the 1986 World Championships) I think he had nine 3s in a 1988 Olympic Game vs Spain.”  (Ken) Olynyk (former U of L, U. Toronto Coach, now AD at Thompson Rivers) and (Guy) Vetrie ( former Coach at Saskatchewan, UVic .. now deceased) were in the National Coaching Institute in 1988-89 at UVic and one of their projects was to study where/how etc. 3 pt. shots were taken/made. I was SID at UVic that year. They were laughing so hard at that tape of Karl they called me in to look at it.”

  • Dawn Smyth, Manager of Coach Education with Canada Basketball tells us they have a new coaching education webpage, with info about certification programs (NCCP) , coaching resources, and clinics. Go to  . While on the site, check out Game Plan, a new portal for Canadian coaches … it  has multiple coaching tools as well as all of the up- coming nccp clinics, over 60 videos and over 50 documents.

Wesmen Falter, Dinos Benefit



  Friday Night  in Canada West –

Dinos lose – but get 5th over the struggling Wesmen?

 (We’re on remote here fans – just the highlights)

 at Saskatchewan Huskies 89  Calgary Dinos 80 –  Like a punch to the gut … 33 Huskie points in the opening quarter. The Dinos crawl back to within 3 after 3, but no cigar!  Pretty tough when Saskatchewan shoots 60% from the floor, with Calgary a mere 48%. Dadrian Collins scores 21 for the ‘Dogs, with Ben Baker and Matt Forbes hitting 17. Calgary has a good game from Phil Barndt with 22, and Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson adds 17.  Saskatchewan (14-5) is one win away from clinching the #1 seed.  The Dinos fall to 12-7, but will finish 5th by our reckoning, as Winnipeg drops a key game to Regina.  Box Score 

Regina Cougars 74  at Winnipeg Wesmen  71 –   The Cougars (8-11) bring their ‘A  game’, shooting 51% FGs, led by Brandon Tull with 17 / 10 rebounds, with Jonathan Tull adding 18 pts/4 rebs/ 4 asst/ 3 steals. The Wesmen are cold at 38% from the floor, but have a chance at the finish, falling just short.  This game is very costly for Winnipeg, as at 11-8, they can only tie Calgary, and will fall to 6th, as the Dinos beat the Ws twice in League play.  Box Score 

  at Alberta Golden Bears 75  Lethbridge Pronghorns 57 –  After a 25-11 3rd quarter, it’s all over …. Bears are 13-6 and get # 7 in a row. They take advantage of 12 treys vs just 4 for the ‘Horns (7-12) .  Ken Otieno scores 15 with 7 boards and Joel Friesen 14 pts/7 rebs/ 5 assts. Rob Olsen for Lethbridge is the game high scorer with 23 points. Box Score 

at UBC Thunderbirds 98  Manitoba Bisons 82 –  The ‘Birds (13-6)  ‘declare‘( in cricket parlance) at 80-55 after 3/4s, as they hit 50% from the floor and 29/42 free throws vs 6/11 for the visiting Herd (9-10).  6 players in double figures for the Thunderbirds, including 12 points / 10 boards by Conor Morgan, and 17 pts/ 5 rebs/ 7 assts by Jordan Jensen-Whyte. Manitoba get 15 from Amarjit Basi, and they have 4 more players in doubles, but can’t defend the ‘Birds. Box Score 

  at Victoria Vikes 99 Trinity Western Spartans 79 –  The Vikes hit 52% from the field, as Marcus Tibbs runs free for 29 points, with 5/7 from outside, 10 assts/ 3 steals, while Chris McLaughlin chips in with 25 pts/ 8 boards. Victoria (14-5) takes it down to the final League game trying to catch Saskatchewan for 1st, but need a Huskie loss on Saturday. TWU win the rebounding 39-32, but little else, as their defense cannot slow down the Vikes. Justin Bakuteka scores 21 for the Spartans (2-17) and Denny McDonald 17.  Box Score 


Explorer Division … Cougars Can Snag 3rd, With Help

 at  Mt. Royal Cougars 78  MacEwan Griffins  71-  MRU looked like a flustered team at the half, and, trailing by 10 in the 3rd quarter, but they roared back to tie, then won the 4th decisively.  They move to 9-10, and are 1 win and a TRU loss away from a playoff spot. MacEwan’s Lee Danderfer connected on 7/13 treys for a game high 23 points, and Keith Gerdes adds 16, but they cool down in the final 15 minutes, shooting 36% as a team on the game. Mt. Royal owns the boards at 47-33, and shoots well enough to win. Manok Akwl and Awet Abraha both tally 17 points, while James Lefebvre -do what he do’ – 15 pts/ 15 rebs !  Box Score

at Fraser Valley Cascades 83  Thompson R. Wolf Pack 62 –  Fraser Valley stifles the ‘Pack attack, as the Orange (10-9) hit a paltry 29% from the floor. TRU’s leader,  Josh Wolfram, plays 19 minutes, but is not really himself, scoring just 7 and claiming 4 rebs. Joe Davis comes off the bench as the only Wolf to hit double figures with 10 in 12 minutes. The rebounds are 52-33 UFV !  The Cascades (17-2) get 22 points from Kadeem Willis and 17 by Kevon Parchment.  Box Score

UNBC Timberwolves  85 at UBC-Okanagan Heat  64-  Bang-zoom !  In an afternoon tilt, the Timberwolves dispense with the Heat in very short order.  As in the Thursday night affair, the ‘Wolves cut off the UBC-O offense, and, in the late-going, pulled away with a 41-25 2nd half. Rebounding was a big T-Wolves advantage at 46- 33, and 21/29 (72%) free throws beat the 14/22 (64%) of the Heat. 4 starters posted double figure scoring for the 12-8 Timberwolves, led by 16 pts/9 rebounds from the relentless Francko Kouagnia, and a robust 14 boards and 12 points from his ‘right-hand man‘ Devin McMurtry.  Okanagan, who finish League play at 3-17, had Dean Johnston with 12 pts, and 10 each by Noma Obaseki and Ryan Morck (9 rebs).   Box Score


 CIS Scores from the East –

AUS …  #8 UNB 77   at St. FX 72

Quebec …  Laval 72 at UQAM 60, at Bishop’s  76 Concordia 72

Ontario –  #1 Carleton 114  at Queen’s 45 , #2 Ottawa 90 at York 57,  #5 Windsor 103 at Algoma 66

at Waterloo 91  Nipissing 64, Laurentian 73 at Laurier 65


Overtime –

  • We noted the outstanding year for the MacEwan Women’s team in making the playoffs in their 1st year in Canada West.  The question has been asked , “Has any other school done this in their 1st year ?”  Well … yes !  Trinity Western Men, with a record of 8-14, tied for 6th in 2000-01, their inaugural CIS season.  They won the spot in a ‘tie breaker’, and lost in the 1st round, 2-0 to Simon Fraser.
  • The Calgary Dinos Women’s team, 9-9 and playing the 1st place, 15-3 Huskies,  look to be firmly in 7th spot for the playoffs, and would travel to the #5 Pioneer team … (Winnipeg, Regina, Victoria ?) for a play-in round best of 3 next weekend.
  • The Mt. Royal (Men’s) Cougars now depend on Fraser Valley to beat Thompson Rivers twice, and they need to take care of business themselves by sweeping the MacEwan Griffins who visit Jack Kenyon Court for the final 2 games on the schedule. If the chips fall for the Cougars, MRU and TRU would be tied at 10-10, and were 2-2 with each other in League play.  The tie breaker for 3rd spot would be Mt. Royal’s win over UFV on Feb. 1.  The 3rd Explorer team hosts a play-in series (best of 3) vs the 6th place Pioneer squad.

UNBC Stake Claim on 2nd


T’Wolves Ravage Home-town Heat

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UNBC Timberwolves 86  at                    UBC-Okanagan Heat 56 –  UNBC took a big step towards claiming the 2nd spot in the Explorer Division with a convincing Thursday win at UBC-Okanagan. The Wolves, now 11-8, dominate  with balanced scoring and a very strong floor game on offense, with only 8 turnovers against 18 by the home team.  UNBC’s defense effectively shuts off the UBC-O attack, and limits Heat shooters to just 35% from the floor vs 48% for the ‘T’Wolves. Francko Kouagnia led with 18 points / 9 rebounds, while Mitch Howden, a 6-5, 2nd year forward from Abbotsford, came off the bench for 16 points in just 13 minutes of play. Mitch Goodwin was the top scorer for Okanagan with 16 points, including 3/4 from outside. Box Score


Overtime –

Canada West Women’s Standings –

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  • Rob Poole, MacEwan U. Women’s Coach, “With the two divisions, looking at who

    It’s no surprise that Coach Rob Poole guided MacEwan to the playoffs in their 1st season in CW.

    we were going to be playing, we knew that we had a legitimate shot to be in the top three, because we’re bringing quite a competitive (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) team,” said coach Poole, whose Griffins won the ACAC championship last year and finished third at CCAA nationals.  With Poole, a highly regarded long-time  high school coach at Harry Ainlay, Edmonton,  the Griffs had a much better shot at success, we think.    From an Edmonton Sun article by Brian Swane.


  • The Calgary Dinos Women’s team, 9-9 and playing the 1st place, 15-3 Huskies,  look to be firmly in 7th spot for the playoffs, and would travel to the #5 Pioneer team … (Winnipeg, Regina, Victoria ?) for a play-in round best of 3 next weekend.
  • The Mt. Royal (Men’s) Cougars now depend on Fraser Valley to beat Thompson Rivers twice, and they need to take care of business themselves by sweeping the MacEwan Griffins who visit Jack Kenyon Court for the final 2 games on the schedule. If the chips fall for the Cougars, MRU and TRU would be tied at 10-10, and were 2-2 with each other in League play.  The tie breaker for 3rd spot would be Mt. Royal’s win over UFV on Feb. 1.  The 3rd Explorer team hosts a play-in series (best of 3) vs the 6th place Pioneer squad.

Explorer Race is Still On


Final League Games Crucial for ‘Pack, T’Wolves, and Cougars

Francko Kouagnia and his UNBC Timberwolves will be reaching for 2nd place this weekend vs Okanagan.

Francko Kouagnia and his UNBC Timberwolves will be reaching for 2nd place this weekend vs Okanagan.

While the Pioneer Division has all 7 play-off qualifiers finalized before the weekend’s play, the 6-team Explorer loop still has 3 teams vying for 2nd and 3rd behind the runaway UFV train.  UNBC starts tonight in Kelowna with 2 games against the cellar-dwelling UBC-O Heat, but Coach Peter Guarasci’ youthful Okanagan squad have shown they have made progress.  The T’Wolves’ big men, Devin McMurtry and Francko Kouagnia,  may be the difference in this series.

Thompson Rivers look to be without their star forward, Josh Wolfram, and are hand-cuffed on offense and on the boards as a result.  There’s no doubt that, at their best, UFV should take both games in Abbotsford, and, if that happens, TRU is in jeopardy of missing out on the post-season. Mt. Royal has to have a sweep on their home floor against the MacEwan Griffins if they are to get to 10-10, and possibly tie TRU and get 3rd on a tie beaker.

In the Pioneer, we have the 7th spot decided, and it will be the Manitoba Bisons, who will, after playing at UBC this week, wait and see where they go to play that 1st round series against the Pioneer #5 team. The 1 through 6 spots are up in the air, and with upsets a possibility, it may be smart not to do too much prognostication. But … Saskatchewan and UVic have the best chance of securing the top 2 spots, if they don’t stumble against Calgary or TWU respectively. Alberta, UBC, and Winnipeg will be in as well, with places to be  determined by weekend game results.


This Week in Canada West –

Thursday /Friday  the T’Wolves try and finish strong –  

UNBC Timberwolves (10-8)  at UBC-Okanagan Heat (3-15) –  The Wolves are aiming for 2nd in the Explorer Division and a bye to the round of 8 in Canada West playoffs, but beware the home-town Heat, who are coming on of late.  2nd game is Friday in Kelowna again.

Friday /Saturday  in the Pioneer Division –

Can Matt Letkeman and the Calgary Dinos get a win at Saskatchewan?

Can Matt Letkeman and the Calgary Dinos get a win at Saskatchewan?

Calgary Dinos (12-6)  at Saskatchewan Huskies (13-5) – The Huskies are very tough at home, and Calgary has just 1 win in 12 games vs Sask.  An upset is not impossible, but the odds say sweep for the Sled Dogs.

Regina Cougars (7-11)  at Winnipeg Wesmen (11-7) –  The Wesmen have won 5 straight vs the green Cougs, but Winnipeg has to be rattled by their loss at TWU last Saturday. Only if Regina can take advantage, which they haven’t, most recently.

Lethbridge Pronghorns (7-11)  at Alberta Golden Bears (12-6) – Alberta hasn’t lost a home game to Lethbridge since 2006.  The Bears are hot, and the ‘Horns are 2-6 since early January.  Bears sweep.

Manitoba Bisons (9-9)  at UBC Thunderbirds (12-6) – 2001 was the last win by the Herd over the ‘Birds, and U of M goes in on a 5 – game slide.  UBC gets will want to guarantee a playoff series on home court.

Trinity Western Spartans (2-16)  at Victoria Vikes (13-5) – The  win on Saturday was nice for the departing Coach Scott Allen at TWU, but the Vikes are playing the last 2 games ever at MacKinnon Gym.  History demands a pair of UVic wins.


And, in the other  Explorer Division games –

Awet Abraha (L) and Deng Awak  will have to be sharp for MRU to beat the MacEwan Griffins.

Awet Abraha (L) and Deng Awak will have to be sharp for MRU to beat the MacEwan Griffins.

MacEwan Griffins (7-11) at  Mt. Royal Cougars (8-10) – These 2 teams are very well matched, and you have to respect the Griffins showing in their 1st Canada West season .  Mt. Royal can make the playoffs with 2 wins, and they look better over the last 2 weeks. Their guards will need to make good decisions at the offensive end.

Thompson R. Wolf Pack (10-8)  at Fraser Valley Cascades (16-2) –  We’re not sure about the status of TRU’s Josh Wolfram, who has missed with injury since Jan. 30, and obviously that is a huge negative factor for their chances .  Fraser Valley, in ‘full battle readiness’ should finish with 2 home wins to get set for the playoffs.


 CIS Scores from the East –

Dalhousie 84  St. FX 70 – this puts X on the ‘endangered list for the AUS Tournament’.

St. Mary’s 78  Acadia 73

#3 Ryerson 104  Toronto 68 – no prisoners taken there !

Brock 62  Guelph  55

Up – coming –

#8 UNB at St. FX,  Laval at UQAM, Concordia at Bishop’s,   #1 Carleton at Queen’s ,  #5 Windsor at Algoma, #2 Ottawa at York, Nipissing at Waterloo, Laurentian at Laurier


Extra Spot in Nationals Almost a ‘Lock’ for the OUA 

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Carleton jumps to #1, and we await the next meeting of the ‘Ponies’ and the ‘Blackbirds’  in the playoffs.

Saskatchewan loses and drops back to #6, while Alberta and UBC are in at #10, #9 with impressive wins over the past couple of months. Calgary disappears with their loss to Alberta, as does UFV as they drop 2 of 4 games.

The OUA look like getting 4 teams in Nationals, and the real drama will be for all other Leagues to see who wins their way to Toronto (Ryerson) for the CIS Final 8. One team from the Atlantic – It looks like UPEI and UNB, but their tournament format allows for ‘sudden victory’ by a hot under-dog.

Quebec plays it’s Final 4 at Bishop’s, and that may give the Gaiters the upper-hand in a very tightly -bunched field. One team to the Final 8 for them as well.

Canada West will get 2 teams, with a minuscule shot at a 3rd via wildcard, but that seems far-fetched.  The Huskies and Vikes have the best chance to host the Final 4, as the top-seed, but the predictability has been lower this season than in many years past.

Three All-Star Teams


 Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is our pick for Canada West's Most Outstanding Player.

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is our pick for Canada West’s Most Outstanding Player.


Eccentric All-Star Voting – 

The Canada West coaches will be making nominations for individual awards this week, we believe, and the winners will be announced as we move toward the Final 4 in March.Unknown

“ For fairness when there is no inter-lock and one division is larger than another, there is a weighted ranking system for coaches voting on Canada West All-Stars.” (Excerpt from the CW operations manual)  Ergo :  Each vote and ranking point from the coaches in the Pioneer division this year will be worth 6/11 or .545, while the Explorer coaches’ votes are worth 1.0 .

The top 1 to 5 All-star vote getters from the nominees will be the first team, 6-10 will be the 2nd team, and, for the first time, the 11-15 will make up a 3rd all-star team.  The player receiving the most votes in the All-star process is automatically the winner of the Canada West Outstanding Player of the Year.

(Of course, we might contend that a stand-out performer in the Pioneer has played against tougher competition than those nominated from the Explorer.  Opinion may vary here ….  )


Canada West – Individual Awards –  (Our own take)

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One Game – Possible Re-Shuffle in the Pioneer

Can Ben Baker and the Huskies get a sweep vs the Dinos , and hold on to first ?

Can Ben Baker and the Huskies get a sweep vs the Dinos , and hold on to first ?

By simply picking the favourites to sweep at home this week, we have the order of finish in the Pioneer Division determined as –

1st) Saskatchewan – 15-5 …  2nd) Victoria – 15-5 … 3rd) UBC – 14-6 … 4th) Alberta – 14-6 … 5th) Winnipeg – 13-7 … 6th) Calgary – 12-8 …  7th) Manitoba  … 9-11

Just for entertainment … let’s suppose the Calgary Dinos win a game at Saskatoon this week.  (Everyone else does what we suggested they might –  Bears, T-Birds, Vikes, Wesmen all sweep at home).  That game changes things !

  •   Vikes get 1st  with a 15-5 record
  • We have Alberta, Saskatchewan, and UBC are  all tied at 14-6 , and Calgary at 13-7, tied with Wpg
  • 1st tie break – games within that group –
    • UBC is +2 … they beat Sask twice, and split with Bears  … T-Birds finish 2nd !
    • Bears  are ‘0’ … they split with UBC, Sask,  … Alberta is 3rd
    • Huskies are -2 …  ‘Dogs lost 2 to UBC, split with Bears … U of S are 4th !
    • In the other tie, Calgary swept Wpg, so the Dinos are 5th and the Wesmen 6th.

It could happen ….


Overtime –

V Vike

  • The Victoria Vikes close out the historic McKinnon Gym as their playing site, as they  host the Trinity Western Spartans this Friday and Saturday.  The teams are scheduled to move to the new Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) starting next Fall. There will be a celebration of Vikes history at McKinnon / Ken and Kathy Shields Court on Saturday, Feb. 14 .
  • Coach Scott Allen, who has had little to celebrate with his TWU Spartans this season, after Saturday’s home win over Winnipeg, “Sometimes you forget how good it feels to win.  It seems like every interview we’ve done this year, I’ve said the same thing: ‘The guys work hard enough to deserve a win, but we didn’t get it done.’ It’s pretty fitting to win the last game at home.” –  (From The Langley Advance )
  • Cougars Coach Marc Dobell … staying low.

    Cougars Coach Marc Dobell … staying low.

  •   Sorry … we left Oluwafemi Ogun, post man at Mt. Royal, off their 5th year grads list !  Good luck, Femi !
  •   Most coaches stand and move along the sideline.    What’s the deal with the low-profile crouching by MRU head man, Marc Dobell ?  What about the towel?  The affable Dobell responds – “When I walked back and forth in front of the bench, and something happened on the court, I would ask my guys on the bench, “Wasn’t that a travel?”  or something. They’d say they couldn’t see it, because I was in the way.  So I crouch.”  And the towel ?   “ It’s only used at home games.  Mt. Royal’s ‘austerity program’ has our gym ‘below freezing’ … I use it to keep my hands warm.”  And there you have it … we get to the vital matters during this playoff run !

Shooting Stars and Steady Forces

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Top Teams  –  Alberta, UNBC, Trinity and BrandonBears 3 copy

There has been so much back and forth in Canada West play this past few weeks, as the teams scramble towards the finish line in efforts to secure a playoff spot.  Last weekend alone we had all 4 of our CIS Top 10 teams drop a game.  Saskatchewan and Victoria took turns in road losses at Lethbridge and Brandon, then Fraser Valley were beaten for the 2nd time in 2 weeks, this time by the UNBC Timberwolves in Prince George.

The 4th ranked team to lose was Calgary, and they will likely be unranked as a result.  Our team of the week, and for the past few weeks has to be the resurgent Alberta Golden Bears, who have won 6 in a row including the Thursday win at Calgary, and have 2 home games vs Lethbridge to finish up League play.  Picked as a top contender back in the Fall, the Bears have suffered through injuries and some inconsistent play earlier on, but look like a tough out in the upcoming championship tournament.

UNBC copy

Our other teams getting a nod this week include the Northern B.C. T’Wolves, who look like a playoff team after winning 7 of 10 games since play resumed in January.  With a rugged pair of rebounding forwards in Francko Kouagnia and Devin McMurtry, plus a scrappy perimeter group playing more competitively each week, they could well get a 1st round bye for the cross-over playoffs.

Bobcats and Spartans fighting for wins this past week.

Bobcats and Spartans fighting for wins this past week.

When you lose almost every game over a 4 1/2 month schedule, you certainly have to dig deep to find the will to compete right through season’s end.  The wins by Brandon and Trinity Western this past weekend are a tribute to that courage and persistence.  Congratulations to Coach Scott Allen, who has tried to maintain a constructive, supportive attitude through a most difficult set of circumstances as he finishes up his career at TWU.  Also to Coach Gil Cheung, a leader as a player on championship teams at Brandon, and a coach who burns to get the ‘Cats back to the top. But mostly, as these coaches would suggest, congratulations to the players on these two teams for keeping faith with your teammates, and bringing your best against playoff teams, Victoria and Winnipeg.


 Top Players in Canada West Last Weekend –  

30 point club – The shooting stars !

35 points from Deng Awak sparks MRU road win

35 points from Deng Awak sparks MRU road win

 Deng Awak, Mt. Royal –  His 35 point /9 rebs led the Cougs to a road win at TRU … he came back next night with a 15 pt/ 12 rebound effort.

Denny McDonald, Trinity Western –  The 5th year senior celebrates his senior night in style, with 33 points/10 boards, which leads the down-trodden Spartans to win #2 in a long, tough campaign … in the Friday game he had 16 pts/7 rebs

Kenonte Ramsay, Brandon – The Bobcats were playing their final game of the season, and Ramsay, his last CIS game in a 5 year career … he hits for 31 pts, 5 rebs, 5 steals as the ‘Cats shock UVic for only their 2nd win in a 2-18 slog.

Rob Olsen, Lethbridge – Hosting the top team in the Pioneer, Olsen has a 30 point/ 8 assist and 6 steal  masterpiece, leading the ‘Horns to a home win.

Chris McLaughlin, Victoria –  The big 5th year post has yet another commanding performance, with 32 points and 17 rebounds, as the Vikes get a Friday win at Brandon.

Conor Morgan, UBC –  The 6-9 wing man gets an impressive 30 point and 12 rebound double as the T-Birds win their 2nd of the weekend in Regina.

The all-around team leaders –

Ben Baker, the constant factor for the Huskies.

Ben Baker, the constant factor for the Huskies.

Ben Baker, Saskatchewan – The 5th year guard totals 30 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 8 steals in the ‘Dogs 2 game set at Lethbridge.

Marcus Tibbs, Victoria –  The smooth and speedy guard tallies 2 game stats showing 36 points, 8 rebs, and 15 assists.

Francko Kouagnia, UNBC –  The man in the middle for the T’Wolves is on patrol every game –  He registers 2 double-doubles in totaling  43 points and 24 rebounds as his ‘Wolves get a home split with the UFV Cascades.


Five Years Make a Significant Impact on Players’ Lives

 Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson has had a great career at UC.

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson has had a great career at UC.

This is the time in the season where schools are honouring the accomplishments of their 5th year seniors, and throughout the League and the whole CIS their coaches reflect on the impact the experience has made on these players, and also their influence on the coach and the many teammates who have been with them for part of that journey.  Most of these grads will, indeed, be earning a degree (some more than one), and will be moving along to very different chapters in their lives.

The grads have grown through the sacrifices they made to develop the skills for the game, but also successfully carry an academic load. The travel and the contact with so many people involved with the Canadian University athletic program have enriched their school career, and the extra effort they’ve expended to be part of and to improve the team experience will stay with them forever.

Congratulations to all the 5th year grads across Canada West and the whole CIS, and to all the people who contributed to their university athletic career.  Well done everyone !

The ‘Class of 2015’ –

Bears' Ken Otieno  has played in a 'Golden era'.

Bears’ Ken Otieno has played in a ‘Golden era’.

Alberta – Ken Otieno, Joel Friesen

Brandon – Kenonte Ramsay

Calgary – Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson,  Phil Barndt

Lethbridge – none

Manitoba – Stephen Walton, Wyatt Anders, Amir Ali

Regina – none

Saskatchewan – Ben Baker, Dadrian Collins, Andrew Henry, Connor Burns

Trinity Western – Justin Bakuteka, Denny McDonald

UBC –  Tommy Nixon, Tonner Jackson, Brylle Kamen, Andrew McGuinness

UBC's Tommy Nixon has paced a strong surge by the 'Birds.

UBC’s Tommy Nixon has paced a strong surge by the ‘Birds.

Victoria – Chris McLaughlin, Jeremy Leonard-Smith

Winnipeg – Jordan Clennon, Mark McNee, Travis Krahn

Fraser Valley – Jasper Moedt, Kadeem Willis

MacEwan – Lee Danderfer

Mt. Royal – Deng Awak,  Awet Abraha, Kyle Wilson

UBC-Okanagan – none

Thompson Rivers – Brett Rouault, Brett Parker, Tallon Milne

U. Northern B.C. – Francko Kouagnia, Devin McMurtry, Jeff Chu

(Editor’s note – We are always struck by the quality of these grads, not only on the court, but in the classroom, the community, and as leaders for their team and school.  Many, or most of these guys are ‘heart and soul’ kind of team members !  Big shoes to fill ….)

Bobcats and Spartans Play Spoiler



Huskies Rebound While the Vikes are Surprised in Brandon

Ben Baker , Huskies all-purpose guard .

Ben Baker , Huskies all-purpose guard .

Saskatchewan Huskies  74  at Lethbridge Pronghorns 67 –  The Huskies (13-5) get the split, and are again in a 1st place tie with UVic after the weekend’s play.  Matt Forbes scores 21 points for U of S, who shoot just 36% as a team, but are good on 21/30 free throws vs 11/15 for Lethbridge. Ben Baker scores 15 / grabs 7 rebs/ 6 steals  to further spark the winners. Lethbridge (7-11) are not nearly as hot from outside tonight (8/26 = 31%), and are hurt by the ‘Dogs more aggressive offensive style. Brandon Brine has a sharp game for U of L, with 25 points  and 8 rebounds, and Rob Olsen adds 16 points and 5 assists.  Box Score

at Brandon Bobcats  77    Victoria Vikes  76   –  In their last game of an otherwise Br Bobcatsdisappointing season, the Bobcats  capture just their 2nd of 20 contests by knocking off the top team in the Division, the #7 ranked Vikes (13-5). Overcoming an 8 point deficit in the last 6 minutes, Brandon (2-18) storms back on  a 9-0 run and holds on with a late lay-up by guard, Mikee Dosado. Kenonte Ramsay scored 31 points/ 5 rebs/ 5 steals to do the major damage for BU, with 18 points, 10 boards and 4 steals by Earl Thompson Jr.  aiding the cause. The Vikes shot 48% from the floor, and that included 11/22 from outside the arc, but 19 turnovers hurt them, then their offense shut down at the wrong time. Chris McLaughlin, getting extra defensive attention, was held to 14 points/ 7 rebs., while Mack Roth, with 20 points and Marcus Tibbs with 17 plus 11 boards led UVic.   Box Score 

UBC Thunderbirds  84  at Regina Cougars  69  –  The T-Birds (12-6) start and finish strong to get the sweep over the Cougars, with a 44-32 half-time lead, then a 24-19 final quarter.  The keys to the win were the huge free throw advantage of 22/34 for UBC to just 6/10 for Regina, and the ‘Birds’ 51-32 rebounding domination. Conor Morgan scores a season-high 30 points for UBC, with 12 rebounds, and Kedar Wright and Tommy Nixon score 13 apiece.  Regina (7-11) has Brandon Tull with 25.

TWU copyat Trinity Western  97  Winnipeg Wesmen  84 –  In a complete reversal of the form sheet, TWU runs up the 90+ points on offense rather than giving them at the other end.  The Wesmen defense is taxed by 53 % shooting from the Spartans, led by a virtuoso 33 point / 10 rebound display from 5th year forward, Denny McDonald in his final game in Langley. His fellow senior, Justin Bakuteka,  adds  18/ 6 rebs/ 4 assts/ 4 steals, giving Trinity just their 2nd win of the season. Winnipeg shoots 52% themselves, but are beaten 35-23 off the glass, and hit 3 fewer treys. The Ws get 20 points from Jelane Pryce, and 17  by  rookie, Denzel Lynch-Blair. Box Score

Francko Kouagnia leads UNBC to win over Fraser Valley.

Francko Kouagnia leads UNBC to win over Fraser Valley.

at UNBC Timberwolves 69  Fraser Valley Cascades  57 –  The Cascades absorb their 2nd loss  in as many weeks, as UNBC shuts the visitors down to 7 points in the 4th quarter and UFV is just 34% from the floor.  UNBC gets 4 players in double figures, with 17 points/ 12 boards by Francko Kouagnia, and 12 points / 13 rebounds from big Devin McMurtry. Kadeem Willis leads UFV with 19 points/ 7 boards, while Kevon Parchment registers 10 pts/ 8 rebs. UFV commits 20 turnovers and lose the rebounding 41-40, as they are now 16-2 on the season. The Timberwolves are 10-8, and have a shot at  2nd spot in the Explorer, as they finish on the road at UBC-O next week. Box Score



at Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  66  Mt. Royal Cougars  62  –  TRU (10-8) fights back to get the split led by 5th year wing, Brett Rouault with 21 points and 6 rebounds, and Reese Pribilsky’s 10 points/ 10 boards / 5 assists. Neither team shot well, as defense dominated both ways. MRU get 19 pts/ 10 rebs.  from a hard-working James Lefebvre, and with Deng Awak adding 15 points / 12 boards; 20 turnovers limited the Cougars shot at the win in this one.  Josh Wolfram, their high scorer and big rebounder, not in the line-up for the ‘Pack, as he sits with an ankle injury.  It comes down to the final week for these 2 teams for the last playoff spot, it would appear.  Mt. Royal (8-10) at home to MacEwan, and TRU on the road in Abbotsford against the suddenly vulnerable UFV Cascades.  Box Score

 at  MacEwan Griffins 62  UBC-Okanagan Heat 59    –   The visiting Heat (3-15) give up a 45-37 lead after 3/4s, as a very spotty shooting night (29% from the floor) negates their chances for the W.  MacEwan score 25 points in the final frame, after struggling for the opening 30 minutes. Ryan May has 15 and Denzel james 14 for the Griffins. Mitch Goodwin has a game-high 22 points plus 6 rebs and 4 assts for UBC-O. Box Score


CIS Games from the East –

 AUS –  UPEI  104  at # 8 New Brunswick  95 ,  Saint Mary’s  92 Memorial 79 ,  Cape Breton 77  Dalhousie  71

Quebec – Concordia  51  McGill  44  ,   UQAM  71  Bishop’s  64

 Ontario at #3 Ryerson 80 Lakehead 65 ,  at #4 McMaster 71  Queen’s  49 ,  #6 Windsor 78 at Nipissing , Western  87 Laurentian 80 ,  at Toronto 73 Guelph 71 ,   Algoma 85  Laurier  82 ,  York  101 Brock  89


Overtime –

Big Senior Night game for TRU's Brett Rouault.

Big Senior Night game for TRU’s Brett Rouault.

  • This story  from Larry Read , the Sports Information Officer at Thompson Rivers, really demonstrates the special pride the schools,  teams, and coaches take in the graduation of their 5th year seniors. TRU has 3 players finishing out their CIS careers, Brett Rouault, Brett Parker, and Tallon Milne. Coach Scott Clark expresses his appreciation for their contributions to the growth of the Wolf Pack program, and for his special time with them.
  • Our L.A. correspondent, David Wells tells us that Kyle Peterson, the combo guard from Edmonton, who played 2 successful seasons with the Victoria Vikes then transferred to Lethbridge, has decided to eschew the opportunity to play for the ‘Horns.  Peterson has, apparently, chosen to serve a 2 year church mission in the Caribbean, so Coach Mike Hansen will renew his search for point guard talent.