Road Teams Look Good In Opening Games

 

 

Bisons shock UBC,  ‘Pack play Dinos tough, and Winnipeg scares the Huskies

3 of the 4 Canada West  1/4 Finals see the visiting underdogs play inspired games on the opening night.  The Manitoba Bisons go and hand the #2 UBC Thunderbirds their only home loss so far this season.  The ‘road warrior’ TRU Wolves gave as much as they could before bowing by a slim margin to UC. #9  Saskatchewan needed some last minute heroics to subdue a fired up Winnipeg team by the single point.

  Manitoba 79   #2 UBC  75 –   The Bisons plant the seed of doubt, with some good clutch shooting and very strong team rebounding (42-38 over UBC) .  Faced with a looming comeback bid from the home side, and seeing their 10 point lead disappear with 3 minutes left, the Herd circle and hold their ground.  The last of 4 treys from A. J. Basi and 5 free throws from Ilarion Bonhomme seal the deal.

UBC may have lost this for a number of reasons, but their free throw average of 52% (13/25)  wasn’t nearly up to the 22/30 = 73% for Manitoba. Basi leads the Brown with 22 points, while Keith Omoerah adds a nifty double of 17 pts/ 15 boards.  Bonhomme controls the attack at key times , as he counts 12 points/ 6 rebs/ 3 assists.

The T-Birds appear poised in the 4th, but just did not have their rhythm in the last 2 minutes, with shot opportunities falling off the rim. Jordan Jensen-Whyte 22 points led UBC, with Will Ondrik adding 16 / 5 rebs. Conor Morgan was not his usual self, tallying just 12 points on 5/16 from the floor.   Box Score     Game 2 on Friday is at 7 pm Pacific.

 

David Kapinga is the Calgary Dinos’ defensive ace   photo – David Moll

#6  Calgary  75  Thompson Rivers 71 –  A tale of 2 halves, as the Wolf Pack recover from a 19 point 1st half deficit, and win the 3rd quarter 24 – 9, finishing the 2nd half with 47.  Calgary shoot 44% to start the game, but go ice cold in the 2nd half, finishing at 35%. TRU are 34% after 20 minutes, but hit 53% in the last 20 minutes.

Volodymyr Iegorov has a monster game for the Orange, scoring 27 and grabbing 15 rebounds, and dealing out 6 assists.  Derek Rhodes with 14 pts and Trent Monkman on 10 help the Thompson Rivers cause.  The Dinos secured the win with a stronger 4th quarter, with key hoops from guards Jhony Verrone and David Kapinga down the stretch.

Thomas Cooper with 21 points/ 10 rebounds/7 assists led the UC attack, backed by Kapinga’s 19 pts/ 6 rebounds/ 6 steals.  The Dinos get all they could have expected from a Thompson Rivers squad whose busy play-off travel schedule  we have chronicled.  The Wolves fought extremely hard to get back in, and came close to tying it up in the last minutes. Box Score    Game time for the 2nd in the best of 3 is 7 pm Friday.

 

#9  Saskatchewan 85  Winnipeg 84 –  The Huskies pull out the win, as they come off the ropes in the final 2 minutes, courtesy of a clutch trey from Trevor Severinski to tie it at 81, then a dunk and a highlight reel shot block from Shane Osayande. The teams are back and forth in this one, with multiple lead changes in the final 20 minutes. U of S shooters hit 51%, as Osayande has another huge night as their leader;  the 6-6 post man scores 26 points / 15 rebounds/ and 5 big blocks. Lawrence Moore with 15 pts/ 7 rebs, and Trevor Severinski hitting 13 pts on 4 of 8 from 3 point range are also key to this win.

The Ws looked like winners  at times in the final 10 minutes, but could not quite get the horses in the corral. Their impressive rookie, Narcisse Ambanza, leads the Wesmen with 24 pts, aided by Jamar Farley’s 16 on 4/6 from outside. Sean Tarver plays his 6th man role nicely, scoring 18 points/ 4 rebounds.   Denzel Lynch-Blair, their high scoring guard is absent for Winnipeg in this game, and not sure why?

 Box Score    Game 2 is at 8:30 again on Friday.

 

#8 Alberta 80  Lethbridge 59 –  Not close in this one, as the Bears’ defense make the

Mamadou Gueye leads the Bears over UL  photo – Bears Athletics

Pronghorns attack largely ineffective.  Lethbridge are a woeful 27% FG on the night, and their floor leader, Dejon Burdeaux leaves the game mid-way in the final frame with just 7 points.

Alberta are led by wing man, Mamadou Gueye, with a solid double-double of 20 points/ 10 rebounds. Geoff Pippus hits 4/6 from outside for 14 points, and Dwan Williams adds 12 pts/ 5 rebs.   Box Score     Game 2 is Friday at 8 pm Mountain.

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In the East –  Wednesday

Ontario Play-offs – Round 1 –  Nipissing 77 Queens 74 ,  Laurentian 88  Laurier 72 ,  Toronto 82  Lakehead 61,  McMaster 71  Windsor  63

Saturday’s Quarter Finals –  at #1 Carleton  McMaster , at #3 Ryerson  Nipissing, at #4 Ottawa Laurentian,  at #5 Brock  Toronto

 Quebec –  Concordia 79  Bishops 76, and on Thursday, it was McGill 62  Laval 45

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Overtime –

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals –  at  #3 Regina 82 Trinity W 59,  at #6 Winnipeg 82  Victoria 70, at # 8 Saskatchewan 78 Fraser V. 55 ,  at Alberta 62  UBC 58  … all the home sides come out on top.
  • “We’re not celebrating yet”, said Manitoba Bisons Coach Kirby Schepp  after his team’s big game 1 win at UBC.  “This was a physical game, and our guys hung in there when it counted.”
  • It was a last second desperation heave by Winnipeg’s Jamar Farley that closed the score to just 1 point at the buzzer, but it was a sobering sight to see what might have been in this very tight game.

Long Road for 1st Round Play-off Teams

 

 

 4  Competitive Series in 1st Round of Playoffs

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

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

Here are the match-ups –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Overtime –

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

 

 

All the Chips on the Table in These 2 Series

 

 

Two Key Series To Watch –

Regina’s Alex Igual will be a key figure in the series vs TRU            photo-  Regina Athletics

 

Thompson Rivers  (8-10) at Regina  (7-11) –  A sweep would be ‘party time’ for either squad, and guarantee a ply-off berth, and a split would allow TRU to move on, but potentially put Regina in a mathematical calculation for the last spot.  Regina have wins over Saskatchewan and Calgary, but lost to some non-playoff teams.  The Cougars have suffered through some key injuries to 5th year guard, Aaron McGowan, and 5th year post, Stephen Shields, neither of whom have been available down the 2nd semester stretch.  They are the more experienced crew in this match-up, and may have the leaders to get them a couple of big home wins.  TRU has lone senior, Volodymyr Iegorov, but also tough vets like 4th year Luke Morris, and 3rd year Mike Rouault.  Younger players like guardsTrent Monkman and Madhu McConnell are being asked to step up and make an impact.

Winnipeg (12-6)  at Victoria (7-11) –  The results here are crucial for the Vikes, as they try and grab a post-season spot, but will also effect the future of several other squads (Regina, TRU, MRU, MacEwan)  potentially.  Winnipeg will be guarding, somewhat, against complacency, or maybe just looking a week ahead to 1st round play-offs.  Both these teams are relatively young, with 1 graduating player each –  high scorer, Grant Sitton for the Vikes, and skilled guard,  Jamar Farley for the Ws.   Winnipeg has more depth on the perimeter, and ‘play small’ with big Ryan Oirbans surrounded by guards.  The Vikes Sitton is a 6-8 scoring machine, who is dangerous inside and out, and rookie guard Scott Kellum has been playing very well of late.  UVic has to have at least 1 win, and the Wesmen will look to tune up for an anticipated home play-off date.

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Scores from the East –

 Waterloo 96 at Western Ont 77 – There was a day  … quite some time ago … when Coach Don McCrae’s Warriors won 67%  of their ‘CIS’ games between 1971 and 1992.   Waterloo , under 2nd year Coach Justin Gunther are now threatening to make the OUA play-offs, after years of struggle.  They are 7-11, after going 1-19 last season.

at Windsor (11-9)  89 Laurier (10-10)  86 –   There are 2 sides to a dramatic, game- winning half-court  shot, such as the one the Lancers’ Mike Rocca tossed in last night in Windsor.  The winners are hugging, laughing, whooping, and pinching themselves.  The Hawks are left with the dazed stares, and a permanent mental scar.  (Do we over-state?)  Maybe, for some.  But, sadly, the losing can be every bit or more memorable than the winning.

Tonight Quebec – UQAM  at  #8 McGill

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Overtime –

5th year UBC-O all-time scoring leader, Mitch Goodwin

  •   Mitch Goodwin, 6-2 shooting guard at UBC-O, unfortunately spent most of the 2nd half of his 5th year watching from the sidelines.  Goodwin, who is the school’s all-time leader in games played (93), and points scored (1204), struggled with injuries later in his career, and was forced to stop playing all together in mid-January. Goodwin, the former Kelowna High School star, and fellow 5th year vet, Cam Friesen, a 6-4 forward from Abbotsford, will be honoured at a Senior Night ceremony prior to UBC-O’s home game vs Fraser Valley on Saturday.   (From Cary Mellon, UBC-O Sports Information Director)
  • We have a flurry of comments following our last 2 posts, most of which relate to the new League structure, and the vicissitudes (twists and turns) of the broad-stroke RPI solution.  One of our favourite contributors / coaches, ‘Tyler from The Herd’ clarifies in one response to  the question, ‘Could UBC have been 20-0, and still not been 1st?’  Tyler tells us , “Absolutely. If we use the default settings on the RPI calculator, UBC would still be the #2 seed with a 0.6118 RPI, behind Alberta’s 0.6210 at 15-5.”    Beauty!
  • Another fan notes, emphatically, that UBC did, in fact , lose a game … to Saskatchewan, 95-78, on January 6, in Saskatoon.  So, let’s not get ahead of ourselves with a coronation of the T’Birds prior to the play-offs being completed.  After all … the Huskies lost to Regina, UFV, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Alberta.  We could go on, but the point is … on any given night, the result is in some doubt.
  • Carter Millar, 6-4 rookie forward , Regina Cougars, on what it’s like to play in Canada West,  “I love it,” he says. “The skill level (in Canada West basketball) is insane. It’s probably the most exciting thing that I’ve ever been a part of and I’m so glad that I’ve been able to have this opportunity. I’ve wanted to do this ever since I started watching basketball as a kid,” he says. “You play at halftime (of Cougars games) in the games in grade 4 or 5 and it’s, ‘Who are those guys? I want to be that guy when I grow up.’    From ROB VANSTONE, REGINA LEADER-POST, REGINA LEADER~POST
  • As the old TV ads from NCAA sport pointed out, university basketball players will be turning pro in something other than hoops.  The 5th year celebrations happening all through February at U-Sports schools are about the many achievements of these young people.  They include academic honours, career development, and the positive experience of being a team member.  Our very best to all 5th year student athletes.  The very best to all of you !

The 2 Hottest Teams in Canada West

 

 

 

Thunderbirds and Bisons both on a roll in League play 

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

The 2 hottest teams in Canada West continued to reel off the wins this past weekend. The UBC Thunderbirds, as expected, swept their 2 game set with the Brandon Bobcats in Vancouver, and the ‘Birds are now 7 wins in a row, 2nd only to the Manitoba Bisons in winning streaks, with the Herd up to 8.  Manitoba got a scare on Friday at home against the UNBC T’Wolves , but pulled it out, and won more easily on Saturday.

But, in this ‘Year of the RPI Monster’, both teams lost ground in the ‘order of finish’ race.  Last week the T’Birds stood at .6559 , but dropped .109, still in the top spot for the moment.  The Herd, after their 2 wins, fell 149 points from last week’s .5842.  (I guess you just play your best, and let the chips fall …. ).  UBC looks to be destined for the 3rd or 4th play-off seed, even at 19-1, while Manitoba are likely 5th in the RPI ordered seeding list.

Both these teams will be ‘tough outs’ in the post-season , and may be good picks for the Final Four.  Our best guess for the hosts may be either the Alberta Golden Bears or the Saskatchewan Huskies, who seem to rise to the top spot as we try various guesses for the results of remaining League games.  The Dogs and GBs meet in saskatoon this coming weekend to decide the issue.

Who else is going well?  The Lethbridge Pronghorns have won 4 straight, and locked up a play-off spot, and have a bye week to marshal their forces before their final week’s appointment vs the Bears in Edmonton.

 

15 League All-Stars will be tough to decide

Shane Osayande, Huskies          photo – Huskies Athletics

Coaches across Canada West are nominating top players for all-star consideration at season’s end.  They have 15 players to select, and we thought we’d look at an expanded number of possible candidates.

Keith Omoerah, Justus Alleyn of Manitoba  … Denzel Lynch-Blair- Winnipeg … Earl Thompson Jr – Brandon … Brandon Tull – Regina … Shane Osayande, Matt Forbes – Saskatchewan … Dejon Burdeaux, Elliott Sentance – Lethbridge … Brett Layton, Josh Ross – Mt. Royal  …  Thomas Cooper, David Kapinga – Calgary … Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, Mamadou Gueye, Alberta … Thadius Galvez – MacEwan … Rhys Elliott – UNBC … Volodymyr Iegorov – Thompson Rivers …  Aldrich Berrios – UBC-Okanagan … Patrick Vandervelden – Trinity Western … Manny Dulay – Fraser Valley … Conor Morgan , Jordan Jensen-Whyte – UBC … Grant Sitton – Victoria

So, there are 25 of the best.  We know we could form a play-off team with 10 who we left off this list, but this is a pretty good crop from which to select.

Top 10 Rookies –

Scott Kellum, UVic import guard

Narcisse Ambanza – Wesmen,   James Wagner – Bisons,  Johneil Johnson –  Reg. Cougars,  Max Eisle – Dinos, Scott Kellum –  Vikes,  Brett Warren  – Pronghorns, Craig Martin- MRU Cougars, Trent Monkman – Wolf Pack, Isaiah Familia – T’Birds, Matt Lafontaine – Heat

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92 Years of Refereeing Experience

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

Richard Schear, who lives in Redcliff, AB, began officiating basketball (and, eventually, football) after he had completed his Education degree at University. The 72 year old has been active as a ref now for 48 years, while his taller, much younger side-kick, the irrepressible Art Unsworth, has been a ‘zebra’ for 44 years.  Schear explains why he enjoys officiating …  First, the camaraderie  with the other officials.  Second, it forces him to keep in good physical shape.  Third, being a referee in high school sports, gives Richard a chance to  interact with the youth of today.  “By and large those young people who play high school sports are great kids, they will be the leaders of tomorrow,” says Schear.  Unsworth, a farmer-rancher near Maple Creek, SK, has 2 sons,  Clint (6-10) and Chris (6-8) who both graduated from U. Saskatchewan, having won a Canada West and CIS Championship with the Huskies in 2010.

As well as cheering his boys through high school (Medicine Hat, AB)  and university ball, Art, has been a mentor for many young refs in the latter part of his career. We congratulate these two fine gentlemen on their amazing contribution to the game over the years.

Overtime –  

Coach Steve Burrows         photo –  Regina Leader-Post

  • Regina Cougars head coach Steve Burrows on his team’s effort in topping the Calgary Dinos on Saturday,  “I wish I could say it was something I said or did, but these guys stuck together and they kept on working at it and kept on going,” Burrows said. “A couple of things went our way and we made some shots. It was just that whole thing of believing and trying to stick with what we were doing.”  From a Regina Leader-Post article by Rob Vanstone 
  • Huskies Coach, Barry Rawlyk, celebrated his 100th and 101st Canada West conference wins as head  man for the U of S  team with a two-game sweep at home over the Mount Royal  Cougars. Rawlyk spent the majority of his long coaching career as a high school coach, before taking over at U. Saskatchewan in 2010.  The leading active coach, in his 17th year at UBC is Kevin Hanson with 270 wins in Canada West play.  2nd is Calgary’s Dan Vanhooren, who, over the same 17 years has 201.  3rd – UVic’s Craig Beaucamp with 191 in 13 seasons. 4th – TRU’s Scott Clark, in his 17th year has 179. 5th – Barnaby Craddock of Alberta has 153 in his 12 years at 3 different schools.
  • Derek Wolf plays his final home game at MRU on Saturday.         photo – MRU Athletics

     This , of course, is the time of year for ‘Senior Nights’, as senior players finish their eligibility, and most also finish a degree. The  MRU Cougars graduating players, Brett Layton and Derek Wolf, will be honoured on Saturday night between the 4 pm Women’s game and the 6 pm Men’s contest.  TRU’s big man, Volodymyr Iegorov, plays his last home game this Saturday for the Wolf Pack, and 6 other schools will recognize the accomplishments of their senior grads this weekend.  UFV –  Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon, Winnipeg – Jamar Farley, Brandon – Earl Thompson Jr, Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem, MacEwan-  Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, and Thomas Jereniuk,   Saskatchewan – Matt Forbes, and Trevor Severinski,  UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and Will Ondrik.

 

Key Clashes in Saskatoon, Victoria

 

Saskatchewan Hosts Winnipeg, and Calgary in Victoria for Key Series’

The Winnipeg Wesmen and guard, Jamar Farley, invade Saskatoon this week.

The Winnipeg Wesmen and guard, Jamar Farley, invade Saskatoon this week.

The Winnipeg Wesmen are hoping to carry the 7-0 momentum they have built this past month as they travel West to Saskatoon to face the Saskatchewan Huskies.  The Ws, in the minds of many CIS coaches are be facing their biggest test to date, and Coach Mike Raimbault and his charges hope to repeat their sweep of the U of S from last year.

The 1-1 Dinos are in Victoria to face the 1-1 Vikes, as two other squads with ‘big plans’ match-up on Ken and Kathy Shields Court at the Blue and Gold hued CARSA Centre.  It’s a test of the #4 ranked Dinos’ and the un-ranked Vikes’ ability to pull tgether after key line-up changes for both teams.  The match-ups in our ‘key clashes’ …

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan –  Despite their 7-0 record  this Fall, the Wesmen get no mention in the CIS Top 10 poll.  Last January they got a pair of home wins over these Huskies in Winnipeg, but this road series may prove a bit more rugged. The Ws have skill and depth at guard, with Denzel Lynch-Blair, William Sesay,  Jamar Farley, and import transfer, Sean Tarver.  It remains to be seen if Billy Yaworsky and Ryan Oirbans have enough help up front to hold off a bigger U of S squad.  The Huskies feature Shane Osayande, Trevor Severinski, and Matt Forbes , 6-5 Jaylan Morgan adding another weapon. The U of S guards have to hold their own, then the ‘Dogs may howl.  Our Call –  A split is in order, especially if Winnipeg’s full court defense can be effective.

 

The Vikes and Dinos go at it out on The Island this week.

The Vikes and Dinos go at it out on The Island this week. photo – UVic Athletics

Calgary at Victoria – Two traditionally competitive teams, both in search of a sweep this weekend.  The Dinos and the Vikes had 1 impressive win last week,  and 1 ‘not-so-much’!   Thomas Cooper is a deadly offensive threat for UC, and he has Lars Schleuter, a long range bomber, alongside. The guards are explosively quick.  David Kapinga, Jhony Verrone, and newcomers Max Eisle and Mambi Diawara can be suffocating at the defensive end. Victoria are leaning heavily on 5th year forward, Grant Sitton, for scoring, and he now has Wayne Tucker Jr. (tsf Olds College) and Jake Newman (tsf Lafayette U) for assistance.  There is new depth at the guard spot where  Scott Kellum, JJ Hamel-Carey, and Hassan Abdullahi may prove an effective combo. Our Call –  The best guess might be a split, having seen just that result for the past 2 seasons in League play.


The Original ‘Mad Viking’  … screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-1-55-23-pm

The Calgary Dinos, when they play on The Island this week, should be thankful that they will not be ‘greeted’ by the original ‘Mad Viking’ mascot.  Jim ‘Mother’ Hubbard prowled the court perimeter for Coach Ken Shields and his championship UVic teams of the ’80s.  This was not a rubber axe, and ‘Hubb’ was not a subtle fan!  Opposition players of the day couldn’t help but look over their shoulders to keep an eye on his menacing presence.

Coach Shields remembers ‘only a couple of occasions ‘ when ‘Hubb’ actually did any notable damage with his weapon! One of the great characters in Canada West history.

 


And, the remainder of the Canada West slate for week 2 –

Thurs –      Lethbridge at Mt. Royal –  This is the Cougars’ home opener, and they face a Pronghorns team that has 2 wins from last week.  U of L has some building confidence in 2 import lynch-pins, guard, Dejon Burdeaux, and wing man, Elliott Sentance. The ‘Horns seem to have all their ‘antelopes’ match-fit, and they may have the local talent to compliment the skills of Bordeaux and Sentance.  Zac Overwater and Mike Pierzchala, an LCI and Winston Churchill HS grad,  can be impact players in their own right. MRU were up and down in the pre-season, and there may be some depth concerns, especially on the forward line.  The addition of the multi-talented Josh Ross (tsf Vancouver Island U.) will help, and he should combine nicely with 2nd year all-star forward, Brett Layton.  Guards Derek Wolfe and Glen Yang will have to be sharp if the Cougars are to come out on top.  Our Call –  Lethbridge could sweep, we feel.  MRU will be fighting for a split.

Coach Gil Cheung and his Brandon Bobcats are home to the UBC-O Heat.

Coach Gil Cheung and his Brandon Bobcats are home to the UBC-O Heat.   photo – Brandon Athletics

Friday / Saturday –     UBC-O at Brandon  –  This is a true mystery.  Okanagan travels to Brandon so rarely ( well, actually just once … an 8 point loss in 2014).  The ‘Cats need these wins on home court.  The Heat have some chemistry building with Aldrich Berrios and Mitch Goodwin at guard, but they also need their big men, Ryan Morck and David Manshrek to battle the BU front line.  Those ‘Big ‘Cats’ are led by the strong efforts of Earl Thompson Jr., and the  improving  John Paul, a 6-11 ‘handful’.  Import guard Tyvon Cooper seems to be the scoring guard Brandon needs, as he averaged  17 ppg last week at Alberta.    Our Call –  Who feels comfortable down the stretch?  This is a toss-up on paper, but an edge to the home team.

Thompson Rivers at Manitoba –  The Wolf Pack have a tough task in facing the Herd out in ‘Ft. Garry’.  Manitoba has the fire-power that TRU lost to graduation.  The ‘Pack still have Volodymyr Iegorov, Micheal Rouault, and Jeff Tubbs, but they are a team in the -re-building process.  The Bisons are packed with talented veterans, like Keith Omoerah, AJ Basi, Justus Alleyn, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Jonathan Alexander.  At their best, the Herd will Stampede all over many Canada West teams.  Our Call – Two decisive Manitoba wins.

Regina at MacEwan –  This is a test for two teams with playoff potential. The Cougars have the ultimate ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ team so far.  They win by 20 vs UVic last Saturday, after dropping a 95-77 home opener to the Vikes on Friday. Brian Ofori has looked like a leader on their forward line, and they have 5th year vets Travis Sylvester and Stephen Shields in their top 9.  Guards Brandon Tull, Aaron McGowan, and Alex Igual get help from newcomer, import Johneil Johnson.  MacEwan, too, have a good core of vets, with Thadius Galvez and Denzel James, their backcourt strength.  Keith Gerdes and Harrison Lane head-up a ‘medium sized’ front court  in need of some scoring punch.   Our Call –  Regina wins at least one, but MacEwan is ‘sneakily competitive’, and may surprise us.

Matt Hayashi and his TWU teammates will be up for their 'Valley Series' with UFV.

Matt Hayashi and his TWU teammates will be up for their ‘Valley Series’ with UFV.   Spartans Athletics

Trinity Western at Fraser Valley –  Flush with their Saturday win at UBC-O, the Spartans are set to challenge for ‘Kings of the Valley’ !  UFV have won all 6 games in the past 3 seasons, and will be a tough out for TWU.  The Cascades guard corps look best in this match-up, with Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon, and 6-4 transfer (College of the Desert) Anthony Gilchrist off the bench.  The Green start 3 forwards … Nav Bains, Andrew Morris, and Mark Johnson, and they are part of a pretty effective defensive unit. Trinity have bigger, but less mobile forwards in Patrick Vandervelden and Matt Hayashi.  There is  some developing strength in import, Pogos Trunyan, along with scoring wing, Vartan Tanielian, and lead guard, Tyus Allen.   Our Call –  Has TWU turned a corner?  We don’t have the ‘faith’ of their followers yet, but they will give UFV a good challenge this week.

Alberta at UNBC –  The Bears go on the road with their 2 opening wins from last week, and the T’Wolves will hope the friendly environs of the Northern Sports Centre in Prince George will give them an edge.  Alberta comes with the ‘golden duo’ of Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke at forward; this a severe challenge for the ‘Wolves’ Vaggelis Loukas and Anthony Hokanson. Rhys Elliot and Marcus MacKay give UNBC a pair of able scoring guards, who will have to out-play U of A’s new arrivals Austin Waddoups and Andre Kelly.  Our Call –  The Golden Bears have an edge here, and will be aiming for the sweep.  A top effort from the T’Wolves will be necessary for a win.

Saturday –  Mt. Royal travels to Lethbridge for game 2.

UBC has the bye this week.


screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-12-16-50-pm

UBC Climbs to 2nd in Week 2

The UBC Thunderbirds, looking strong in the early-going this season, were voted #2 in this week’s coaches’ poll for the CIS. Calgary, who dropped their opener to Manitoba, were demoted to the #4 slot.

There are 6 OUA teams in the 12 mentioned in the poll , including the ‘Mighty Ravens’ of Carleton at #1. The Alberta Golden Bears appear as an ‘honourable mention.

 


 

Overtime –

sask-camo

Trevor Severinski (L) and Chan De Ciman model the ‘camo gear’ the Huskies will wear to observe Remembrance Day.

  •   The Saskatchewan Huskies will be wearing special ‘camo’ game jerseys when they host Winnipeg this weekend,  in tribute to those Canadians who served / serve in the military.  Coach Barry Rawlyk says, “Remembrance Day is reserved in Canada for us to honour and remember those who bravely served and scarified for our great country,” said head coach Barry Rawlyk. “We also believe it is a time to express our appreciation to all of the men and women in uniform that courageously and unselfishly serve our nation.”  From U of S Athletics
  •   TRU Coach, Scott Clark, on the new scheduling format for Canada West  , “ …  there are not two teams in the conference that play the same schedule,” Clark said. “To call it a schedule, I think, is a misnomer, in that I believe we just play some games and at the end they’re going to compare everybody.  It’s no fault of whoever makes the schedule. It’s a 17-team conference — it’s monumental.  Really, you can’t [have a schedule] with 17 teams. But my opinion was always that the conference needs to be divided.”   From Kamloops This Week.
  • We have the first of several home and home series which are part of that somewhat disjointed League schedule this season.  Mt. Royal hosts Lethbridge on Thursday, then travel South for the return bout on Saturday, while the ‘Valley Neighbours’, Trinity Western and Fraser Valley exchange home courts on Friday/Saturday. This would seem like a great way to build on regional rivalries.

 

 

Wesmen and Griffins Want ‘In’

 

 

2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

Winnipeg Wesmen and MacEwan Griffins

The two Prairie schools we preview today have a similar status in their respective communities.   The University of Winnipeg and MacEwan University are the younger, smaller ‘cousins’ to the big guy across town.  U. Manitoba boasts 25,000+ undergraduate students vs about 10,000 for UW, and the U. Alberta casts even a bigger shadow in Edmonton, with 28,000 to MacEwan’s 11,000. Despite their ‘2nd fiddle profile’, their basketball teams want in to the Canada West playoffs again this coming season.

The Wesmen are ‘chasing the recent success’ of the neighbouring Bisons, and, similarly, the Griffins are ‘newbies’ who don’t have the same CIS tradition as the Alberta Golden Bears up on the South side.  When the Griffs host the W’s in late January in Edmonton, both teams hope they are in the midst of a playoff chase.

Winnipeg  Wesmen
’15-’16 Lost 1st Round playoff  to Regina      10 wins  10 losses

Denzel Lynch-Blair (L) and Ryan Oirbans (R) - return to lead the Wesmen.

Denzel Lynch-Blair (L) and Ryan Oirbans (R) – return to lead the Wesmen.    photos-  UW- Kelly Morton        UC – David Moll

Returnees –  5th year – 6-3, Jamar Farley … 4th years – 6-10 Ryan Oirbans, 6-6 Nate Johnson … 3rd years – 6-4 Denzel Lynch-Blair, 6-4, Marcello Kambola, 5-8 Denzel Soliven, 6-6 Kahlil Lakay … 2nd year – 6-3, Will Sesay … 1st year (redshirt) 6-7 Franki Tocci
New faces – Billy Yaworsky, 2nd, 6-7 fwd, Winnipeg (Tsf, Lakehead), Narcisse Ambanza, 1st year, 6-2 guard, Toronto (E. Commerce), Josh Gandier, 1st, 6-3 guard, Winnipeg,  Louis Makot, 1st, 6-4 guard, Winnipeg, Sean Tarver, 3rd, 6-4 wing, Baltimore, MD, Roan Van Erd, 3rd, 6-5 guard, Winnipeg, Noah Simpson, 1st, 6-7 fwd, Winnipeg.

With a mostly inexperienced squad last season, Coach Mike Raimbault’s Ws squeezed into the last play-off spot, and lost a 3 game set in round 1 at Regina.  “We probably went as far as we should have”, says the 7th year Winnipeg coach.

This season’s team is still fairly young, but have some experience back at key spots.  Raimbault suggests, “We should shoot it better, and we’ll have more effective back-court leadership as the guys are 2nd and 3rd year with some more game experience.”  W wesmen

Denzel Lynch-Blair (17.5 ppg, 4 assts) was a Canada West all-star, and Will Sesay (10 ppg, 7 rebs) got the nod on the all-rookie team, while Jamar  Farley (10.3 ppg) and Marcello Kambola (8 ppg) promise to be positive contributors again.

With the exception of the  big post, Ryan Oirbans (8.6 ppg, 8 rebs), and newcomer Billy Yaworsky, who can hit from 3 point range, this UW team is on the small side.  They make up for that with exceptional team quickness, and a pressing, full-court defensive plan which saw them chart 10.2 steals/game, 2nd in CW.

The big challenges will be to improve on their 16th best rebounding margin, and 14th best field goal percentage, the combination of is usually death for the won-lost record!  Coach Raimbault tells us, “We’re looking for more inside scoring with Ryan (Oirbans) putting in some good work in the summer, and we think the rest of the guys will step-up their offensive games.”

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – vs UNBC, at Saskatchewan, vs Lethbridge, h/h vs Brandon, h/h vs Manitoba  …  Jan/Feb –  vs Trinity Western, at Thompson Rivers, at MacEwan, vs Regina, at Victoria.    Prediction –  Contending for a play-off spot


MacEwan Griffins
’15-’16 – Lost to Alberta in playoff round 1           10 wins    10 losses

Thadius Galvez (L) and Denzel James (R) will be key for the Griffs.

Thadius Galvez (L) and Denzel James (R) will be key for the Griffs.

Returnees – 5th years –  6-3  Denzel James, 6-7  Keith Gerdes, 5-10  Thomas Jereniuk, 6-8  Cole Aikens  … 4th years –  6-2 Thadius Galvez, 6-6 Ryan Coleman … 3rd years – 6-6 Harrison Lane,  6-3 Tarik Scott , 6-0 Deonte Dosov-Doctor … 2nd yr. – 6-6 Atlas St. Paul -Butler … Redshirt 1st years – 6-2 Malik Mate,  6-6 Michael Burnham
New faces – 5th year, 6-6 fwd, Tyler Wise, St. Albert (tsf Red Deer Coll.), 2nd yr, 5-9 guard, Adonis Monfort-Palomino, Calgary (tsf U. Calgary), 2nd yr. 6-5 wing, Ali Raza, Calgary (tsf St. Mary’s U. Coll) … 1st years – 6-3 wing, Jake Notice, Bath, England (Bristol Flyers), 6-4 wing, Thomas Laxdal, St. Albert (Paul Kane), 6-0 guard, Tre Ross, Sherwood Park (Strathcona Christian)

unknownThe Griffins made the playoffs in their 2nd year of Canada West play, and Coach Eric Magdanz returns 7 of his top 9 rotation players this time around. Two key losses were  Ryan May, a steady forward, and Chris Mooney, a skilled wing man.  But the scoring and rebounding of vets Denzel James (14 ppg/5.2 rebs) and Thadius Galvez (13.5 ppg/4 rebs) are a good starting point. Add in the toughness and dependability of equally experienced forwards Keith Gerdes (9.2 ppg), and Ryan Coleman (9 ppg), and Mac may snag a post-season berth once again.

Harrison Lane was a playoff stalwart last Spring, and he should provide defensive leadership.  UC transfer Adonis Monfort-Palomino, a pass-first point man, will “help  get the ball up the floor, and into the right hands”, says coach Magdanz. Ali Raza, another transfer and Calgary high school grad (Crescent Heights), has been showing well in early work-outs, along with Tyler Wise, a rebounding big man, who returns to MacEwan from Red Deer.

Where experience, determined defense, and capable shooting are pluses for the Maroon, they will need to improve their team rebounding if they are to be a factor in next February’s playoff picture.

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at Lethbridge, vs Regina, vs Victoria, at Mt. Royal, h/h vs Alberta … Jan/Feb –  at Fraser Valley, at Brandon, vs Winnipeg, vs UBC-Okanagan, at Calgary.     Prediction – In the mix for a playoff slot


 Overtime –

  • This week we have CIS teams ‘testing the water’ against CCAA Fr Valleysquads;  as UFV coach Adam Friesen said, “Our guys are happy to play against people who aren’t their teammates, and it’s a great opportunity for our young guys to get some game action.”   UQAM vs CGEP Thetford, Algoma hosting Fleming, Canadore, and Sault Colleges, and Friesen’s Cascades squad plays Capilano College Thursday  at Sardis Sr. Sec. (Chilliwack), then the Seattle Mountaineers on Saturday at UFV.
  • Next weekend sees some interesting inter-regional tournament  play –  The Victoria Vikes have their Guy Vetrie Invitational (Sept. 29 – Oct. 1), with McMaster, McGill, and Regina making it an interesting mix on the Island.  Carleton are the ‘big birds’ in Acadia’s tournament, along with the Axemen, St. FX, and Laval … UNB hosts Maine – Ft. Kent, Bishops, and  Saint Mary’s …  Nipissing are at home to Algoma, Laurentian, and Laurier. Also,  Winnipeg will visit Lakehead, and Queen’s and Ottawa are in Montreal to play Concordia and UQAM.

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.

Winnipeg Teams to Meet in Semi

 

Justus Alleyn will lead the Bisons in their semi-final vs Winnipeg.

Justus Alleyn will lead the Bisons in their semi-final vs Winnipeg.  photo  UM Athletics

Semi-Finals Set in Winnipeg –

Lakehead  72  Brandon  64 –  The Thunderwolves advance to the semi-finals of the Wesmen Classic as they beat Brandon, despite trailing by 2 at the half.  Kache Kopec led Lakehead with 17 points (5 treys).  Henry Tan and  Brandon Persad each had 15. The Bobcats’ Earl Thompson Jr put up a 23 point/13 rebound double. Lakehead meets Acadia in the one semi final.  Box Score

Acadia 84  MacEwan 82  –  Up 8 at the half, the Griffins MacEwan  were out-scored 50-40 by the Axemen in the second half. the Axemen’s Kyle Arsenault hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to crush Mac’s hopes. GMU out-rebounded Acadia 52-36, but scored just 5/10 free throws to 16/25 for the Axemen. AU’s Arsenault  had a game high 27 points, including 6 from beyond the arc, and Erik Nissen had 17 points/ 8 rebounds.
MacEwan had 5 players in double-digits led by Keith Gerdes’s 18 points/ 9 boards.      Box Score

Winnipeg  74  NAIT 63 – Jamar Farley led the Wesmen with 15 points , with William Sesay adding 13 points and nine rebounds. The Wesmen led 41-26 at the half, and held off a 3rd quarter NAIT run to secure their spot in the All-Winnipeg semi-final vs the Bisons.  Box Score
Manitoba  87 Lethbridge 77 –  The Herd got out front early on and stayed there for the full 40 minutes; Justus Alleyn led Manitoba with a game high 22 points, and Keith Omoerah had 21, while Wyatt Anders of the Bisons nabbed a game-high 15 rebounds. Rob Olsen led Lethbridge with 19 points, and Brandon Brine 15. Box Score  


Ranked teams Go Down at the  Laval Tourney –
 New Brunswick 87  #7 Calgary 85  –   Close, high-scoring affair, as the Dinos couldn’t quite match the Reds in the  final 2 minutes , as the the Laval Tournament tips – off.  12 UNB treys vs only 5 for Calgary, plus 20 Dinos turnovers to 14 by the Reds hurt the UC chances.  Javon Masters scored 24 to lead UNB, while  Thomas Cooper had a game-high 27 for Calgary.

Laval registers big upset over #1 Ottawa.

Laval registers big upset over #1 Ottawa.

Laval 87  #1 Ottawa  77 –  Shocker !  The Rouge et Or claim a big upset win, as a 21-10 2nd quarter dooms the cold-shooting  (33% FG) Gee-Gees.  Laval, in contrast, hits 49%, and scores 15/27 free throws vs 1/6 for UO. Karl Belanger leads Laval with  23 points, and Alexandre Leclerc adds 17 plus 8 rebs. Mike L’African is high man for Ottawa with 21 points. Not predicted by anyone, and this will get the ‘experts’’ attention!
 >>Calgary meets Ottawa and Laval plays UNB in Quebec City on Tuesday.


In the U.S.-logo_handler
Biola U. (CA)  55    Alberta  43 –  A cool shooting touch from both teams as the Eagles’ defense dominates . Brody Clark scores 17 points and claims 11 rebs. for the Bears, who were just 30% from the floor as a team. Box Score
‘ Future College’ 114  Regina   112 –  no stats … a ‘defensive struggle’ !


 

Overtime –

  • Fans on Vancouver Island can see the Victoria Vikes in 2 games this week at the Carsa Centre – Tuesday, the 29th at 2 pm vs Simon Fraser … then, Thursday, the 31st at 1 pm the Vs welcome Coach Peter Guarasci and his UBC-O Heat.  Admission to both games is by a donation  to the food bank.

Bears – Dinos, Wesmen – Cougars

Calgary's Matt Letkeman will be battling Alberta's Sebastien Denault in the post on Saturday. photo - David Moll

Calgary’s Matt Letkeman will be battling Alberta’s Sebastien Denault in the post on Saturday.                photo – David Moll, UC

North-South, Red-Green, Dinos or Bears ?

It’s the traditional ‘Battle of Alberta’  for our 2 oldest university programs, and these are some of the hardest fought games of the season, no matter the relative League standings.  In this year of overall balance in the upper and middle tiers of the Pioneer Division, neither team will be taking anything for granted in this single game on Saturday.  Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 2.19.58 PM

Calgary, at 5-3, and with the home court on Saturday (7 pm), has a deep team, with 10+ players in the rotation every game. The Dinos scoring, however, is dominated by 4th year import wing man, Thomas Cooper, who is the Canada West leader, at 27.5 ppg, as well as the 5th leading rebounder, at 8.8 rpg.  Their only other player averaging double digits is Lars Schleuter, the 6-7, 2nd year German import, and last season’s CW Rookie of the Year.  This is the 1st of 2 meetings in the home and home series, with the 2nd in Edmonton in late February..

Alberta has also been going pretty deep onto their bench, with 9 players over 10 mins/game, and 3 Bears are in double figures scoring – Mamadou Gueye, their 3rd year wing man from Montreal, is at 17 ppg, with import guard, Colby Jackson adding 11.4, and Sebastien Denault, the 2nd year post, also from Quebec, is scoring 10.4 ppg and the team leader in rebounds , with 8.4 rpg.

 

Brian Ofori, a UPEI transfer, is an aggressive forward for the Cougars.

Brian Ofori, a UPEI transfer, is an aggressive forward for the Cougars.  photo – U of S

Prairie Rivals, Regina and Winnipeg, Want to Finish Strong

Winnipeg Coach, Mike Raimbault, says, “Every game is a big game, isn’t it?”  Well, yes, but our premise is that, for the Wesmen and the Cougars, this December weekend series in Regina could be very big, if one of the teams manages to win both games!Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 2.20.16 PM

5 – 3 is one whole lot better to sit with over the break than 3 – 5, after all.  Winnipeg comes off a bye week, and Raimbault says he’s not sure if they’ll be ‘game sharp’ for Friday, but feels the break helped his Ws recover from a few small hurts. “We are really trying to improve as the season progresses”, says Raimbault.  “We are very inexperienced with many of our players, so they are learning as we go.”  The Ws have speed and quickness, and rely on a relentless defensive effort to give them an advantage.  The offensive leaders are 5th year wing, Jelane Pryce, who’s scoring is down to 12 ppg this season, with his best yet to come.  Denzel Lynch-Blair is at 15 ppg, plus 3 steals, and shooting 50% from the floor, while Jamar Farley scores 11 ppg.

Regina comes off a rough weekend in Edmonton, as they dropped 2 to the GBs, and will try and use home court and a big team rebounding edge to get back on track. Jonathan Tull is their ‘lead ‘Cat’ with 17 ppg / 6.5 rebs/ 3 steals, and they also have great depth on the perimeter with Brandon Tull (10.2 ppg), Alex Igual (10 ppg/3.5 asst/6 rebs), and UFV transfer Aaron McGowan a dandy ‘6th man’ with 10 ppg/2.5 asst.


Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 9.12.37 AM

TRU and Lethbridge Get Support in National Poll

With a few changes this week, the big news for Cnada West might well be the rise up to #10 for the 7-1 Thompson Rivers WolfPack and the Lethbridge Pronghorns (5-1) getting into the picture as well.

Calgary moves up 1 spot, as does UBC, and McMaster advances a couple of rungs, while Western remain in the Top 10 despite a 3-4 record.  Dalhousie is an also-ran, but we wonder why no other Atlantic team (UNB?) might not get any love?

Manitoba might feel snubbed, but it’s all about the March results for Canada West teams, in any case. CW will have 3 teams at Nationals in Vancouver, and no more, we surmise.


 

Overtime –

  • The only other CIS game this weekend is Laval playing at #3  McGill in Montreal on Friday night.  After this, everyone hunkers down for the exam period, and Christmas holidays, short as they may be.  There is tournament and exhibition action scheduled post-Christmas, with teams playing in Canada and the U.S.
  • The Calgary Dinos ‘6th Man Club’ (Alumni group) is hosting Saturday afternoon Dinos-Bears Alumni ‘fun games’, with the aim to ‘renew acquaintances’ from past years.  There are social events planned at that time, then again for the varsity game that night … Molson -Coors sponsor.

Bisons Beat Buzzer

 

Pioneer Division –

AJ Lifts the Herd to Big Opening Night Win in Saskatoon !

The dagger ... from Manitoba's AJ Basi

The dagger … from Manitoba’s AJ Basi

  Manitoba Bisons  91  at   #7 Saskatchewan Huskies  88 – AJ Basi-i-i-i-i, for 3 ! At the buzzer … Bisons win ! The Huskies came back to even it up, after trailing by 8 at 4:40 of the 4th quarter, but Basi drains the trey, breaking the home team’s hearts.  AJ leads the Herd with 22 pts, while Wyatt Anders (15 pts/10 boards), and Ilarion Bonhomme (15 pts/4 rebs) also are big in the win.  U of S has Evan Ostertag with 23, and Shawn Lathan scoring 19.  Well played game … Sask. 47% from the floor, but UM is 51%.       Box Score 

 

Regina Cougars 104 at Brandon Bobcats 75 –  The Cougars tame the smaller ‘Cats with a relentless offense, hitting 14/29 attempts from 3, and 48% from the floor. 4 Regina starters in double figures, led by Brandon Tull with 21 and brother Jonathan notching 19 and 10 rebounds … Alex Igual double with 12 pts/14 rebounds.  Brandon has Chris Stanhope scoring 23, but they hit 12 fewer free throws, and turn it over 25 times.  Box Score

 

Plain Logo1at  #9 Calgary Dinos 87   Winnipeg Wesmen  67 – 5 Dinos in double figures, with Thomas Cooper totalling 24 plus 12 rebounds; Calgary grabs 56 boards to Winnipeg’s 46, as neither team shoots it very well. The Ws commit 22 turnovers to 13 for UC; Jamar Farley is the high scorer for the Wesmen at 20 pts, and Ryan Oirbans has 12 pts/10 boards.  Box Score

Victoria Vikes 82 at Trinity Western Spartans 71 – The Vikes come out hot, connecting on 53% from the floor, led by the 24 pos of Grant Sitton, and 20 by Mack Roth.  Reiner Theill scores 11 and has 10 rebs. TWU is just 38% on their FG shooting … Dean Richey scores 22 and Lucas Mannes 17.  Box Score  

Bears 3 copy

 Alberta Golden Bears – 79  at  #10 UBC Thunderbirds 74 –  Bears shock UBC in Vancouver, as Mamadou Gueye scores 17, and Sheldon Pittman 16  off the bench(hitting 4/6 from 3 pt range). UA hits 12 treys to just 5 for the Birds.  Jordan Jensen Whyte hits 21 for UBC to lead all scorers.  Box Score  

 

Explorer Division –

 Mt. Royal Cougars  74 at MacEwan Griffins  62 – The Cougars’ defense holds the home team Griffs to just 38 pts after 3/4s, and cruise to the big win. It is a wild affair, with a ‘hot potato’ demonstration of 31 turnovers by MRU and 26 from Mac!  Derek Wolf leads the Cougs with 22 pos, and James Lefebvre has 16 and 8 boards. Thaddeus Galvez is tops for MacEwan with 12 pts.  Box Score

at Fraser Valley Cascades 79   UBC-O Heat 67  –  The Heat hang in there, but UFV wears them down, shooting 43% to 38% for the visitors, and the Cascades hit 20 free throws to 13 for UBC-O. Kevon Parchment (19 pts) is one of 4 UFV players in double figures, with Mark Johnson hitting 15 and grabbing 10 rebs. Aldrich Berrios has 14 pts for Okanagan.     Box Score

Thompson Rivers WolfPack 94 at UNBC Timberwolves  89 – The ‘Pack hit a sizzling 67% from the floor, including 10/17 from outsicde.   But, the T’Wolves, who surrendered a 10 point lead after 1 frame (27-17),  fought back tenaciously (51% from the floor themselves), closing to within 1 points at 50-49, early in the 3rd. TRU steadied, and 46 points in the 2nd half gave them the win, behind Volodymyr Iegorov’s 29 pts/ 4 rebounds, and 21pts/4 asst/3 steals by Reese Pribilsky. UNBC has point man,Billy Cheng, with a career best 32 points/ 5 asst., plus Rhys Elliot scoring 29 and adding 7 rebounds. Box Score

 


 

Other CIS Scores –

OUA Weds.- #4  Brock 83 at McMaster 75,  #6  Western 90 Waterloo 69, #5 Ryerson 85 Toronto 84, Windsor 88 Laurier 77

Friday Scores –  UPEI 102 St. FX  71, Acadia  82 Cape Breton  77, Dalhousie 68  UNB  63, at  #1 Ottawa 91 Nipissing 49, at #2 Carleton 93 Laurentian 48, #4  Brock 63 at Algoma 57, at  Lakehead 65 Guelph 64


 

 

Dinos Canada West TV – Tops in the League   

Ned Boznak, left, Lucas Meyer, right

Ned Boznak, left, Lucas Meyer, right

As Canada West TV moves a pay-per-view model across the League, we are more aware of qualitative differences from one broadcast spot to another.  The Calgary Dinos are lucky to have the fine production work of Ned Bosnak’s Maverick MediaWorks Inc., and, for the 5th year running, the play by play acumen of professional broadcaster, Lucas Meyer.   We asked Meyer how he might prepare for a home weekend of broadcasting both the Women’s and Men’s games –

  •   “It really starts the weekend before where I’m piling through team stats, personal stats, game stories of both the Dinos and their opponents from the previous weekend and before. I’m also refreshing on individual backstories and getting immersed in team, CIS, CanWest and other sites.”
  • “Then I submit our preview to Dinos athletics early in the week and I’m … re-reading those stats and notes through the week. “
  • “The day of the game, I write out all the key information that I feel is necessary to have at my fingertips …  you never how a game is going to go and what nugget you’ll use ….
  • “I get in at the gym an hour before, chat with Ned about what we want to do, do our pre-recorded preview for both the women and men that plays in-house before the game, open up about 10 tabs on my laptop and then I’m reading my notes right until we go to air. “

 

Overtime –

 Reiner Theil provides leadership for the Vikes.

Reiner Theil provides leadership for the Vikes.

  • UVic Coach Craig Beaucamp and 5th year captain, Reiner Theill, on the Vikes’ plans for this season, “Like anything in sports, you can’t replace certain types of players, you find different ways to do what you do,” said Beaucamp, who is entering his 13th season at the helm and hoping to lead the Vikes to a fourth-straight appearance at CIS nationals.  “We won the conference last year. There are a lot of new guys, but the expectation is the same,” said Theil, a team captain. “We definitely want to get back to playoffs and make a hard push toward nationals.” From the Victoria Times-Colonist. 
  • The Saskatchewan Huskies have serious injury issues … It was announced earlier this week that Matt Forbes, their top post player, is gone for the season with his broken foot,  and 3rd-year forward Shane Osayande is still rehabbing a bad ankle injury from last season and he likely won’t see action until after Christmas.  (from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix).  It’s definitely, ‘small-ball time’ for the Huskies!
  • Fraser Valley Coach Adam Friesen, on his 2015-16 team,  “We’re a talented group,” said Friesen, whose team finished first in the Pioneer Division last season with a 17-3 record and went on to earn the Canada West bronze medal. “We have some guys being put in different roles, but I think we’re a deeper team than last year, and also more versatile.  It’s yet to be determined whether we can be better than last year’s team ….”   (From UFV  Athletics, Dan Kinvig.)