Canada West Final 4 – Preview

 

The Final 4 coaches - Top left, Adam Friesen, UFV, right, UVic's Craig Beaucamp, bottom left UBC's Kevin Hanson, right Saskatchewan's Barry Rawlyk.

The Final 4 coaches – Top left, Adam Friesen, UFV, right, UVic’s Craig Beaucamp, bottom left UBC’s Kevin Hanson, right Saskatchewan’s Barry Rawlyk.

 

Top 4 Seeds Contest Canada West Championship in Saskatoon –

All four top seeds advanced to the Canada West Final 4 this past weekend, some with more drama than others;  UNBC lost 2 straight , but handled themselves very well in a tough match-up against the T-Birds.  Thompson Rivers ‘scared the chicken soup’ out of the # 1 Saskatchewan Huskies, before the ‘Dogs prevailed late in the 3rd game.  The other two series showed more domination by the home team, as both UVic (vs Alberta) and UFV (against Calgary) demonstrated a decided edge in 2 game sweeps.

The defending champs, Alberta, are out, but all four of the qualifiers have plenty of recent experience in this Tournament finale. The ‘Birds have 2 titles in the past 5 seasons, and Saskatchewan 1, while Fraser Valley has been knocking on the door the past 3 seasons, and UVic the last 2.  No advantage there, except the obvious ‘home court / home pressure’ for the Huskies.

Now, let’s take a quick look at several key players on each team, and the team statistics  –

Canada West Final 4 – Facts and Figures – at U. Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

Semi-Finals, Friday, March 6 –

UFV's Jasper Moedt, and the Vikes' Chris McLaughlin will have a critical match-up in the 1st  Semi-final

UFV’s Jasper Moedt, and the Vikes’ Chris McLaughlin will have a critical match-up in the 1st Semi-final on Friday.

 

# 3 seed – Victoria Vikes  vs # 2 seed – Fraser Valley Cascades   6 pm Central

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The Vikes – Cascades Match-up –

  • Victoria is 6-0 against Fraser Valley in the last 3 seasons, the last time was in pre-season play in October 2014 at Victoria.
  • The Vikes have played in the last 2 Canada West Finals, and gone on to the CIS Nationals. UFV played in Nationals in both 2012 and 2013.
  • Both teams are strong defensively, and both are among the best rebounding units in Canada West.
  • UVic has been the more consistent shooting team, but UVF has 6 players averaging double figures.
  • UVic’s McLaughlin, the CW Most Outstanding Player, has been dominant, but can he do that against Jasper Moedt ? 6-10 vs 6-7 ….
  • Is Marcus Tibb’s quickness negated by the defense of UFV’s Dom Brooks?

    Nate Brown can tip the scales in UFV's favour.

    Nate Brown can tip the scales in UFV’s favour.

  • Is Reiner Theil the defensive stopper that the Vikes need against Kevon Parchment?  Nate Brown? Maybe Mack Roth has the size / quickness? ‘Big Nate’ has both, and is tough to handle.
  • Who’s hot from outside ? Manny Dulay or Brooks for UFV ?  Tibbs or Theil for UVic?  Maybe the X-factor is the ‘Cades’ Vijay Dhillon!  The 2nd yr. guard from Richmond, B.C., transferred from Victoria to Fraser Valley, and he may be hitting his stride just in time for a key playoff role.
  • This should be the lower scoring Semi-Final, and it really is too hard to pick.

 

# 4 seed – UBC Thunderbirds  vs  # 1 seed – Saskatchewan Huskies 8 pm  “

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The Huskies – Thunderbirds  Match-up –

  • UBC has won 7 straight vs U of S, including a sweep in League play in Vancouver in November.
  • The T-Birds missed out on the Final 4  last season, while the Huskies beat UFV for 3rd, and went to Nationals.
  • This game will be high scoring, we would guess.  Lots of foul shooting. Physical. The paint will not be for the faint of heart ….
  • Saskatchewan has been better from 3 pt. range – Collins, Trevor Severinski, Evan Ostertag, Mike Scott.  UBC has Nixon,  and Conor Morgan, bur Andrew McGuinness isn’t shooting as many ….
  • UBC’s Tommy Nixon is the key to their fortunes – if he gets it rolling, gets it in the paint, and gets to the line, the T’Birds offense will fly high. He opens it up for everyone else.

    5th year post, Tonner Jackson, has been solid for the 'Birds.

    5th year post, Tonner Jackson, has been solid for the ‘Birds.

  • Saskatchewan will count on winning the rebound battle – Ben Baker, Connor Burns, Dadrian Collins, Matt Forbes, and crew need to beat UBC’s Nixon, Morgan, David Wagner, Tonner Jackson, and maybe even Brylle Kamen.
  •  Big test for UBC’s Jordan Jensen-Whyte; how will he respond to the ‘all-the-chips-on-the-table’ pressure against the Huskies’ import gunslinger, Scott.
  • Both teams in the 80s … 90s ?  Again, it’s too hard to pick, although many insiders (certainly not lowly outside observers like us) are leaning towards the Thunderbirds.

 

Overtime –Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 7.45.48 PM

  • For those basketball fans in the Calgary area, make sure you’re at the Fighting Tacos 15th Annual NCAA March Madness Party, in support of the Mt. Royal Cougars Team. The Tacos, a notable aggregation of ‘former greats‘ toil in the Calgary Sr. Men’s League. The team has 3 former Cougars, 2 former Dinos, a Huskie and even a Mount Allison guy!  There’s usually a great turn-out, and a lot of fun watching / betting games, eating, drinking, and visiting. All the basics ! Tickets at the door – Richmond Pub – 3919- Richmond Rd. SW  … Come as early as 11 am … evening festivities begin around 4 pm.
  • UNBC copy  Reflections from UNBC Coach, Todd Jordan, a few days after his T’Wolves were eliminated from the play-offs in 2 straight at UBC … “Looking at the season as a whole, the program took a pretty big step moving forward. It was the most successful season to date (in the CIS) and to make the playoffs and a quarterfinal is a pretty big accomplishment. UBC’s program, they were hot coming down the stretch. They have some very talented athletes and it was a good measuring stick for us. We gave them a good run and at the same time, going into War Memorial Gym, it was tough going in on their own turf. But we got the playoff experience.”

Wolves Force 3rd Game vs Huskies

 

TRU Leads Wire to Wire – Parker Paces Scoring

5th year guard, Brett Parker, scores 21 to lead the 'Pack to a 3rd game.

5th year guard, Brett Parker, scores 21 to lead the ‘Pack to a 3rd game against #1 seed, Saskatchewan.

Thompson R. Wolf Pack  81  at Saskatchewan Huskies  75 –  A spirited team bounce-back from the Wolf Pack to square the series and force a 3rd game on Sunday night.  TRU shoots 48% from the floor to 40% for the Huskies, and their 5th year guard, Brett Parker plays an inspired game, hitting 9/13 including 3/3 from outside for 21 points.  Josh Wolfram scores 17, grabs 9 boards, and hits 3 clutch free throws in the final minutes. Reese Pribilsky cashes 5/6 free throws down the stretch to ice the win.

Saskatchewan digs themselves a big hole at 40-25 at the half, but nibbles away to come to within 2 points with about 2:30 left, but TRU finished a pair of pick and roll opportunities and made the crucial free throws.  The ‘Dogs had  6 players in double figures, with 12 from each of Andrew Henry and Dadrian Collins, while Ben Baker had 11 plus 9 rebounds and 9 assists. The 3 pointer got the home team back in it, as they connect on 14/27 – 52%, but TRU plays them shot for shot in the 4th to force another game, this one back at the PAC on the U of S campus – Sunday at 7 pm Central.                  Box Score

 

Dulay Leads Cascades into Final 4 … 4th in 4 seasons for UFV

Manny Dulay strikes from outside for 21 points, as UFV sweeps Calgary.

Manny Dulay strikes from outside for 21 points, as UFV sweeps Calgary.

At Fraser Valley Cascades 72  Calgary Dinos  65 –  Surrendering a 10-24 1st quarter advantage, and 23-39 at the half, Calgary has too steep an uphill in the 2nd 20.  Fraser Valley makes their 4th straight trip to the Canada West Final 4 , joining UBC and Victoria in next week’s championship tournament, with Sunday’s  Huskies vs Wolf-Pack winner the 4th team.  The Cascades shoot just 35% to UC’s 38%, but enjoy 14 extra shots by winning the rebounding 43-39, and the turnover battle 12-16.

Manny Dulay is a stand-out for UFV, scoring 21 on 4/7  from 3 pt range plus 5 assists.  The Cascades two big men, Jasper Moedt (11 pts/13 boards) and Nate Brown (13 pts/7 rebs) do major damage inside.  Calgary gets 16 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 assts from Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson in his last Canada West game, and Rookie of the Year, Lars Schleuter, scores 12.  Box Score

 

More CIS Scores, Saturday –

OUA Quarter-Finals –  #5  Windsor  85  #4 McMaster 70 ,  #1 Carleton 79  Lakehead 54,  #2  Ottawa 116   Laurentian 71,  #3  Ryerson 105 W. Laurier  59  (Final 4 next weekend)

Atlantic Tournament  Semis-   (Upsets in both games, as the 5-seed and 3-seed beat #1 and 2 … so much for our expert analysis of this championship !)

Dalhousie 85   #8  UNB 74  , Saint Mary’s 105  UPEI  92

Quebec – Bishop’s 85 UQAM  65  (Last Q-League games this week) – Final standings – (Top 4 to Tournament at Bishop’s next Friday and Saturday.)

  1. McGill  11-5
  2. Laval   9-7
  3. Concordia 8-8
  4. Bishop’s 8-8
  5. UQAM  4-12

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.

Preview- Calgary-UFV, TRU-Sask.

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

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

 

Dinos at Cascades  –  2nd Seed  On Home Court

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

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

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

 

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

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

Huskies Heavy Favourites Despite Alternate Gym

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

CIS Scores from the East –

OUA Playoffs – 

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

Saturday Q-Finals –

#5 Windsor at #4 McMaster,

Lakehead at #1 Carleton,

Laurentian at #2 Ottawa,

W. Laurier at #3 Ryerson.

 

Overtime –

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

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

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

 

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 –

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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 –

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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.”

T-Birds and Bears Finish Strong

 

Canada West … Notes from the Final Weekend –

Tommy Nixon and the UBC Thunderbirds turn season around with a 13-1 finish!

Tommy Nixon and the UBC Thunderbirds turn season around with a 13-1 finish, after starting 1-5 !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  •   The UBC Thunderbirds were, in some respect, the story of the regular season, with their ‘impending disaster’ start at 1 win 5 losses followed by a 13-1 stretch from the last week in November through their 2 home wins to finish the schedule vs Manitoba.  Tommy Nixon went on a tear through that hot streak, and finished as the scoring champion at 20.8 ppg, and shot 58% from the floor including 50% (tops in CW) from 3 pt. range ; the 5th year, 6-6 wing man contributed 28 pts/ 22 rebounds against Manitoba . Conor Morgan has emerged as another focal point of the offense, and he went for 34 pts/13 rebs, while point man, Jordan Jensen-Whyte has matured into a most effective floor leader … against the Herd he is 36 pts/11 rebs/9 assts.
The Bears' Ken Otieno hopes his 5th and final season leads to the Nationals.

The Bears’ Ken Otieno hopes his 5th and final season leads to the Nationals.

  • The Alberta Golden Bears stay on course, with an attention-getting 8 straight wins to finish at 14-6, in 4th place in the Pioneer. Their 5th year seniors lead the way with 2 game totals of – Joel Friesen 41 pts/11 rebs, Ken Otieno 30 pts/13 rebs. For their exceptional efforts they get a trip to Victoria to play the Vikes in the Quarter-Final round on Feb. 27- March 1 !
  • As a team, Saskatchewan comes through with a solid weekend, and, with import guard, Mike Scott, scoring 27 on Saturday, and Dadrian Collins (35 points in 2 games)  and Ben Baker (31 pts/13 rebs/8 assists) leading the way, the Huskies turn aside the Calgary Dinos for the 2 wins necessary to clinch #1 in the Pioneer, and top seed in the CW playoff grid.
  • Victoria matches the U of S record of 15-5, and get the #3 seed with 2 wins over Trinity Western, and on Saturday, celebrate the final season for their historic MacKinnon Gym. Tibbs  49/ / 14/ 4, McLaughlin  43/16  Justin Bakuteka  43 pts.
The Dinos host Manitoba this week in round 1 playoff action.

The Dinos host Manitoba this week in round 1 playoff action. Which team will regain winning form, and qualify for a Q-final match-up with Fraser Valley ?

  • At the other end of the momentum curve, there are several teams ‘limping’ into the playoffs some literally, with noticeable bruises, sprains, and worse, and most with accumulated losses eroding the confidence levels.  In the Pioneer, Calgary has lost 4 straight, and they play the nose-diving Manitoba Bisons, who have 7 consecutive defeats.  The Explorer leaders, the Fraser Valley Cascades have dropped 3 of 6, but have a week off to tune-up for their Q-final games, but Thompson Rivers , who lost 3 of their last 5, have a quick turnaround, as they face the Winnipeg Wesmen starting on Thursday in Kamloops in their 1st round best of 3.
  • The TRU Wolf Pack marshall their forces and, with 5th year stalwart, Brett Rouault, scoring 19 points, and Josh Wolfram adding 15 as he returns from injury, they get a playoff spot with a tense win at Fraser Valley on Saturday.
  • A disturbing trend for Coach Adam Friesen and his 17-3 UFV Cascades, as the 3 losses have come 1 each on the last 3 weeks of the season, and the inconsistency in their play will not breed confidence heading into the Q-Finals in 2 weeks.  They have the League’s top rebounder in Jasper Moedt, and the talent to contend, but can they put things back on the rails to win a series against either Calgary or Manitoba?
  • Denzel James scores 34 points for MacEwan in the Saturday loss at Mt. Royal, and makes a strong case for all-star consideration, with his excellent season for the Griffs.

 

CIS Scores from the East –

AUS …  Acadia 71 Memorial 56

Quebec ...  McGill 56 at Bishop’s  46

Ontario …   #1 Carleton 87 at York  45

  • All 3 of these leagues have a full slate of games to play this week.  The OUA playoffs start on Weds. Feb. 25 with a preliminary round, then quarter-finals on Sat. Feb. 28. The Final 4 for the Wilson Cup ( at the highest seed) will be March 6/7.
  • The Quebec 4-team Championship Tournament at Bishop’s is March 6/7 as well.
  • The AUS Tournament at the Halifax Metro Centre is a 6 team affair running Feb. 27 – March 1st.
  • These other 3 leagues have single game knock-out formats, unlike the grueling Canada West structure involving best of 3 series for both the play-in round and the Quarter-finals.

 

Overtime –

  •   Thanks to our avid fan/ expert observer, ‘Ice Man’ for pointing out the retirement announcement by MacEwan Women’s Coach Rob Poole.  We mentioned his record-setting accomplishment of making the playoffs with his Griffins in their 1st year of competition, with a 16-4 mark in the Explorer Division.   More in the official release from Griffins Athletics.
  • The Calgary – Manitoba series is scheduled for games 1 and 2 on  Friday / Saturday at 7:00 pm – Mountain time at UC, with a 3rd game Sunday at 3:00 pm, if necessary.  At Kamloops, The Wolf Pack host the Winnipeg Wesmen (the added excitement of the cross-over between Divisions) starting with games Thursday / Friday at 7:00 pm Pacific, with a 3rd game on Saturday at 5:00 pm if necessary.
  • Due to Huskie Athletics hosting the 2015 CIS Men’s Volleyball Championship on the scheduled Canada West basketball quarter-finals weekend of February 27 to March 1, the Huskies will play the series at St. Joseph High School in Saskatoon for Games 1 and 2. Game 3 (if needed) would return to the PAC on March 1.
  • In Women’s playoffs –  Unusually, the #3 ranked Huskies will play their Q-Final , best of 3 series vs #6 Winnipeg a week earlier than the other Q-Final series.  The home court is not available because the U of S is hosting CIS Men’s Volleyball – Feb 27-March 1.

‘Pack Beat UFV, Make Playoffs

 

 

 Saturday Night  in Canada West –

Top 'Dogs ?

at Saskatchewan Huskies  94   Calgary Dinos  73 –  Saskatchewan plays with a purpose, and their transition game provides the offensive advantage as Calgary ‘s defensive break-down gave up fast-break hoops .  The Huskies shoot 54%, with  27 points for import guard, Mike Scott.  Calgary has L.J. Hegwood with 23 points/ 7 rebs, and Jhony Verrone counting 18. This leaves Calgary in 5th spot at 12-8, having lost 4 straight to finish. Saskatchewan (15-5) get 3 solid wins in a row, and the #1 seed in the Canada West playoffs.  Box Score

 at Winnipeg Wesmen  76  Regina Cougars 67   –   The Ws (12-8) get back on track by the ‘overhead’ route, as they cash 11/23 from beyond the arc.  Winnipeg’s 5th year guard Travis Krahn celebrates his Senior Night with 5/8  bombs hitting the target for 16 points, and fellow grad, Jordan Clennon scores 14 and adds 11 assists from his point spot, while Chris Baxter plays the 6th -man role to perfection, scoring 23 pts/ 5 rebs/ 2 assts. Regina, by comparison hits just 3/14 from outside, and despite 21 points/ 11 boards from Brandon Tull, and 12 pts/ 10 rebounds by Will Tallman the Cougs drop to 8-12 to finish their season. (We note that 5th year forward, Mark McNee, misses this game for Wpg, and went just 7 minutes on Friday.)  Box Score

at Alberta Golden Bears  84  Lethbridge Pronghorns  57 –  No contest tonight in Edmonton, as the Bears are up 46-19 at the half, and hit 8 treys to 2 for the short-handed ‘Horns. Joel Friesen has a strong Senior Night with 27 points, and he gets help from the pair of Ken Otieno and Mamadou Gueye, who hit 15 apiece. Lethbridge (7-13)  gets 16 points from Brent Watkins.  Alberta winds up at 14-6 for their regular season, with 8 straight wins to finish.  Box Score

at UBC Thunderbirds 82   Manitoba Bisons 62  –  The T-Birds grab 4th seed on the playoff grid with a 49 point 2nd half, as they force the Bisons into 22 turnovers. Conor Morgan scores 22 for UBC, Jordan Jensen-Whyte has 19, and Tommy Nixon records a double of 11 pts/ 16 boards. Manitoba get 12 points and 8 rebounds from Jonathan Alexander.  Box Score

at Victoria Vikes  92  Trinity Western Spartans 63  – The Vikes honour their 5th year players with a strong team effort in finishing at 15-5, and gaining the 3rd seed for CW playoffs.  They had little trouble with Trinity on Saturday, as the home team scorches the Spartans’ D with 15/29 from 3 pt range. Marcus Tibbs again led Vikes scorers, with 20 pts, and Chris McLaughlin added 18.  For TWU (2-18) , it was Justin Bakuteka with 22 points and Denny McDonald 14 pts/ 5 rebs.  Box Score

 

 Wolf Pack Edge Cougars  for 3rd

at  Mt. Royal Cougars  87   MacEwan Griffins  81 –  MRU does their part to sweep on the final weekend, moving to 10-10, as a 26 point 4th quarter seals the deal. The Cougars use 13/32 shots from way outside vs just 6/26 for the Griffs (7-13), who hit a higher FG% (48% to 40% for the Cougs), but this shows the power of the trey. 22 turnovers by Mac to 11 for Mt. Royal also tipped the scales. 5 players in double figures for the home team, with 15 from Deng Awak and 14 by Derek Wolf leading the way. Denzel James has another impressive outing for MU with 34 points on 11/15 shooting.  The Cougars are a game shy of 3rd spot, as TRU beats Fraser Valley in Abbotsford.   Box Score

Josh Wolfram returns to help TRU into the playoffs.

Josh Wolfram returns to help TRU into the playoffs.

Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  76  at Fraser Valley Cascades   69 –  A brave effort for the ‘Pack as they grab 3rd place with the split.  With Josh Wolfram looking more comfortable on his foot, TRU had that big option offensively,  but it  looked like 5th year post Tallon Milne was struggling with a balky knee as the game wore on. TRU’s Brett Rouault give 5th year leadership with his 19 points/ 7 rebounds, and all 5 starters go for double figures, including 15 from Wolfram.  Fraser Valley’s ‘achilles heel’ , a low shooting % , bit them again tonight as they cash only 31% from the floor. The Cascades have dropped 3 of 6 games in a 3 week stretch. Kevon Parchment scores 17 to lead UFV, while Jasper Moedt has a 14 pt/ 14 board double. –  Box Score 

 

Playoff Update –  (It should go like this !)

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  • The‘Play-in Series’ will be in Calgary and Kamloops next weekend –  Pioneer # 7 , Manitoba (9-11) will play at the #5 Dinos (12-8) , while the #6 Winnipeg Wesmen visit Thompson Rivers, the #3 Explorer squad.  These are best of 3 series – Times TBA.
  • The rest of the teams are in the Quarter-final grid –  Saskatchewan (15-5) are the top seeds, having swept UVic, and the Huskies await the TRU-Winnipeg winner.
  • On the same half of the draw, we have Explorer #2, UNBC (12-8) going to Vancouver to face the Pioneer #3 team, the 14-6 UBC T-Birds, who win a tie-breaker with Alberta (UBC swept the #1 Huskies, while U of A split).
  • #4 Alberta (14-6) will be off to the Island to face the 15-5 Victoria Vikes, the #2 seed in a match-up of 2 traditional powers, both of whom have made multiple trips to CIS Nationals in the last few seasons.
  • Also in the  bottom of the draw, the Explorer #1, the Fraser Valley Cascades, will be at home in Abbotsford against the Calgary – Manitoba winner.
  • These Quarter-finals are best of 3 series played on the Feb. 27- March 1 weekend.

 

CIS Scores from the East –

AUS …  at UPEI 74 St. FX  73,  #8 UNB 85 at Dalhousie 76,  at Cape Breton 85  St. Mary’s  64,  at Memorial 98   Acadia 89

Quebec …  McGill 56 at Bishop’s  46

Ontario –  #1 Carleton  at York , #2 Ottawa 91 at Queen’s  81,  at #4 McMaster 82  Guelph 69 , #5 Windsor 98 at Algoma 60 ,  at Laurier 93  Nipissing 71, Toronto  84  Brock 79 ,  at Waterloo 68  Laurentian 66

 

Overtime –

  • MacKinnon gym  The MacKinnon Gym at UVic will see it’s final games this playoff season, as the Vikes move to their big, splashy new facility next Fall.  It was the scene of some historic, epic games and characters …  the architects, Kathy and Ken Shields, Eli, ‘The Duke’,  the Kazanowski brothers, Billy and Carol Turney-Loos, Greg Wiltjer, Coach Guy Vetrie, and, of course, the fearsome Viking, ‘Mother Hubbard’ .  (There are, really, too many to mention here).  How about Karl Tilleman and the Dinos vs the Vikes?  Alberta under former Oak Bay HS boss, Don Horwood, in a couple of dramatic play-off series, and the arch-rival UBC Thunderbirds for all those years?

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 Hoops.com – 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 !

Lethbridge Ends Huskies Streak

 

 

Friday  in Canada West – ‘Horns Hot at Home – Halt Huskies Hold on First

Rob Olsen buries the Huskies with 30 points for Lethbridge on Friday.

Rob Olsen buries the Huskies with 30 points for Lethbridge on Friday. Photo – U of L Athletics

 

at Lethbridge Pronghorns  88  #5 Saskatchewan Huskies 83 –  Lethbridge, shooting 53% from the floor as a team,  gets a huge game from both veteran guard, Rob Olsen ( 30 pts/8 assists, 6 steals)   and rookie, Zac Overwater (23 pts/ 6 rebs).  Olsen nails a clutch trey in the final 30 seconds, and free throws seal it for the ‘Horns (7-10)  as they upset the  the 5th ranked Huskies (12-5), ending an 8 game win streak .  Brandon Brine recorded 5 blocks for Lethbridge, who win only their 3rd of 9 home games.  Saskatchewan, who fall 1 game behind UVic in the race for top spot in the Pioneer Division, shoot 41%,  have Dadrian Collins with 17 pts, mostly in the 2nd half, and 15 pts/ 8 rebs/ 5 assts by Ben Baker.    Box Score  

# 7 Victoria Vikes  80  at Brandon Bobcats 71 – The Vikes take temporary possession of 1st place, as they pull gradually away from the cold-shooting Bobcats, and out-rebounding them  52-31. UVic (13-4) get 32 points on 14/20 shooting and 17 boards from Chris McLaughlin, and 19 pts/ 4 assts/ 2 steals by Marcus Tibbs. Brandon’s Earl Thompson Jr. was their leader with 17 pts/ 10 boards as 5 ‘Cats finished in double figures, but they shoot just 38% from the field.  Box Score  

UBC Thunderbirds  76 at Regina Cougars 64  –  The T-Birds (11-6) persistence paid off as they punched the ball inside in the 2nd half, and throttled the Regina offense to grab the road win. Once again, Tommy Nixon is their big gun, with 27 points including 14/14 from the line, plus 15 big rebounds, and guard, Kedar Wright, hits 15 pts/ 5 boards.  UBC has a 49-37 rebounding edge, and limits the Cougars to 34% from the floor. Regina  (7-10) has Jonathan Tull with 26 points/ 9 rebs.  Box Score

Winnipeg Wesmen 93 at Trinity Western 74  –  The Wesmen cruise with a 52% shooting average against the Spartans, as Mark McNee, with 18, leads a group of 5 Wesmen in double figures. He adds 5 rebounds and 3 steals, and gets help from 17 each by Jelane Pryce and Chris Baxter, who is 8/10 from the floor. Trinity commits a criminal 26 turnovers, providing lots of extra opportunities for the Ws, who move up to 11-6.  TWU (1-16) has a game-high 20 points from Justin Bakuteka. Box Score  

#9 Fraser Valley Cascades  77 at UNBC Timberwolves 71  –  Jasper Moedt’s 22 pts/ 14 rebounds gets the Cascades back on track at 16-1, as they turn aside a spirited effort by the ‘Wolves, who fall to 9-8. UFV shoot a deadly 54% from the field, and Kevon Parchment cashes 10/12 free throws to add 16 points, and Dominique Brooks scores 13. UNBC play well, but don’t shoot nearly as efficiently (40%). Francko Kouagnia leads the game scoring with 26 points, as he goes 10/15 from the floor, and hauls in 12 rebounds. Guards Rhys Elliot and Jeff Chu both hit 12 points for the home team.   Box Score 

 

MRU's Deng Awak explodes for 35 points, launching Cougars to a win in Kamloops.

MRU’s Deng Awak explodes for 35 points, launching Cougars to a win in Kamloops.

Mt. Royal Cougars  89 at Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  77 –  The Cougars (8-9)  may be sniffing a  playoff chance, and their cause is greatly enhanced by the 35 point barrage from Deng Awak, their 4th year guard from Brooks. AB.  Awak hits 14/20 from the floor with 6/8 from 3 pt. range, and adds 6 rebounds, and he gets help from James Lefebvre, with his 16 pts/  rebs, and 11 pts/ 10 boards by Manok Akwl. The Wolf Pack slide to 9-8, with their 2nd straight loss, as they are out-shot 54% to 37% by the red-hot Cougs, who are 13/27 from way outside. TRU has Reese Pribilsky with 21 pts/ 3 assts.   Box Score  

 at  MacEwan Griffins 82  UBC-Okanagan Heat  70  –  The Griffins force 18 turnovers from the Heat, and shoot 43% vs 36% for the visitors.  Keith Gerdes, with 17 points, and Denzel James with 16 lead the way for the 6-11 MacEwan. Aldrich Berrios is the game-high scorer for UBC-O (3-14) with 19 including 4/6 from outside, and he also records 3 assts/ 3 steals.   Box Score  

 

 CIS Games on Friday –

OUA –  In the ‘Capital Hoops Classic‘ on Friday –  #2 Carleton 79   #1 Ottawa 66 –  A big night for Tommy Scrubb with 29 points and 12 rebounds, plus 4 assists as the Ravens go up 11 at the half, only to see OU fight back to even early in the 4th quarter.  Carleton shuts down the Johnny Berhanemeskel hot streak there, however. Johnny ‘B‘ paces the Ponies with 28 pts/ 4 rebs/5 assists. Carleton has just 4 turnovers on the night and win the boards 43-35.  Ottawa retains top spot in the OUA North with a 14-1 record to 13-2 for the Blackbirds.  Box Score 

Also on Ontario –  #6 Windsor 78 at Laurentian 65,  Western 86 Nipissing 65, Lakehead 73 at Toronto  70,  Laurier 82  Algoma 62

AUS –  at UPEI  93   Acadia 91, at Cape Breton 91 Dalhousie 64,

Dinos – Bears Battle Thursday

 

Rivalry Game Can Change Fortunes

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

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

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

Phil B

Dinos Phil Barndt –                         Photo David Moll for UC

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

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

 

Friday / Saturday  in Canada West –

Brandon Tull, Regina

Brandon Tull, Regina –      Sportshooter photo

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

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

Huskies post man, Matt Forbes

Huskies post man, Matt Forbes

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

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

Jasper Moedt, UFV's top rebounder

Jasper Moedt, UFV’s top rebounder

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

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

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

 

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

Ottawa's Capital Classic on Friday

Ottawa’s Capital Classic on Friday

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

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

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

 

Overtime –

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

    John Dewar – Yester-year

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

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