CIS Top 10 – First Rankings

CIS Top 10 – First Rankings Reflect Past History

Ottawa is #1 in the opening Top 10 slate.

Ottawa is #1 in the opening Top 10 slate.

The obvious bias is for last season’s powerhouse teams to be ‘more reverently considered’ than the mere mortals who bob about in the wake of the G-Gs and Ravens.  But there is a case for a more objective evaluation.

Brock is undefeated in pre-season, including ‘good wins’ over Ryerson and Concordia.  McGill is 7-1, with a win on Ottawa’s home court. Carleton are the champs, yes, but they are 2-1 with a loss to Saskatchewan. The Huskies lost to Calgary, who were 6-1.

The problem can be that it is tough to make up ground when teams are placed ahead of you by 5 or 6 spots at the start line. The pre-season needs to have more impact on this year’s rankings, and the Top 10 can’t over-emphasize last season’s finish.

(Rankings are tough, however … these do include the teams who have had a strong October performance as well. It’s not easy to compare wins-losses vs different teams, especially early in the going.)

November 3/15 – Top 10

(regular season) / votes (1st votes) (pre-season)

1. Ottawa (0-0) / 401 points (11)          – 8-1

2. Carleton (0-0) / 372 (14) / (-)           – 2-1

3. McGill (0-0) / 365 (13) / (-)               – 7-1

4. Brock (0-0) / 336 (7) / (-) –               – 7-0

5. Ryerson (0-0) / 221 / (-)                  – 4-1

6. Western (0-0) / 186 (1) / (-)              – 4-0

7. Saskatchewan (0-0) / 165 (1) / (-)    – 6-2

8. McMaster (0-0) / 162 / (-)                – 4-1

9. Calgary (0-0) / 120 / (-)                    – 6-1

10. UBC (0-0) / 116 / (-)                       – 3-1

Other teams receiving votes: Dalhousie (37), Concordia (35).

 

Overtime –

  • Why is it that the schedule has teams repeating last season’s order of games?  UBC-Alberta, Winnipeg -Calgary, Manitoba-Sask., UVic-TWU, Brandon-Regina on the 1st weekend, again. Why can’t it be mixed up so that you see a different group of teams in each semester? It makes a difference when you play; a randomness to scheduling is much more fair and equitable.
  • Hoosiers 82   Gee-Gees  54  Tuesday, not at Montpetit Hall, as we reported, but , rather, the G-Gs were on the road at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN    … not a surprising score, with a November roadie rather than a August/September  home game.
  •   Brock opens at McMaster this week, and the Badgers have lost 14 straight to the Marauders going back to the 2009 season !
  • The Gateway, the U of A campus news, describes the ‘youth movement’ for the 2015-16 Bears.  Not sure how long we describe Alberta as being in the ‘post Jordan Baker era’. How about post Youssef Ouahrig season? They will miss their point guard, Joel Friesen, and Ken Otieno this year.  There’s still talent for the GBs, and they will stand-up and be counted.

Can Canada Qualify ?

 

 

Phil Scrubb, from Vancouver and Carleton U., will play for Canada in Mexico City.

Phil Scrubb, from Vancouver and Carleton U., will play for Canada in Mexico City at the FIBA America’s Olympic qualifying tournament.

FIBA Americas – Canada’s Shot

Canada’s National team, complete with 2 former CIS stars, Phil Scrubb and Aaron Doornekamp, both from the Carleton Ravens, tips off on Tuesday in Mexico City against perennial S. American power, Argentina in game 1 of their quest to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

Unknown

The Canadians, with 9 NBA players on their roster, including 6-8, Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota Timberwolves), 6-3 point man, Corey Joseph (Toronto Raptors), and 7-0 Kelly Olynyk (Boston Celtics), were 4-0 in the Tuto Marchand Cup ‘warm-up’ competition in Puerto Rico last week, and expectations are high for their chances of securing one of the two qualifying berths for the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro next year.

The 10 teams in Mexico City play 8 games each in a 9 day span, with 4 semi-finalists emerging.  Canada will need to win one of those semi-finals  in order to guarantee an Olympic spot; the last time they qualified was for the 2000 Games in Sydney, Aus.   All Canadian basketball fans wish the team well in this attempt.

There is a good feature article by David Ebner in Saturday’s Globe and Mail, highlighting the growth of Basketball, particularly in the Greater Toronto area.  For the scheduled television coverage of the FIBA Americas Tournament on TSN you can click here. 

 

‘Horns in Australia

Brandon Brine travels back home to Australia with his UL teammates.

Brandon Brine travels back home to Australia with his UL teammates.

The U. Lethbridge Pronghorns, under Coach Mike Hansen, are currently in Melbourne, Australia and getting an early start on their Fall training camp.  Where else ?!  Without talking with Coach Hansen , we can only assume the ‘Horns made that long and costly jaunt to a.) build a better recruiting bridge to a rich source of young basketball talent, b.) give a nod to  5th year star Brandon Brine, an Aussie national, c.) lure more recruits with the promise of future exotic travel with the ‘Horns, d.) escape the choking smokey air which has invaded S. Alberta over the past week !

We assume that the Lethbridge players will all be back on campus for the September 9 school start.  Our man in ‘L.A.’ points out that the ‘warm weather junket’ over the Christmas Holiday break will be to the Wesmen Classic in Winnipeg. (About 60 C colder ….)

 

‘Tweaking’, ‘Strengthening’, ‘Major-renovation’

There are years where some Canada West teams are fortunate enough to be tinkering with a few line-up changes in order to stay very competitive in the standings. This past Spring and early Summer, however, have seen more than the usual number of changes, as key players graduate (or just leave for other reasons), and their spots need to be covered-off.

Alberta, for example, are without stalwarts Ken Otieno and Joel Friesen, who completed

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson's 20 ppg, floor leadership, rebounding, and assists will be tough to replace for UC

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson’s 20 ppg, floor leadership, rebounding, and assists will be tough to replace for UC.

their 5 years last March. So we see Coach Barnaby Craddock adding 5 recruits, including 5-9 point man Colby Jackson from Las Vegas and 6-2 guard D’Wan Williams from Toronto.  Calgary will be without the graduated All-Canadian, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, but signed another Winnipeg high school ‘phenom‘ in Torrez McCoy, a 6-0 QB on the court, who will compete for minutes at the point as a rookie.

But many more CW coaches have been faced with the more difficult assignment  of

Huskies Ben Baker was Canada West Defensive Player of the Year ... and he could score !

Huskies Ben Baker was Canada West Defensive Player of the Year … and he could score !

making more extensive changes in order to bolster their rosters. Saskatchewan lost Ben Baker, Dadrian Collins, Mike Scott, Andrew Henry, and Conner Burns, so Coach Barry Rawlyk adds import guard and California Junior College star Shawn Lathan , San Diego  among others. UBC, who will be the host team for the CIS Nationals next March, are trying to fill major gaps left with the absence of Tommy Nixon, Tonner Jackson, Brylle Kamen, and Andrew McGuinness. Coach Kevin Hanson has been successful in landing 6-3 guard Taylor Browne  from Surrey, BC, 6-8  Patrick Simon (Port Coquitlam), a transfer from Simon Fraser, and several other solid looking prospects.

The Manitoba Bisons had 3 players graduate; Stephan Walton, Wyatt Anders , and Amir Ali were all key team members, and Coach Kirby Schepp also saw the need for more roster changes. We see the results of some hard recruiting work in the addition of 7 new faces for the Herd …  2 imports – former Brandon CW Rookie of the Year, point guard Ilarion Bonhomme of Washington, DC, and 6-6  forward Raheem Tyner  from Minneapolis, who transfers from Iowa Western Jr. College. Others include 6-6 fwd Joey Nitychoruk, a Winnipeg native, who transfers from Lakehead, a pair of 6-5 Winnipeg high school grads in  Dharmjit Dhillon and Raj Sidhu.  UM also signed guard Saajan Arora from Cambridge, ON, and 6-9 post, Osahon Eghosa  from Ajax, ON who played at Colorado Northwestern Jr. College.

Wholesale changes in Brandon this Fall.

Wholesale changes in Brandon this Fall.

But the champions of the off-season ‘Reno Competition’ have to be the Brandon Bobcats and Coach Gil Chueng, who return just 4 players from their 2-18 squad of 2014-15, D.J. Jordan, Earl Thompson Jr., Ryan Hawley and Denham Buchanan.  Coach Chueng says that we will see 10 new roster players including several red-shirts and 5 new signings including 6-11 post John Paul, a Saint Lucia import, 6-3 shooting guard, Chris Stanhope , a transfer from Fanshawe College in Toronto,  and 6-7 fwd Tyler Anderson  from Langley, BC’s Walnut Grove HS.

Both Fraser Valley and MacEwan signed 6 new players, as both teams graduated significant contributors from their teams last Spring.  This may be the most active roster-turnover recruiting period in the last 10 years in Canada West .  We will have more details as we get into training camps in the next couple of weeks.

 

Canada West Spring News

 

Canada West Meetings This Week  – Changes On the Way

David Wells honoured by induction to Sports Hall of Fame.

David Wells honoured by induction to Sports Hall of Fame.

  •  U. Calgary will be looking for a new Athletic Director, as Ron Wuotila announced his decision to resign in the face of an ill-considered and poorly staged implementation of a new ‘administrative model’ for the Dinos Athletic Program.
  • David Wells, Lethbridge,  a champion of school sport, from junior high, high school, college, and university, was honoured with induction into the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame this past weekend. Currently the Director of Sports programs for the Southern Alberta School Sports Assn., Wells has been a sports writer, athletic administrator, coach, and National Team Manager … and always the most knowledgeable fan of young athletes in his area for many years.
Impressive new facility at Victoria.  Photo - Times-Colonist, Adrian Lam

Impressive new facility for U.  Victoria.            Photo – Times-Colonist, Adrian Lam

  • Craig Beaucamp, UVic Head Coach, obviously pleased with the new Vikes home court which will be ready for play this summer, “This is probably the top university athletic facility in the country, and I’ve been in most of them,” said Beaucamp. “This is a great opportunity to help in recruiting players.”  From a Times-Colonist article by Cleve Dheensaw
  • Joe Scanlon, long-time journalism teacher, and the Ravens' biggest fan.

    Joe Scanlon, long-time journalism teacher, and the Ravens’ biggest fan. Photo – The Ottawa Citizen.

    We learned, sadly, of the passing of Joe Scanlon, who did so much to chronicle the feats of the Carleton Ravens basketball teams, and was a leading promoter of CIS basketball over so many years. His tireless efforts raised the profile of the sport, and provided rich commentary for all of us who cared about the game. Joe will be remembered for his exceptional, enthusiastic work, and by all of us who enjoyed corresponding with him, and learning so much from his experience and knowledge.

  • Graduates and ‘Undergraduates –  Canada West graduated some terrific student – athletes this Spring, including the Dinos classy guard, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, who is now checking out opportunities to play pro. There will be others in the pro ranks (mostly in Europe), with the likes of  Joel Friesen, Ben Baker, Tommy Nixon, and MVP, Chris McLaughlin, finishing up impressive CIS careers.  Some notables did not finish, however … UVic’s flashy import guard, Marcus Tibbs, left campus shortly following the CIS Nationals, indicating he will pursue other basketball opportunities  … Calgary’s promising guard,  L.J. Hegwood, did not complete his academic year, and he will not be back for the Dinos …  Brandon’s Ali-Mounir Benabdelhak leaves after his 4th year, returning home to the Montreal area.
  • The Brandon Sun reported that former Bobcats star, Jordan Reaves, will follow in his father’s footsteps, as he moves onto the football field.  Reaves a 6-4, 225 lb wing -man at BU, signed a contract with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  • The Canada West Governors will  continue to discuss and study different structures for League play at the upcoming annual general May meeting.  It’s obviously a big challenge to balance competition, tradition, and travel expenses; it is very difficult with a 17 team League ranging from 2000 student schools to some at 30,000 + .
  •   Latest Recruiting List (courtesy, Hoopstars Canada – Barry Hayes) …

    D'Wan Williams promises to add skill and flair to the Bears' roster.

    D’Wan Williams promises to add skill and flair to the Bears’ roster. Photo – North Pole Hoops

Alberta – 6’7″ pf Cole Knudsen (Barrhead, AB/Barrhead), 6’2″ sg D’Wan Williams (Toronto, ON/Oakwood), 6’1″ pg Jonah Weyessa (Edmonton, AB/Father Lacombe ’14)

Brandon

Calgary – 6’0″ pg Torrez McKoy (Grande Pointe, Manitoba/MBCI), Thomas Cooper – 6’5” (Chattanooga, TN) tsf from  C.C. San Francisco, U. Nebraska – Kearny.

Fraser Valley

Grant MacEwan – 6’3″ pg Chris Mooney (Ottawa, ON – transfer/NAIT; 10.3 ppg 2014-15) 6’7″ c Atlas St. Paul-Butler (Victoria, BC/Oak Bay), 6’6″ pf Michael Burnham (Winfield, BC/George Elliot)

Lethbridge – 6’9″ c Chris Maughan (Calgary, AB – transfer/Lethbridge College; 14.9 ppg, ’14-’15

Manitoba – 6’5″ pf Dharmjit Dhillon (Winnipeg, MB/Kildonan-East), 6’5″ sg Raj Sidhu (Winnipeg, MB/Kildonan-East), 6’2″ sg Saajan Arora (Cambridge, ON/St. John’s Kilmarnock)

Mount Royal – 6’6″ pf Nate Wall (Okotoks, AB/Holy Trinity), 6’4″ sg Tyis Yellowhorn (Piikani Nation, AB/Chestermere), 6’4″ sf Shay Foggo (Calgary, AB/Crescent Heights), 6’0″ pg Matt Gray (Victoria, BC/Oak Bay), 6’9″ c Brett Layton (Calgary, AB/Sir Winston Churchill ’09)

Regina – 6’7″ c Stephen Shields (Brandon, MB – transfer/Keyano volleyball ’11), 6’6″ pf Kolton Bellamy (Regina, SK/Balfour)

Saskatchewan – 6’6″ pf Devin Wittow (Leduc, AB/Leduc Composite)

Thompson Rivers – 6’2″ pg Jeff Tubbs (Kelowna, BC/Mount Boucherie), 6’4″ sf Evan Helgason (Kamloops, BC/Elev8 Sports Institute), 6’3″ sg Kaleel Faiz (Toronto, ON – transfer/Olds College; 22.5 ppg in 2014-15)

Trinity Western

Taylor Browne is a prized recruit for the T-Birds.

Taylor Browne is a prized recruit for the T-Birds.

UBC – 6’8″ c Roger Milne (Winnipeg, MB/Oak Park), 6’3″ sg Taylor Browne (Surrey, BC/Holy Cross), 6’8″ pf Patrick Simon (Port Coquitlam, BC – transfer/Simon Fraser; 10.6 ppg in 2014-15), 6’2″ pg Phil Jalalpoor (Shifferstadt, Germany – transfer/Olds College; 13.3 ppg in 2014-15)

UBC-Okanagan – 6’2″ sg Spencer Thomas (Pickering, ON/Pine Ridge)

UNBC – 6’4″ sf Anthony Hokanson (Vancouver, BC/Kitsilano)

Victoria – 6’5″ sf Jason Scully (Victoria, BC/St. Michael’s), 6’5″ sf Josh Charles (Duncan, BC/Cowichan), 6’5″ sf Tyus Barfoot (Nanaimo, BC/Nanaimo District), 6’1″ pg Graeme Hyde-Lay (Victoria, BC/St. Michael’s), 6’7″ pf Billy Yaworsky (Winnipeg, MB – transfer/Skagit Valley JuCo; 7.2 ppg in 2014-15)

Winnipeg – 6’3″ sg Kieran McGrath (Winnipeg, MB/Glenlawn), 6’3″ sg William Sesay (Winnipeg, MB/Oak Park), 6’6″ pf Frankie Tocci (Winnipeg, MB/Maples)

UBC and Victoria Get Home Wins

 

T-Birds Go Up One on UNBC

at UBC Thunderbirds  83  UNBC  Timberwolves  77 –  The T-Birds chalk up a win in game 1, despite a late flurry by the ‘Wolves (10-2 in the last 3:45), as they out-shoot UNBC  49% to 41%, and out-rebound the visitors 45-39, Where they really cash in is at the foul line, hitting 13/19 (68%) to just 5/9 for the ‘Wolves.  It’s a game with not too much form, as each team won 2 quarters, and defensive focus wasn’t there consistently.

Tommy Nixon led the ‘Birds with 23 pts/10 rebounds, and Tonner Jackson added 16 pts/6 boards.  Rhys Elliott was high man for the T’Wolves with 19, but had only 3 in the 2nd half. Nolan Hanson hit 5/7 off the bench for 13 points for the T’Wolves, who will have to find a way on Friday, or their season ends.  Box Score

 

Vikes Pull Away From Alberta in the 4thV Vike

at Victoria Vikes  77  Alberta Golden Bears  62 – For 3/4s, this looked like another tight one, destined to go to the final seconds; then the Bears offense went completely dry, with just 9 in the 4th stanza.  UVic were sharp down the stretch as Junior Sesay, a freshman, came in to tally 11 pts, while Player of the Year, Chris McLaughlin, wore out the GBs with 20 points and 15 big rebounds. Marcus Tibbs scored 16 for the Vikes and added 4 helpers.

Alberta had 15 from both Ken Otieno and Joel Friesen, but shot 39% as a team, and far worse than that in the last 10 minutes. Points in the paint were 40-22 Victoria, and the Vikes collected 13 from turnovers, while Alberta were credited with none (seems far-fetched) .  Alberta showed earlier on that they could play with UVic, but they’ll have to do it with more composure for the full 40 on Friday, or they’re done.  Box Score

In Quebec on Thursday –

Concordia 79  UQAM 65  in a cross-town Montreal game, which took the Citadins out of the playoff picture in the RSEQ.

Overtime –

  • We have a hunch that Ken and Kathy Shields will be in attendance on Friday to watch what might be the final game played by a Vikes  team (Men or Women), on the court named for the legendary husband and wife coaching duo.  Between them, they won 15 CIS National championships,  and 24 Canada West titles.  They’re both in too many Halls of Fame to count, and they accomplished all of this together, building their lighthouse programs at the venerable McKinnon Gym.
  • Series are not won in a single game, and  one night can be different from the last, especially when the teams have had a 12 day lay-off between games.  Expect a pitched battle in Victoria, and a most spirited effort from UNBC in Vancouver.  There are 4 games on Friday as the other 2 Quarter-Finals get started in Saskatoon and Abbotsford.
  • The AUS Tournament gets underway with 2 games on Friday in Halifax –  Dalhousie vs Cape Breton, and Memorial facing Saint Mary’s.  The winners will go on to play UPEI and UNB, the top 2 seeds, in Saturday’s Semi-finals, with the Final slated for Sunday.

Thursday – Bears-Vikes, ‘Birds-‘Wolves

 

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

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

Victoria and Alberta – Two Traditional Powers

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

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

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 2.24.32 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 2.24.53 PM

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

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

 

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

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

Timberwolves at Thunderbirds –  UBC  Has ‘Dynamic Duo’

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

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.39.14 AM

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 10.39.32 AM

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

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

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

 

 Canada West Men’s Basketball Individual Award winners:

 

Huskies Ben Baker- Defensive Player of the Year

Huskies Ben Baker- Defensive Player of the Year

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 2.51.00 PM

 

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?

Wesmen Falter, Dinos Benefit

 

 

  Friday Night  in Canada West –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Explorer Division … Cougars Can Snag 3rd, With Help

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

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

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

 

 CIS Scores from the East –

AUS …  #8 UNB 77   at St. FX 72

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

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

at Waterloo 91  Nipissing 64, Laurentian 73 at Laurier 65

 

Overtime –

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

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 !

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.