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.
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).
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 – 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
#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
#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
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.
- Former Bears player, Dinos Coach, and Saskatchewan Athletic Director (Boy, did
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.