CIS Final 8 Tips Off Thursday !


Connor Wood and the Carleton Ravens still have 'The Cup' until someone wrestles it away ! photo - Ravens Athletics

Connor Wood and the Carleton Ravens still have ‘The Cup’ until someone wrestles it away ! photo – Valerie Wutti, Ravens Athletics

1 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #1 –  Ravens on the way to another championship ?

#2 Carleton Ravens (OUA finalists) – The Ravens are  CIS champs for 11 of the past 15 years !  As such, there are many expert observers who suggest they are the team to beat again, here in Vancouver.  They lost a tight one to Ryerson, but that was at the Rams’ Carleton RMattamy Centre, and, if they were to see each other again in Sunday’s final this week, it’s on a neutral floor.
Meanwhile, they face another strong team in TRU, and it’s almost home turf for the ‘Pack, playing only a few hours drive from Kamloops.  With Interim Coach Rob Smart Jr. going 10 deep regularly, CU has experience, size, and the offensive pace and defensive intensity to take charge of a game very quickly.

Kaza Kajami-Keane is their floor leader at 6-1, and he’s a dynamic 2-way player, and a 1st team OUA all-star.
Guillaume Boucard, a 6-5 swing man, is  2nd team all-OUA, and 14.6 ppg / 5.5 rebs.
6-2 Gavin Resch, a senior leader, is a sharp-shooting guard,  with 10 ppg/ 45% from 3 pt range , while 4th year, Connor Wood is a big  6-4 guard, who has found  his shooting range of late, and can hit the open trey.
Carleton doesn’t figure to lose in the opening round, and should be considered a serious threat to ring up their 6th straight CIS title.

#7  Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack (Canada West finalists) – The Orange are breathing the rarified air this March, with their 1st appearance in a Canada West Final 4 and a trip to Nationals in their home province.  So, do they just ‘enjoy the trip’, or are they strong enough to stay with a team like the Ravens?

Coach Scott Clark had a veteran team, then added the muscular Ukrainian, Volodymyr TRU 'PackIegorov, to an already impressive set of forwards. Clark believes in this team, and has them playing extremely well, with a League record of 16-4, and win over UBC in  last week’s  CW Final 4. The Wolves are big, they shoot it well, and they have great court leadership from 5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, and 6-11 ‘small-forward’ Josh Wolfram.

6-6 Gerard Gore has shown that he is ready to step up and fight it out inside with bigger opponents, and Iegorov has the size and strength to rebound and defend, but also the shooting touch from any range.
TRU will also need ‘best games’ from the likes of 6-5 Luke Morris and 6-2 rookie guard, Jeff Tubbs, if they are to keep it close.  Not an impossibility, but betting against the ‘Blackbirds’ is a ‘bum’s game’.


Mike L’Africain, U. Ottawa’s OUA Player of the Year

3 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #2 –  Gee-Gees have the experience and the star-power

#3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (Wildcard team, 3rd in OUA) – The Gee-Gees have been vying with Carleton for Ottawa, OUA, and CIS honours for a few years now, and they’ve come up just short on many notable occasions. Coach James Derouin has one of the more experienced teams here, and will try and get the Ponies over that last hurdle with some outstanding seniors. Mike L’Africain was chosen the OUA player of the year,  can trigger a potent offense, and will hit the big shot.Ott G-Gs
Caleb Agada, the Gee-Gees’ all-Canadian forward,  missed 3-4 wks with an ankle injury, but has returned to form, and gives OU a cagey, tough, talented 2-way presence inside.  Agada is the top defender for Ottawa and the OUA defensive player of the year.
6-8, 4th year forward, Nathan McCarthy,  and 6-7, 2nd year, Brody Maracle   are ‘solid low post contributors’ (according to our Ottawa expert!) . Matt Plunkett is a 6-6 shooting wing man, who compliments L’Africain.

All three OUA teams are possible winners in this 2016 Final 8 Tourney, and they couldn’t be blamed for looking ahead to facing each other. Ottawa and Carleton, as they’ve done so many times recently, are on a collision course, with wins in the Q-finals, and we would flip a coin for that one.  But let’s give Dalhousie their due as AUS Champs, and don’t overlook them as a respectable opponent for the G-Gs.

Dalhousie Tigers (Atlantic Champions) – Dalhousie (according to our inside source in the Atlantic ) is a  … “tough,  quick, physical , and relentless squad. Nothing seems to phase them, and they seem to have been winning every close game in the AUS over the last season and a half .” Dal Tigers

Their Coach, Rick Plato, the AUS Coach of the Year, is in his 3rd season,  and took the Tigers to the Nationals  last year.  He was a CCAA Coach at Mount Saint Vincent for 25 years,  prior to joining Dal.

The Tigers change their defensive stripes throughout the game, with changeable alignments “ … including   3-2 and 2-3 zone,  full court 2-2-1 pressure , and a ‘kamakazie’ , denying, switching and trapping man defense they employ to disrupt and create turnovers in crunch -time.

Key players –  “ #22,  Kash Lawrence  is the  back to back AUS Tournament MVP , at 6’3”, he plays in the  paint with the shoulders of Dwight Howard ; he’s a great rebounder and finisher and tough as nails.”
“ #11 – Ritchie Kanza-Mata –  First Team AUS All Star,  and 2015 AUS Defensive Player of the Year; he  organizes his team and leads their pressure defense.”

“#7 – Sven Stammberger –  He is the most – improved player in the AUS this season, for sure;  had a 42 point game this year, and is their best 3 point threat from the ‘small-forward spot. “

“#12 – Jordan Acquino-Serjue, was the CEGEP MVP in 2015, and is AUS Rookie of the Year  this season. He is a solid defender and a  good pull- up jump shooter.”

The Tigers have had the ‘magic’ for the past 2 years in the Atlantic, but can they carry that into this tough match-up with an Ottawa team that was top-ranked going into the season last Fall, and who still look like contenders for the Championship here in March ?


Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos, Canada West's Most Outstanding Player photo- David Moll, UC

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos, Canada West’s Most Outstanding Player photo- David Moll, UC


6 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #3 –  Two League champs with contrasting styles

#5 McGill Redmen  (Quebec League Champions) – Both Coach Dave Deaveiro, Cadet National Team Head Coach,  and RSEQ Coach of the Year, and some of his team have had experience in this Tournament. The Redmen played in the Final 8 in 2013 and 2014.
McGill is one of the best defensive teams in the country, employing a ‘grind- it- out’  style, McGill Redwith switching defences being a main weapon.  Our Eastern scout tells us , “ They’ll  do whatever they can to make opponents feel uncomfortable, including a 2-2-1 (full-court press) back to match-up 2-3 zone or man.”  Coach Deaveiro says, “It’s probably the deepest team I’ve had at McGill and probably the most athletic team, so we’re able to do a few things we haven’t done in the past.  It gives you some options for doing things, so you’re not as predictable.”
Key players –  #23, 6-4, 5th year, Vincent Dufort – RSEQ 1st Team All Star, “ … he’s their ‘point forward’, and can do everything.”  – 10ppg, 8rpg, 2nd on the team in assists – Team MVP !
#4 – Jenning Leung, 6-1, 3rd year – the point guard is the leading scorer , at 12 ppg, a solid 3pt. shooter.
#3 – Dele Ogundokun, 6-2, – RSEQ Defensive Player of the Year, he scores 10.5 ppg
#21 – Tychon Carter-Newman, a 6-3 guard, in his 5th year – A former Laurentian University stand out , he’s a strong presence on the wing.
#12 – Noah Daoust, 6-7, 230 – “Originally committed to the USA now a super-sub – 6’9″ and their best 3 point shooter – He finishes most games and is an X-factor for McGill.”

#4  Calgary Dinos  (Canada West Champions) –  Having won their last 16 CIS games, the Dinos have a lot  of momentum and confidence entering this Tournament.  Calgary has not played McGill, but had losses to Ottawa and UNB at Christmas, while the Redmen beat the Ponies and the Reds in October.

That lapse in time has seen Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren solidify a substitution pattern Dinos14which has the Dinos going 10-11-12 deep in every game, with more players taking on significant roles week after week. UC has a ‘starting 5’  of  point, David Kapinga, combo guard, Josh Owen-Thomas, swing-man, Thomas Cooper, forward, Lars Schleuter, and post man Matt Letkeman.
From there, it’s a steady flow off the bench for, combo guard, Johnny Verrone,  guard/forward Jasdeep Gill, rookie guard, Torrez McKoy, forward, Dallas Karch, and post men, Mitch Ligertwood, Matt Ellis, and Connor Foreman.
Key players –  The 4th year import transfer, Cooper, leaps up, with his Canada West best scoring – 25.8 ppg, to go with 7.5 rebounds, and several timely assists each game. Schleuter , the Canada West Rookie of the Year in 2015, is a 3 point sniper (44.2%) who scores 12.5 ppg, and has become a solid defender inside, and an aggressive rebounder.   Kapinga, who grew up in Calgary then moved to Kentucky for part go high school, ‘walked-on’ last Fall, and has been a prime factor in the Dinos run, with his quickness and strength.
Calgary can score in bunches , and will test the vaunted McGill defense.  Two League champs teeing off, and we expect a very close, hard-fought quarter-final.



5th year wing man, Aaron Best, is a driving force for the OUA champion, Rams.

5th year wing man, Aaron Best, is a driving force for the OUA champion, Rams.                         photo – Ryerson Athletics

8 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #4 –  Can the host T-Birds knock off #1 Rams?

UBC Thunderbirds (Host, 16-4 in Canada West regular season) – The T-Birds last held this Tournament in 1972, when they won the Championship under Coach Peter Mullins, at War Memorial Gym.  In the 4 team event, the ‘Birds beat Acadia 87-80 in the final.  More recently, they have appeared in 2013, 2011, and lost in the Final in both 2010 (Saskatchewan), and 2009 (Carleton).  (You could say Coach Kevin Hanson is hungry for a title, after having knocked loudly on the door!)  UBC will be tough at home, although this is a ‘new arena’ setting, and not their cozy old War Memorial.UBC T-Bird
Key Players –  Jordan Jensen-Whyte is a 4th year wing man, who has ‘bulked-up’ from his days at the point. Leads ‘Birds scorers at 15 ppg (3.1 assts) with his attack -the -hoop style.
6-8, Conor Morgan, is a potential game breaker, who can score from anywhere … 14.8 ppg, he leads the rebounding at 7.3 rpg.
6-4 point man, Phil Jalalpoor, has stepped in this season and is the leading 3 point shooter (42.1%), and very efficient in running the offense.
6-8 post man, David Wagner, is a potent inside scorer, averaging 12.5 ppg / 5.5 rebs
The Thunderbirds key will be to make it a ‘ground game’ vs the speedier Rams, and to control the boards, allowing their attack to dictate the pace.

#1 Ryerson Rams (OUA Champions) –  In winning the Ontario Wilson Cup for the 1st time in their history, the Rams beat an extremely deep field of competitors, including the 5 -time defending CIS champs, Carleton, in the final . With their gaudy 89.3 ppg scoring average (tops in the OUA), the Rams will happily engage UBC in an offensive fireworks display!  The Rams have won 16 of 17 games (Guelph ?!) since the holiday break, and have played a very tough schedule in doing that. Unknown
Coach Patrick Tatham, the Ontario Coach of the Year,  goes 10-11 deep, with 5 players averaging in double figures, and they limit opposition teams to a 37% FG average at the defensive end.
Aaron Best leads the Rams’ scoring at 17.8 ppg plus 7.4 rebounds, and is an OUA 1st team all-star
Anika Peter-McNeilly is a 6-3 guard, who scores 15 ppg / 5.5 rebs, and is also a 1st team OUA all-star.
Ammanuel Diressa – a tough, 6-4  competitor at the guard spot, he’s a 2nd team All-OUA … averaging 14.9 ppg, 5.3 rebs, 3 assists.
Kadeem Green , at 6-8, is a defensive stopper in the middle … 7 rebs and 2 blocks a game
Their confidence is way up there, and they are primed to go deep in this year’s Final 8 Tournament.

Overtime –


  • UBC Thunderbirds’ Head Coach, Kevin Hanson, on the impact of hosting the CIS Nationals at UBC,  “When you think about it, it’s absolutely amazing that the last time the event was held at UBC was over four decades ago,” said Hanson, whose team sat at No. 6 in the national rankings this week. “That is a phenomonal amount of time to pass when you are trying to build a brand for CIS basketball in this country.  So we have to share our love of basketball … and the Final 8 is a tournament that needs to be shared.”  Nice story from Howard Tsumura in The Province. 
  • Ryerson Rams star, Aaron Best, after they win the OUA championship for the 1st time in school history.  ”It’s big for the university, it’s big for all of us, it’s big for the alumni, the players who’ve played here, it’s a testament to all the work that everybody’s put in,” said Best standing on the court post-game with the OUA banner draped around him. “Just to see this come to Ryerson and to win it this way
    Ryerson Coach, Patrick Tatham

    Ryerson Coach, Patrick Tatham

    is a really good feeling.”  From the ‘Eh Game’ – Yahoo Sports 

  • J-u-u-u-s-t in case there’s any confusion as to the goals / expectations of the #1 ranked Ryerson Rams going into this week’s CIS Championship, here’s Coach Patrick Tatham’s take on it, “I think the guys want a different colour medal, something other than the bronze medal we got last year at CIS finals,” said the interim head coach “The guys are hungry and they’re definitely ready to go.”  From The Star, Toronto
  • Torrez McKoy , Dinos rookie point guard, on the experience of playing in Nationals early in his career, “Just getting the opportunity to play as a rookie is really special and I don’t take it for granted either,” said McKoy. “It’s awesome how we have a group of guys where everyone can come off the bench and contribute. We don’t just have six or seven guys deep; we usually have 10, 11 guys. It’s hard not to feel the pressure because it’s everyone’s first time. But after that first couple of minutes from the first game, it’ll be easy from there.”  From Rita Mingo, The Calgary Herald

Dinos Claim Canada West Crown



First half scoring out-burst gives Calgary control

Calgary Dinos' Jasdeep Gill raises the Canada West Championship trophy as his teammates look on.

Calgary Dinos’ Jasdeep Gill raises the Canada West Championship trophy  as his teammates look on during post -game celebrations on Saturday..

Calgary Dinos  91  Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  84 –  In 2008, as were reminding ourselves recently, the Calgary Dinos lost both games as the host of that year’s Final 4, and did not qualify for the CIS Nationals.  It was a crusher, but, that was then, and this young, deep, and determined Dinos crew of 2015-16  didn’t carry that baggage into this weekend’s Canada West Championship Tournament.


Winning their 16th straight game and capturing their 6th Canada West crown was no simple task, however; once again spotting their worthy opponents, the TRU Wolf Pack, an early 10 point lead, Calgary played from behind.
But, as they had done last night, that turnaround was fairly quick, and UC led by a 25-21 count after 1st quarter. By that time, Coach Dan Vanhooren had employed 11 players, and he kept coming with fresh troops for much of the 30 minutes to follow. The ‘Pack, who Dinos14were the 16-4 Explorer Division winners, closed the gap later in the game, and took it to the home team with 48% field goal shooting, including 10/16  (63%) from 3 points range.
Thomas Cooper wove some magic in the 2nd quarter to help put Calgary up 53-40 at the break, with a series of nifty mid-range jumpers, and some angled kisses off the glass in traffic; the CW Player of the Year totals 24 for the game and has 4 rebounds/ 5 assists/ 2 steals.  Lars Schleuter did a lot of the heavy defensive work on Wolfram, and still shot it well, with 14 points including 4/7 from 3 point range, plus 6 rebounds. Mitch Ligertwood scored 12 points / 6 boards off the bench, and both Jasdeep Gill (3 steals) and Josh Owen-Thomas counted 11 points apiece.  David Kapinga was clutch for Calgary once more with his 9 points/ 7 assists/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals.
Gerard Gore, a solid 6-6 forward worked his way into the interior of the Calgary defense for many of his 22 points for the Orange, and he claimed 10 rebounds. Volodymyr Iegorov hit for 17 points , with 3/5 from outside, and Reese Pribilsky was 4/5 on his long bombs to score 14 plus 6 rebounds. Josh Wolfram was somewhat held in check by some good Dinos defending, as the 6-11, 5th year all-star counted 15 points and had 8 rebounds.
Calgary forced 17 TRU turnovers to 13 of their own, and they shot 13/15 from the line, with 9/9 by Cooper.
This is the 3rd Canada West win for UC under Coach Vanhooren, and, in a post game interview, Cooper credited the coach for ” …  having the confidence in me and my team.  This win means everything.  This is what we worked for, and we all played our part to get this done.”    Box Score


In the ‘3rd place game …

UBC Thunderbirds  101  Manitoba Bisons 72 –  The air was out of the Bisons’ tires as soon as they tipped this one off … 30-10 after 1 quarter.  UBC shoots 50% for the game vs 32% for the Herd.  It was a tough game to get the motivation meter beyond 3/10 for Manitoba, and UBC knew they were prepping for a big CIS Final 8 back home next week.
Conor Morgan scored 28 for the ‘Birds on a red-hot 7/8 from beyond the arc, while rookie guard, Taylor Browne kicked in 15, with 4/5 deep balls. 16/29 as a team from 3 point range will usually put you in good shape !
Keith Omoerah hit 13 points for Manitoba, and both A.J. Bas and Joseph Medrano tallied 12.  Box Score

More CIS Play-off action, Saturday –
Quebec Final – McGill Redmen 78  UQAM Citadins  67
Ontario , Wilson Cup Final – Ryerson Rams  73 Carleton Ravens  68   … and in the 3rd place game there, it was the Ottawa Gee-Gees  90  Windsor  Lancers 77.


Overtime –


  •  So we have our field of 8 teams for the CIS Nationals in Vancouver, March 17-20.  It’s Calgary, Thompson Rivers, and UBC from Canada West … Ryerson, Carleton, and Ottawa representing Ontario … the Quebec champs, McGill, plus the Atlantic Tournament winners, Dalhousie.
  • The CIS selection / seeding committee will make the wildcard selection (Ottawa) official on Sunday, and they will seed the field within a few prescribed guidelines –
    • Conference champions (Calgary, Ryerson, McGill, Dalhousie) must be seeded in the top 6 spots.
    • Trying not to match-up teams from the same conference on the 1st round.
    • The team’s record against all other teams in the championship.
    • Strength of schedule.
    • Playoff performance.
  • How about this, considering all those factors?
    •  1.  Ryerson  vs  8.  UBC
    • 2.  Carleton  vs  7. Thompson Rivers
    • 3.  Calgary  vs  6. Dalhousie
    • 4.  McGill  vs  5. Ottawa

Final 4 is a Big Step for Every Team


Nothing taken for granted as teams prepare for the Canada West Final 4

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The draw for the March 11-12, Canada West Final 4, at the University of Calgary, reflects the history of this 17 school League in each of the semi-finals.  We have the UBC Thunderbirds, a charter member of the original 6-team League (UBC, Victoria, Alberta, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saskatchewan) , facing the Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack, who joined in the 2005-06 season, the former Cariboo College.  The 2nd semi features the host team, Calgary Dinos, against the Manitoba Bisons, who, along with  Brandon,  Regina , and Winnipeg, joined in the 2001-02 season after playing in the  4 team Great Plains Athletic Conference prior to then.

The 4 coaches are all experienced at different levels, with both Calgary’s Dan Vanhooren and UBC’s Kevin Hanson having guided the Dinos and T-Birds for 16 seasons.  Scott Clark of TRU began at Simon Fraser, where he coached for 15 years, then moved to the Wolf Pack in  2010.  Kirby Schepp, the head man for the Herd since the 2009-10 season, was a successful high school coach and provincial team coach prior to moving to UM.

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UBC has won 2 National titles (1970, 1972), and they are 10-time Canada West champions, while Calgary have 5 League titles, but are are still chasing their first CIS crown.  Manitoba win the ‘CIAU’ Nationals in 1976, but have never won a Canada West championship.  This is the first time in the Final 4 for both the Bisons and the Wolf Pack.  We remind ourselves, however, that the players on these 4 teams in this particular season, are focused on their team and teammates, and not carrying the ‘weight of history’. It will be special for any one of the teams to win next weekend, and to qualify for the March 17-20, CIS Final 8 National Championship at UBC.  This anticipation and excitement is reflected in post game comments from several players –

Thompson Rivers’ 5th year, all-star forward , Josh Wolfram may have expressed it best –   “This is an incredible feeling,” Wolfram explained afterwards (following game 3 of last weekend’s Q-finals vs Regina). “When you look at where we were three years ago. This is a dream come true—to win a playoff series on our home court and head to the CanWest final four.  I can’t even describe the feeling.”  From Larry Read, TRU Athletics

Calgary’s David Kapinga and Josh Owen-Thomas , “This is huge,” admitted Kapinga. “At halftime (Saturday) we talked about the games we had previously, where we were down but then we picked it up. It’s really good to have a game like this … nothing is going our way. We’ve done it before, so let’s do it again. So confidence-wise it really helped us.”  “ … we know if we don’t have a strong quarter, we can come back from those deficits,” added Owen-Thomas. “Alberta’s a tough team. We’ve gathered a bit of momentum; we just have to keep it going in the Final Four.”  From Rita Mingo, Calgary Herald


Overtime –

  • And, in this corner !  OUA Semis match heavyweights … The Ottawa
    Can champs repeat ?

    Can Carleton do it yet again?

    Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens , last year’s OUA and CIS finalists, will meet Friday in one OUA semi-final at the Mattamy Centre of Ryerson U. in Toronto.
    The other semi has the host, Ryerson Rams vs the underdog, Windsor Lancers.
    The 2 OUA Saturday  finalists and a 3rd team (not necessarily the winner of the bronze medal game)  will be the OUA reps at CIS Nationals.


  • McGill hosts RSEQ Tournament –
    Semi-finals on Friday – Laval vs McGill ,  UQAM  vs Concordia
    Final on Saturday –  Winner to the CIS Nationals
  • Atlantic Championship Tournament –  On Sunday in Halifax, in the Championship game for the AUS, it was a thriller, with the Dalhousie Tigers nipping the PEI Panthers in the final minute …   Dalhousie 87  UPEI  85  
  •  The U of C is also hosting the Calgary High School Boys  City Finals on Friday and Saturday at the Jack Simpson Gym.  The Junior Finals are Friday – Div. 3 at 11 am, Div. 2 at 1 pm, and Div. 1 at 3 pm. The Senior Boys trio of Divisional Finals go at the same times on Saturday.

Two Weeks – ‘Do or Die’ Games



 Two weeks will decide playoff slate in Canada WestScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.48.24 PM

As we look at the slate of games ahead for this week, we are reminded how difficult it usually is to get a sweep in Canada West this season, with the parity in our League.  When the top 3 or 4 teams do win a pair, as we saw last week, it separates them from the pack.
Ergo … the UC Dinos snatch a nail-biter from U of L on Saturday, and now have a real shot at the #1 spot.  Manitoba Bisons, with 2 wins over Winnipeg,  finish up at  TWU this week, and appear to be solid in 3rd place with a predicted sweep. Regina Cougars made a big move by getting 2 from UVic, but they now have 4 competitive games, at Calgary, then at home vs the dreaded Huskies.

The UBC Thunderbirds come off a bye week, and head way East to Brandon for a series we might call a mis-match, but the ‘Cats will be wanting to spoil the party for the ‘Birds.  UBC is home vs Winnipeg to finish the regular season, and they could really de-rail the Wesmen in their run for the playoffs.

Lethbridge Pronghorns stay on the road, and they need at least a split in Winnipeg to secure 4th, assuming they can win 2 at home against Trinity W in the final week.  It gets very sticky at this point, as the Winnipeg Wesmen need 2 wins in their last 4 (home vs Leth., at UBC) to be higher than 7th, and 1 to get into that last slot.  Alberta Golden Bears have 3 games left, and need 1 win to get into the playoffs; the Bears are at Saskatchewan then home for 1 game vs Calgary; the U of S Huskies need 4 wins to finish, which will be tough against traditional rivals like U of A and Regina.  UVic Vikes do not control their own fate, and are most likely out of the post season, with a best record of 9-11 if they beat Brandon twice at home in the final week.

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Mac and Okanagan Duel for Third – Explorer DivisionScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 1.48.38 PM

We have a ‘must -win’ situation  for both UBC-O Heat and MacEwan Griffins this week, as they square-off for 3rd place.  It is likely to be one of 2 or even 3 series splits this week, with not much separating the teams, especially when you take home court in consideration .  The Heat taking 2 might be a surprise, but would lock it up for them, while MacEwan need to make up ground over the final 2 weeks just to get to a tie-breaker scenario.

The top 2 teams are in Abbotsford, and a split seems reasonable here, but only if Kevon Parchment is back in action for the Fraser Valley  Cascades as they face the 14-2 Wolf Pack of TRU.  UFV is 7-1 at home and 3-5 away, while TRU are 7-1 both home and away; the ‘Pack are favoured, but we see the Cascades vets answering the call here.

Mt. Royal Cougars have a chance to sweep at UNBC , but the T’Wolves showed on Saturday at TRU that they have some fight remaining, despite their 3-13 record and their injury woes.  The Cougars are 2-6 on the road, and need a big weekend to improve on that mark.

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The Payton Manning ‘Thanks to All My Teammates’ Awards

The opening week of February was, indeed, ‘The Turn For Home’ , with now just 2 weeks

Ilarion Bonhomme returns to the Herd, and will make a difference.

Ilarion Bonhomme returns to the Herd, and will make a difference.   photo – UM Athletics

left in League play.  We saw so many games last weekend  demonstrating how the ‘stars can truly shine’, and also how much the fate of the team depends on their lesser-known teammates, who come through with essential contributions in critical situations.

Keith Omoerah tallies 39 points, 25 rebounds, and 7 assists to drive the Bisons to a sweep in the Winnipeg ‘Derby’ … but let’s celebrate also the return to the Herd of back-up point man, Ilarion Bonhomme, who gives great experience and depth of scoring, leadership, and defense as the playoffs approach.

Thomas Cooper produces 51 points, many crucial hoops in the 4th quarter, along with 12 rebounds and 13 assists in 2 wins over Lethbridge … but outside shooters, Lars Schleuter and Josh Owen-Thomas go 14/23 from 3 point range for a major impact in a key series.

Mamadou Gueye is the ‘Big Bear’ at Alberta, with his terrific 55 point, 15 rebound, 7 assist series as the GB’s hold tight to the final playoff spot … we also give a nod to red-shirt rookie Brody Clarke, who is a steady force in the front line, as  he counts 33 points, 11 rebounds, 4 asst, 4 steals.

Jonathan Tull steps up again as the top offensive threat for the Regina Cougars, as his 47 points, 12 boards, 5 assists, and 6 steals propel the Cougs to a sweep of the UVic Vikes (their first such double over Victoria in ‘recorded history’) … Tull gets help from several ‘mates, including guard Alex Igual, who is double figures both nights, and the duo of Brian Ofori (17 pts/ 7 rebs) and Aaron McGowan (16 pts/ 8 reb/ 5 asst) , who came off the bench, into the breach, aiding in the big come-back on Saturday.

Fraser Valley splits their series at UBC-O, and they lose their all-star wing man, Kevon

UFV’s Manny Dulay is a key vet in the ‘small, but mighty’ Cascades line-up.

Parchment, for the Saturday game … however, the Cascades see  the return to form of two integral veterans, guard Manny Dulay (40 points, 10 rebounds), and big man Nate Brown, with 37 points and 11 rebounds  in the series.  Let’s hope we see Parchment recover, so UFV can field their best team down the stretch.

MacEwan have the dynamic Denzel James with his 48 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals in a split with Mt. Royal. The Cougars respond with their consistent pair in the post, James Lefebvre (36 pts, 13 reb) and rookie Brett Layton, the League’s top rebounder (10.4 rpg)  … off the bench for the Griffs, fortunately, comes Ryan Coleman, a veteran forward, who scores 15 points / 5 rebs Saturday in their win.  For MRU, the 1st year wing man, Neil Phillip displays his full range of talent, with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 3 blocks in the 2 games.

Pronghorns Bomb Bisons


Big shooting night for Olsen and Brine to lead Lethbridge

'Horns sharp-shooter, Rob Olsen bombs away vs Manitoba

‘Horns sharp-shooter, Rob Olsen bombs away vs Manitoba

at  Lethbridge  96 Manitoba  74 –  The Pronghorns win every quarter, and control this game at both ends, as they edge up to 7-4 on the season, close now to Manitoba’s 8-5. The deadly duo of Rob Olsen and Brandon Brine drives Lethbridge, as they hang one on the stunned Herd . 30 points on 13/17 for Olsen, and 27 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks for Brine, as the ‘Horns shoot 51% and out – rebound the Bisons 47-38. Justus Alleyn hit 9/18 for Manitoba on the way to 21 points, and Keith Omoerah scored 13, but U of M hit only 37% from the floor. Box Score



at # 8 UBC  78   Regina 57  –  Regina was willing, and, through much of the 2nd

 Punishing UBC defense wins a big one at home.

Punishing UBC defense wins a big one at home.

quarter, able to compete with the physical style of the T-Birds at both ends of the floor. But as the 1st half wore on, it was the foul total that climbed instead of points on the scoreboard for the visitors, and they go to the break down 41-34.

It wa UBC’s vigorous 2nd half defense that limited the Cougars to 31% field goal shooting, with UR stalwarts like Jonathan Tull (1/8), Brandon Tull (3/12), Aaron McGowan (1/8), and Will Tallman (0/4) not getting the good chances or the finish. The ‘Birds move on to 10-3 with a decisive team lock-down of Regina.

Conor Morgan was big for the Thunderbirds  in scoring 22 points including 3 treys and a couple of emphatic dunks plus 10 rebounds. He had guard, Jordan Jensen-Whyte, adding 18 points and 6 rebounds, as he and big post man, Patrick Simon, (17 pts) combined for 12/14 free throws, in attack mode in this key game. Regina were led by13 points from import guard, Alex Igual, and 12 off the bench by forward Brian Ofori. The Cougars, who fall to 7-4 , were seriously out-rebounded by UBC 52-32, and it may not be good news for new post man Rawane Ndiaye, who plays just 4 minutes, and collects 4 fouls and only 2 points/ 0 boards.  Box Score


A great 39 point game from Lucas Mannes for TWU, but still no wins!

A great 39 point game from Lucas Mannes for TWU, but still no wins!

# 7 Calgary 108  at Trinity Western 86 –  At the half, the Dinos lead by 5, but Trinity are in it through the 23 point explosion by guard Lucas Mannes. Calgary comes out running in the 3rd, and they rack-up 37 points to seize a 17 point lead, and spread the playing minutes around in the 4th. Thomas Cooper scores 23 and adds 7 rebounds and 3 assists, while Josh Owen-Thomas (16 pts), Lars Schleuter  (14 pts) , and Dallas Karch (13) combine for 10/17 from 3 point range.   Before fouling out in the 4th quarter, Mannes totals a game-high 39 points for TWU, as he hits 7/13 from way outside, and Vartan Tanielian is sharp from beyond the arc, at 5/9 for 17 points.  Calgary are now 11-3 , and Trinity, at the other end of the standings, 0-11 for the season.  Box Score

  at  Winnipeg 78  Victoria 70 –   Winning  their 5th of the last 7 games, the Wesmen hand the Vikes their 6th of their 8 most recent starts, and this is a game-changer for both teams. The Ws have their heads above water, at 6-5, while Victoria (7-6) is losing ground steadily since getting off to a good start in the Fall. UW wins tonight by establishing a 38-23 lead at the half, then coasting  in until a late trey by Uvic’s Jordan Charles gets the visitors to within 3.  But 5 straight Winnipeg free throws seals the deal, as Jelane Pryce flashes his ‘A’ game, with 24 points/ 9 rebounds to lead the way. Denzel Lynch -Blair added 19 and 5 assists / 4 steals, while William Sesay retrieved  12 boards to lead both teams.  Grant Sitton had a 12 point / 11 rebound double for Victoria, and Charles led UVic scorers with 16 plus 6 rebounds.  The Vikes shot 7/7 from the free throw line, but 13/17 gave the Wesmen an edge there. Box Score

Alberta  72  at Brandon 65 –  The Bears defense stifles the Brandon attack, as the home team shoots just 28% from the floor.    A 3rd quarter surge by  Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke, both of whom score 9 points in that frame, gives U of A an 11 point cushion, and BU could not catch up. Alberta evens their season’s mark to 6-6, as the red-shirt rookie, Clarke, has a huge 30 point effort, adding 6 boards, while Gueye scores 20, with 9 rebounds. Earl Thompson Jr. notches 28 points for the Bobcats, but that doesn’t prevent their 11th loss in as many Canada West League games.   Box Score


Saskatchewan has the bye this week.


Aldrich Berrios and the Okanagan Heat get a win at UNBC, and move to 3rd alone.

Aldrich Berrios and the Okanagan Heat get a win at UNBC, and move to 3rd alone.

UBC-Okanagan 72 at  UNBC 50 –  Okanagan builds their lead slowly, then fashion a 25-12   3rd quarter to guarantee the big win, as they move to 6-7 and sole possession of 3rd place.  The T’Wolves are just out of synch without their injured floor leader, Billy Cheng, and they connect on only 32% from the field for the night. Aldrich Berrios leads UBC-O with 20 points / 8 rebounds / and 7 assists, and Spencer Thomas impresses with a 10 point / 10 rebound double.  UNBC (3-10) have Colin Plumb with 15 points and 6 rebounds, and Marcus MacKay scoring 13. Box Score
 at #9 Thompson Rivers 85  Mt. Royal 79 –   The Wolf Pack simply out-shoot the Cougars in a very competitive game, and the Explorer leaders move to 11-2, while MRU drop back to 5-8.  Mt. Royal are strong on the boards, grabbing 48 to 30 for TRU, but 21 turnovers by the visitors give extra chances to the ‘Pack shooters. Thompson Rivers’ forward Josh Wolfram hits 27 and takes 6 boards, while Reese Pribilsky has 25 points, 4 assists, and 5 steals. The Cougars have 4 in double digits with 17 from Glen Yang and a 15 point / 10 rebound double from Brett Layton.  Box Score

Fraser Valley 80  at  MacEwan 77 –  UFV (9-4) get a valuable road win, narrowly  escaping from a spirited Griffins charge in the 4th quarter.  Thadius Galvez  cashes a 3 for Mac to get within 3, but 2 more long range chances miss for Galvez, and the Cascades survive. Kevon Parchment continues to tear it up for Fraser Valley, with a double of 20 points/ 12 rebounds, while Manny Dulay looks sharp with his 18 points and 7 assists. ( Vijay Dhillon is back for the Cascades, and his deft shooting will give a lift to their offensive production.)  Chris Mooney has another good outing for MacEwan (5-8), as he scores 17, plus 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals. Box Score


Western copy

Mustangs beat # 3 Brock in an impressive road game for Western.

CIS Scores –

Earlier this week …  Concordia upsets McGill 95-83 in overtime,  McMaster blasts Windsor 106 -74 in Hamilton.

Western surprises #3 Brock 72-61 right there in St. Catherines, ON, and the woes continue for St. FX, as they are beaten 84 – 75 by Acadia in Wolfeville, NS  .


Friday night scores –
 Atlantic- Acadia 82 at St. FX 74 , at Dalhousie 78 St Marys 73,  at UPEI  94 UNB  75
Quebec – Laval  75 at Bishops 68
Ontario –  The big game – #5 Ryerson 79  #2 Carleton  61 , as the Ravens lose their 2nd straight.   #1 Ottawa 87 at Toronto  61,   at Laurentian 77  Waterloo 70,  Laurier 73 at Nipissing 72


Overtime –   

  • TRU Head Coach Scott Clark, speaking of his sense of how the 10-2 Wolf Pack season has and will progress, ”I think we’re playing OK. We can and we will get better. The guys have done a great job. We’ve played four home games since Oct. 20 or something like that. To play at a pretty good level and be on the road for that length of time, that takes some toughness. I’m proud of that.”   From Adam Williams, Kamloops This Week.
  • Sheriff Abdur-Raheem is the headline NBA star, as UBC is the site for Saturday’s continuation of the NBA All-Star Challenge, the traveling promo event for the Toronto Raptors’ hosting of the Feb. 14 NBA All-Star game. At MacEwan U. in Edmonton, it’s former all-star guard, Jason Richardson, as the headliner for the N. Alberta event scheduled for the same Saturday, Jan. 23 date.  At half time of UBC-Regina and MacEwan-UFV, the NBA Challenge regional finals will be run, with winners going to Toron to four the National finals in the skills competitions.
  • Mike Hansen,  U of L Pronghorns Head Coach, prior to the UM series in Lethbridge, “This is a great group, these guys are really grinding, they’ve fought through a lot of adversity this season,” said Hansen. “We play six of 10 at home here and we’ve said all season we have to win our home games and this is a chance to do that.”  From the Lethbridge Herald
  • Winnipeg Coach Mike Raimbault isn’t one to look too far ahead in his W wesmenschedule, but he has commented positively on his team’s extended home-stand starting this week vs UVic.  Winnipeg’s Duckworth Centre will be the welcome home base for the next 4 weekends for the Wesmen; “It’s kind of funny the way the schedule worked out,” says Raimbault, “but we’ll take it and run with it.”  The line-up of teams is tough (Victoria, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Lethbridge), but they’re all coming to downtown Winnipeg, and that is a bonus for the Ws.  The Wesmen do  finish at UBC on the final weekend of League play, so taking full advantage of home court is a must for their playoff hopes.



Huskies Clip ‘Horns in OT


Huskies and ‘Horns go down to the wire in Saskatoon –

Huskies' Shawn Lathan connects on a game-winning OT trey.

Huskies’ Shawn Lathan connects on a game-winning OT trey.  photo – Huskies Athletics

 at Saskatchewan 90  Lethbridge  89  –   The Huskies (4-8) catch Lethbridge (6-4) late in the 4th quarter, with some ‘Horns turnovers leading to hoops from Chan DeCiman and Shane Osayande, but the ‘Horns get it to OT with a last second 3 point shot from Rob Olsen.  Shawn Lathan returned the favour at the end of OT, with a winning trey at the 20 second mark, then Shane Osayande blocks a shot to preserve the win for U of S. 5 Sask. players in double figures with 18 each from Lathan and Osayande, who also adds 8 rebounds. The Huskies get  26/35 free throws vs just 12/15 for the visitors, as Lethbridge shoots 50% from the floor to 35% for the Dogs, and still lose !. UL are led by 22 points from Rob Olsen, who is 4/6 from outside,  19 points/8 boards by Dejon Burdeaux, and 17 / 9 rebs by Brandon Brine.  21 Lethbridge turnovers hurt their cause, and they lose the rebound battle 41-34.   Box Score

 UBC 76  at Manitoba 66 –  The 2nd game to UBC, and a split for the series (prophetic on Coach Hanson’s part ….) The T-Birds get off to a sprint start at 20-9 after 10 minutes, and their defense squeezes Manitoba enough that the Herd hit only 31% on the night. UBC (9-3) hits 8 treys vs 3 for UM, and the ‘Birds scoop 50 rebounds against 44 for the Bisons. Phil Jalalpoor leads the visitors with 19 points/ 5 rebs/4 assts, while Jordan Jensen-Whyte scores 18 / 5 assts, and Conor Morgan hits 14 and snares 10 boards. Manitoba (8-4 )  have 4 players in double digits, led by 18 from Justus Alleyn, 17 by A.J. Basi, and 10 points / 11 boards from Keith Omoerah. Box Score

  Victoria 66  at   Alberta  60 –   Another split of competitive teams, as the Vikes (7-5) capitalize on a 48-36 rebounding margin and very careful ball-handling with just 4 turnovers. poor Cold shooting from the floor with good defensive efforts from both teams (35%-34%) , but, with no D at the free throw line, the Bears are 12/14 and UVic goes13/15. Victoria got 16 apiece from Grant Sitton and Jordan Charles, along with 15 points/ 8 rebounds by Mack Roth.  Alberta (5-6) were led by 16 points and 9 boards from Mamadou Gueye, and 13 / 6 rebs by Brody Clarke.   Box Score

Thomas Cooper's 28 points vs Brandon keeps Calgary atop the Pioneer.

Thomas Cooper’s 28 points vs Brandon keeps Calgary atop the Pioneer.   photo – David Moll, UC

Calgary 85  at  Brandon 79  –   The Dinos trail for much of the game, in fact through until the 5 minute mark of the 4th, as the ‘Cats, led by D.J. Jordan looked ready for the upset.  Calgary (10-3) went on a 14-6 run to finish the game, with key defensive stops, and some clutch play by Jasdeep Gill, Josh Owen -Thomas, and Thomas Cooper.  Cooper, who had only 11 on Friday, buried 28 tonight, and added 5 boards and 6 assists. Owen-Thomas and Lars Schleuter each scored 11, as UC hit 44% FG and 19/26 free throws. BU’s Jordan filled it up for 3/4s, and netted 29 for the night , while Troy Grant hit for 22/ 6 rebs/ 3 assts/ 5 steals, but Brandon loses their 10th straight. Box Score


TRU pulls out a tight win at MacEwan

Thompson Rivers 71  at  MacEwan 69  –    The Wolf Pack (12-2) have to overcome a 5 point deficit after 3/4s, and they get key hoops from both Volodymyr Iegorov and Reese Pribilsky to do just that.  MacEwan (5-7) had their chances, but cooled off in the last 5 minutes to slide back to 5-9 on the season. Josh Wolfram was the high scorer for TRU with 21 points / 8 rebounds, while Iegorov counted 15 points / 10 boards, and Pribilsky hit 17 pts/ 7 assists. The Griffs got 16 points / 10 rebounds from Thadius Galvez, and 17 points / 7 boards / 3 steals by Denzel James. Box Score

at Mt Royal  79  UBC- Okanagan 57  –   The home-standing Cougars go up 42-22 at  the half, and that’s virtually the match, as MRU   get a weekend sweep and a share of 3rd place in the Explorer with the Heat and MacEwan at 5-7.  Okanagan hit a paltry 28% from the field, and commit 19 costly turnovers in the loss.  Brett Layton scores 19 and rips 12 rebounds for MRU , and he gets help from his post partner, James Lefebvre, with 17 plus 5 boards. Mitch Goodwin was the game’s high scorer for UBC-O at 22 points, but no other Heat player approaches 10.   Box Score  

at Fraser Valley 62  UNBC  47  –  Strong defensive play by the Cascades to win convincingly for the sweep, and move up to 8-4 for the season. UNBC is flirting with a non-playoff season at 3-9, having dropped 3 straight, as they shoot only 32% vs 46% for UFV. 16 points each from Kevon Parchment and Nate Brown, and 11 rebounds from Parchment for his 2nd double-double of the weekend. 10 points from Austin Chandler was the highlight for Timberwolves.  Box Score

CIS Scores on Saturday –
Atlantic-  at UPEI 92 Acadia  90 , UNB 86  Dalhousie 71, Memorial 109  at                 Saint Marys 105  ,    St. FX at Cape Breton  ppd, weather
Quebec –  Concordia  71  UQAM  66, Laval 73  McGill 52
Ontario –  Ottawa 75  Carleton 73 , Ryerson 97  Queen’s 81,  Windsor 87  Algoma 80,  McMaster 105  Laurier 81, Brock 81  Waterloo 69 , Nipissing 84  Laurentian 73

Overtime – 

  •  A.J Holloway, the T-Birds 4th year guard from Tacoma, WA (Bellevue C.Coll) is starting to live up to the promise he showed as a Jr. College star in Washington.  “Over the holiday, on our California trip, A.J. really played well, and we see him as a bigger contributor in the 2nd half of the year”, said Coach Kevin Hanson.
  • In a conversation prior to the weekend’s play, Coach Hanson suggested that
    UBC bench boss, Kevin Hanson.

    UBC bench boss, Kevin Hanson.

    these double-header weekend series are not his favourite scheduling method.  Says the 16 year Thunderbirds head man, “It’s tough for 2 teams who are fairly evenly matched to play a repeat game the next night. If you win the 1st game, you feel you’ve accomplished your goal,  and it’s hard for the players to come back with the same intensity.”  Hanson says he much prefers the ‘split-weekends’, for example, playing 1 vs Manitoba , then 1 against Winnipeg.  Better for the fans and the teams. Coach Hanson points out, “We’re the only League in the CIS that does this consistently, and it hurts us, even in the National rankings.”  He adds, “Do you think Carleton and Ottawa would want to play on back-to-back nights?”   (More on CW scheduling later in the season).

UBC-O, MRU Claim Upset Wins

Explorer Division Leaders Get Dusted Saturday

Aldrich Berrios leads the Heat to a big home win.

Aldrich Berrios leads the Heat to a big home win.

at UBC-Okanagan   62  Thompson Rivers 57  –   UBC-O shock the Explorer leaders with a great team defensive effort, as they even their record to 5-5, and drop TRU back to 8-2. The Heat stifle the TRU attack in the final frame, limiting the ‘Pack to only 7 points.  The home team also win the rebound battle against the bigger Wolf Pack 40-37, and hit 10 treys to just 3 for the visitors. Aldrich Berrios was the top scorer for the Heat with 18, including 4 treys, and Mitch Goodwin added 15 with 3 long bombs. Thompson Rivers shot just 36% , and had Volodymyr Iegorov with 13 as their leader. Box Score

Mt. Royal  86  at Fraser Valley   71   OT –  A huge win for MRU (3-7), as they blitz the

Brett Layton wears out the UFV defense in a big Cougars win Saturday.

Brett Layton wears out the UFV defense in the Cougars OT win on Saturday.            photo – MRU Athletics

Cascades 20-5 in the extra frame. (The bigger story might be the strange ending to this game – see Overtime)  UFV hit 10 treys to the Cougars’  3, but the visitors cash 17 free throws compared to 11 for Fraser Valley (6-4), and the visitors win the rebounding over their bigger hosts 61-51, on a cold shooting night for both teams. Mt. Royal almost lost it at the line , as they hit just 44% of 36 chances. Brett Layton scored 22 points and had a monster 24 rebounds to lead MRU, and James Lefebvre contributed 19 points/ 5 boards. Manny Dulay was high for the home team with 19, including 5/7 from 3,  while Kevon Parchment rang up 12 points / 16 rebounds, and Vijay Dillon scored 18.  Box Score

MacEwan 72  at UNBC 70  –  The Griffins celebrate a hard-fought sweep at UNBC, as Thadius Galvez makes a buzzer -beating jumper for the  clutch win in game 2. Ryan May had a big night for Mac, as he scores 24 points / 6 rebounds, and Galvez tallies 13 points/ 4 assists .  MacEwan (5-5) is hot from the floor at 53%, while the T’Wolves are just 35% themselves. UNBC (3-7) stays close with a big 19/27 from the line vs 9/15 by the Griffins. Both Billy Cheng and Rhys Elliot score 17 for the Timberwolves. Box Score


T-Birds Sweep Pronghorns to Stay on Top of the Pioneer

Jordan Jensen-Whyte leads UBC to a 2nd win over Lethbridge this weekend.

Jordan Jensen-Whyte leads UBC to a 2nd win over Lethbridge this weekend.

at UBC  85  Lethbridge  79  –   This is a close one most of the way, as Lethbridge hangs tough, but can’t close the gap in the late stages. The sweep gives UBC a Pioneer Division lead at 8-2, and the ‘Horns return home with a 5-3 mark. UBC won this game at the foul line with 21-26 made against a mere 7/8 for the visitors. Both teams speed their scoring around with 5 players from each team scoring 10 or better, with Jordan Jensen-Whyte tops for the ‘Birds with 16 plus 7 assists, and Jared Baker notching 16 for the ‘Horns, who were out-rebounded 43-25 on the night. Box Score

at Calgary 83  Saskatchewan 78  –   Another grind- it -out type of game between these 2 teams , as it resembled Rugby more than basketball at times.  Fouls hurt Saskatchewan, as the Dinos go to the line 33 times and convert 27 (82%) vs 18/20 for the ‘Dogs.  Thomas Cooper hit 21 points and snared 9 boards for Calgary, and Josh Owen-Thomas had 18 points.  The Huskies have 5 players in double digits, including 14 points and 17 big rebounds from a most impressive Shane Osayande.  He got help from 15 points apiece by Jauquin Bennett-Boire and Chan DeCiman.  The Dinos move up to 8-3, while U of S drop further to 3-7. Box Score

Manitoba  65  at Victoria  59 –  This is not the score we might expect in a Bisons win over UVic, but it is big for Manitoba to get the split, as they give the Vikes only 24 points in the 2nd half. Victoria are ice cold from the floor at 31%, and shoot just 8/11 from the free throw stripe vs 17/31 for the Herd. Manitoba didn’t shoot it well either, at 36% from the floor. 17 each by A.J Basi and Justus Alleyn paced the Bisons (7-3), while Keith Omoerah worked hard for 15 rebounds, and U of M grabbed 56to UVic’s 39.  The Vikes (6-4) had 18 points from Mack Roth and 14 by Brandon Dunlop.   Box Score

at Regina  95 Trinity Western  72  –   The Cougars light -up the Spartans early, taking a 54-30 lead at the break, and putting it on auto-pilot in the final 20 minutes to secure their 6th win. 5 players in double figures for Regina with 18 points and 4 steals from Brandon Tull, and a superb 14 rebound/ 17 point game from Brian Ofori. TWU had trouble mounting an offence, as they hit just 31% from the floor. Kelvin Smith stood out for the Spartans as he registers 22 points and 5 rebounds. The 2nd game in this series is Sunday in Regina . Box Score

at  Winnipeg  80  Brandon  59 –  The Wesmen get the sweep of this home and home set, with Denzel Lynch-Blair their leading scorer again with 19 plus 7 rebs/5 assts. Jelane Pryce adds 17 for UW, who are now 5-5. Brandon fall to 0-8, as they shoot only 32% FG, and have earl Thompson Jr. as their high man with 11 points.  Box Score  


Other CIS Scores –
Atlantic – at UPEI   104  Saint Marys   82 , UNB 100  at St. FX  83 ,  at  Memorial  86  Acadia  83
Quebec –  Montreal  83 at Bishops  72
Ontario –  Western  at Guelph  ,  (Non-league)  McGill  70 at Queen’s  61 ,  at Brock  86  Windsor 79


Overtime –

  • An incredible, impossible ending to the Mt. Royal at Fraser Valley game  Saturday in Abbotsford; first for the last second, throw-it-up 3 pointer by Manny Dulay to get the Cascades into overtime.  But the true oddity was the foul out of 5 of the  8 players dressed by UFV, leaving them 3 on 5 against  the Cougars in the extra time. “We really didn’t know what to do”, said MRU Coach Marc Dobell. ” Our guard would dribble right to the hoop, and, because their guys didn’t want to foul (and forfeit) , they virtually let us score in the last 2 minutes.”  Not something we’ll see every day!

‘Birds Fly Away From ‘Horns


Thunderbirds Claim Top Spot With Sharp Offensive Display

at UBC  95  Lethbridge 73 –   UBC flew past the visiting Pronghorns with a 31 point 2nd  quarter, and scored 50 in the 2nd half to ice a key win to tip off the 2nd half of the schedule. The Thunderbirds sit on top of the Pioneer Division with a 7-2 mark going into Saturday’s 2nd game of this series.  Once they got the offense rolling, it was all T-Birds, with 4 players in double digits, led by Phil Jalalpour’s 19 points, 16 plus 8 boards from Patrick Simon, and 15 points each by David Wagner and Conor Morgan. Jalalpour, the import guard, hit 5/7 beyond the arc as UBC shot 51% from the floor vs 40% for Lethbridge.  Zac Overwater scored 14 for the ‘Horns (5-2), with Rob Olsen adding 12.   Box Score

at Calgary 73 Saskatchewan 68 – An excruciating game for the first 3/4s , then the Dinos finally found a hot hand in 5th year guard, Josh Owen-Thomas, who hit some clutch shots, including 2 treys to keep Calgary close to a game Saskatchewan crew. Neither team shot it at all well for the game, with UC at 35% and the ‘Dogs with 36%.  The 4th had most of the fire -works, as Calgary’s Thomas Cooper scored 12 of his game high 22 points, and Owen-Thomas chipped in with 13. The Dinos benefited from a cleaner ball-handling game than the Huskies, with just 8 turnovers to a cruel 22 for U of S.  Shane Osayande, the 6-7 post man, who had missed the first half of the season with injury, was strong for the visitors, scoring 20 points and hauling in14 big rebounds. Jauquin Bennett-Boire and Evan Ostertag scored 11 each, but they, like their ‘mates had a cold shooting night.  Box Score  

at Victoria 85  Manitoba  77 –   After leading 41-34 at the half, he Vikes allow the Herd to catch them in the 4th, but Manitoba has nothing in OT, as UVic cruises 10-2 there .  A very solid effort at home for Victoria (6-3) , as they shoot 48% FG and 20/23 (87%) from the line, while turning it over just 9 times. 28 points from Grant Sitton to go with 11 rebounds sparks the Vikes, who also get 20 points from Mack Roth, and 11 pts/ 12 rebounds by Reiner Theil. Manitoba, also now 6-3,  are led by 17 apiece from Brett Jewell and A. J. Basi. Box Score

Thursday, in game 1 of their home and home series,  Winnipeg 83 at Brandon 72    Despite 30 points from the Bobcats Earl Thompson Jr.,  the Wesmen get a road win to move to 4-5 on the season.  Denzel Lynch-Blair was the offensive leader for the Ws, with 25 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals, while big post man, Ryan Oirbans posted a strong double-double of 13 points/14 rebounds. The game breakers were the Winnipeg advantage of 21/28 free throws vs the Bobcats slim 4/8 from the line, and the messy 30 turnovers by Brandon, leading to 27 Wesmen points.  Game 2 goes Saturday in Winnipeg. —  Box Score


Explorer Division

Cascades Open Smartly at Home vs Cougars

UFV's Kevon Parchment's complete game leads the Cascades.

UFV’s Kevon Parchment’s complete game leads the Cascades.

at Fraser Valley  89   Mt. Royal  75 –  The combination of a hot-shooting Fraser Valley team (51% from the field), and 24 Mt. Royal turnovers spelled disaster for the visiting Cougars. Kevon Parchment had another stellar night with 28 points and 14 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 steals.  The ‘Swiss-Army knife’ of CW basketball!  Manny Dulay adds 19 for the Cascades  (6-3) on 5/10 from 3 point range. MRU (2-7) got 19 points and 11 rebounds from their impressive rookie post, Brett Layton. Box Score 

Thompson Rivers 69 at UBC-Okanagan 57 –  Not a particularly compelling win by the ‘Pack, but they don’t all have to be ‘Rembrandts’!  TRU shoots 45% from the floor to just 32% for the Heat.  Volodymyr Iegorov leads the Wolves with 23 points and 11 boards, and Josh Wolfram, in a relatively quiet effort, adds 13 and 6 rebs.  Aldrich Berrios, characteristically, is a stand-out for UBC-O with 19 points, 5 rebs/ 2 assts, but no other Heat player hit 10 points or more.  Box Score
MacEwan  74  at UNBC  59 –   The Griffins (4-5) grab some attention with this impressive road win, as they jump all over UNBC defensively, limiting the T’Wolves to 33% shooting on the night.  Mac, on the other hand is warm, with 49% FG, led by Thadius Galvez with 19 points/ 5 rebs, and Denzel James’ 18 plus 7 boards.  Rhys Elliott scores 22 for UNBC (3-6), and Colin Plumb hits for 16 plus 7 rebounds, but no one else really made a dent for the home team. Box Score


Other CIS Scores –
Atlantic – Saint Marys 80  Dalhousie 64, Dalhousie  82  St. FX  67 ,  UNB  84              Cape  Breton  83,
Quebec –  Montreal 70  Bishops  44, Laval  68  Concordia  60 … and, on Friday          Laval 71 Concordia 62
Ontario –  Toronto 72  York 70

Overtime –

  • Scott Clark, TRU Head Coach, on his club’s 1st place, 7-1 record,  “What you did before Christmas is just posturing for the most part. The league championship isn’t won before Christmas. It could be lost depending on how terrible your pre-Christmas was. We can’t sit and pat ourselves on the back.”  From The Kamloops News
  • UBC’s Conor Morgan, a potential all-star who admittedly struggled at times
    UBC's Conor Morgan

    UBC’s Conor Morgan

    in the opening half of the season, had a mini training camp with his former high school coach, his Dad, Dave Morgan, in Victoria over Christmas. “I had to hit the re-set button,” Morgan said. “Sometimes, back in Grade 12, my dad and I would clash on the bench. But over Christmas, I listened to everything he had to say. I felt like I had nothing to lose.”  Howard Tsumura of the Vancouver Province gives us more details in this story.

  •  U of M’s, Wyatt Anders, asked in a Q & A by The Manitoban’s Mike Still,  ‘How important is it to the Bisons to have guard Ilarion Bonhomme, and the return of Keith Omoerah ?’ –  Anders replies – “Having Keith back is a real blessing. The years off, maturity-wise, really helped him.  … since he was able to mature as a person, he’s shown his true potential and kept it on lock. As for Ilarion, the little dude is tough! I’ve never seen a guy get hit and hammered so much and still get up and ready to fight – he doesn’t back down from anyone and offensively he’s a firecracker that can blow by you really quickly.” More at ‘The Manitoban – Questions and Anders’.

Dinos Respond in OT


Calgary and Manitoba Down to the Wire Again

It was a battle both nights for the Dinos and the Bisons. UM Athletics

It was a battle both nights for the Dinos and the Bisons.  photo UM Athletics

  Calgary Dinos 90  at Manitoba Bisons  87   OT   –   A week may not be enough recovery time for these 2 teams prior to next weekend’s action.  Saturday reflected the Friday game, and Manitoba were on the brink of a sweep, until Dinos young post, Matt Ellis, made 2 free throws late in OT to put the visitors in front, then 4th year wing, Jasdeep Gill,  hit another pair with 10 seconds left to ice the win.  Thomas Cooper hit 23 points, and Josh Owen-Thomas 23 for Calgary, who are now 3-1.  A.J.  Basi had a great shooting night for the Bisons, tallying 32 points, with 7/12 from downtown, and Wyatt Anders scored 17 plus grabbing 13 boards.          Box Score

 at Alberta Golden Bears 79  Winnipeg Wesmen   67-   The Bears (2-2) earn the split and move to 2-2, as they hit 43% on field goals to only 37% for Winnipeg, and Alberta takes the rebounding 45-33. 21 points from import guard, Colby Jackson pace the GBs, and Denzel Lynch-Blair leads the 1-3 Wesmen with 15.    Box Score

U of L's Dejon Burdeaux drives vs Brandon on sSaturday.

U of L’s Dejon Burdeaux drives vs Brandon on Saturday.  photo Pronghorns Athletics.

at Lethbridge Pronghorns 94  Brandon Bobcats 70   – Two wins on opening weekend for the ‘Horns, who have 4 players in double digits, with 18 from Rob Olsen, and 17 apiece from Dejon Burdeaux and Brandon Brine.  Brandon falls to 0-4, with just 39% from the flooring 12/24 from the line.  D.J. Jordan is alone with 14 points, with 4 teammates chipping in 8 each.  Box Score

at  Victoria Vikes 86 Saskatchewan Huskies 76   –   Victoria earns the sweep, and is a perfect 4-0, after catching and passing the Huskies with a 35-20 shellacking in the 4th quarter. Sharp-shooting is the key for UVic, who are 49% FG, 12/24 from 3 point range, and 18/19 from the line.  Grant Sitton is on fire, with 33 points, featuring 6/7 from beyond the arc. Reiner Theil has 15 pts, and Mack Roth 14.  Saskatchewan (1-3) has 4 players in double figures, led by 17 apiece from Chan De Ciman and Jauquin Bennett-Boire, their freshman guard pair.   Box Score

Conor Morgan helps the T-Birds in their 2nd win over TWU.

Conor Morgan helps the T-Birds in their 2nd win over TWU.   photo – UBC Athletics

at UBC Thunderbirds  85 Trinity Western Spartans 75  –  The Spartans kept it close for much of the opening half, but UBC (3-1) converted on many of the 19 TWU turnovers, and out-scored the visitors 48-30 in the paint.  The T-Birds spread the scoring love around, with 6 in double digits,  as Conor Morgan, one of 4 ‘Birds with 12 points, also claimed 7 boards and 4 assists. Phill Jalapoor also scored 12 pts / adding 8 rebounds.  Trinity got a sharp effort from Vartan tanielian, who scored 21 points with 4/7 from 3 point range. TWU’s best outing this early season, but they are now 0-4.   Box Score  


Explorer Division – 

Derek Wolf's 22 points are not enough, as MRU goes down again Saturday to the WolfPack.

Derek Wolf’s 22 points are not enough, as MRU goes down again Saturday to the WolfPack.     photo     – MRU Cougars Athletics

Thompson R. WolfPack 79 at Mt. Royal Cougars 66  –  Closer for the Cougars, but a solid road sweep for TRU (4-0), who shoot 44% to MRU’s 35% from the floor. The ‘Pack’s 2 big forwards rolled again in this game, with Josh Wolfram at 25 points/11 rebounds, and Volodymyr Iegorov tacking up 30 points and grabbing 7 boards.  Mt. Royal (1-3) are led by Derek Wolf’s 22 points, and 17 from guard, Glen Yang.   Box Score

at  Fraser Valley Cascades 97  MacEwan Griffins 56  –   The Cascades (4-0) lower the boom on the Griffins tonight, winning every quarter, and hitting 49% from the floor, including 14/31 from long range. 4 ‘Cades in double digits led by Brandon Burke, off the bench with 20 points/ 9 rebs., along with 16 pts each from Nav Bains and Kevon Parchment.  Denzel James is high man for the Griffs with 13, and Mac falls to 1-3  Box Score

 at UBC-Okanagan Heat  78  UNBC Timberwolves 57 –  A break-out game for the Heat (1-3), perhaps?  The home-side, plays a complete game,  shooting it well (46% FG, 77% FT), and winning the rebounding 41-32 to grab their 1st win of the season.  Aldrich Berrios weaves a gem, with 32 for UBC-O, while Dean Johnston scores 12 and adds 8 rebounds. Rhys Elliot leads the ‘Wolves (16 points), who cannot crack the Heat defense on the night, shooting only 32% FG, and they are also 1-3 on the year.  Box Score


Overtime –

  • We missed Terrell Evans (UVic) on our Euro Report of Canada West grads … the slashing winger starts for Oberwart in Austria, scoring 8 ppg and 3.5 rebounds.

polar bears

Chris Harris gets big coaching opportunity in German League.

Chris Harris gets big coaching opportunity in German League.






  • More news from Europe –  Former Calgary Dinos (’03)  forward, Chris Harris, accepted the position of Head Coach for the Eisbären Bremerhaven, who play in the First Bundesliga, the top tier of the German national basketball conference. The Eisbärens ( Polar Bears !)  have had Harris  as an Assistant Coach  for the past 18 months.  Harris has played and coached in Germany since leaving the UC.




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.