Home Teams Head to Head

 

 

Opening round in Winnipeg gives us …

The Manitoba Bisons will move onto the semi-final round against the tournament host and fierce intra-city rivals, the Winnipeg Wesmen. The draw-master hoped desperately for this match-up, and the Duckworth Centre should be full for this game on Thursday at 6 pm CST.

 Victoria 90  Brandon 66 – In the opening game of this year’s Classic it’s 48-29 at the half , and Vic looks clearly the better team on the day.  As he has for the whole season, Grant Sitton , ‘The Splendid Splinter’, leads the Vikes scoring with 21, and he adds 9 boards. Wayne Tucker Jr has 12 pts/ 4 asst.  Earl Thompson Jr of the Bobcats earns a double of 14 points/ 11 boards , but 27 BU turnovers and 36% FG shooting slams their chances.  UVic will meet Alberta in the 2nd semi on Thursday, while Brandon will play Lakehead on the consolation half.   Box Score  

Alberta 79  Lakehead 77 –  An Austin Waddoups running trey at the buzzer treats the Bears to a 44-32 spread at the break.  The Alberta zone confounds the Lakehead attackers for much of the 2nd quarter, with very little inside scoring.  Not so in the 3rd quarter, however.  as  the Thunderwolves come alive, and hit 7 treys and score 17/19 from the FT line to take a brief lead .  The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye splashes a last second 3 point shot to snatch the win for U of A, who looked rattled by the ‘Wolves rally.   Brody Clarke scores 22 for Alberta and Austin Waddoups adds 17. Lakehead get 16 from Henry Tan.  Box Score   

Winnipeg 79  Algoma 65 –  Trailing by 10 after 3/4s, the host team in this Wesmen Classic hit the ‘go switch’ for the final 10 minutes and poured in 34 points to zip past the T’Birds.  3rd year CW All-star, Denzel Lynch-Blair,  led with 22 points and rookie Narcisse Ambanza posted 16 for the Ws.  Both William Sesay and Ryan Oirbans hauled down 12 rebounds apiece for UW.  Algoma got 15 points from Sean Clendenning, but their  35% shooting including just 6/31 from outside made it impossible  to hold a lead.   One oddity with this game ?  No one got fouled … well, hardly anyone, as the 2 teams combined for only 11 attempts from the line.  Non-aggression pact ?    Box Score 

Manitoba 100  Regina 79 –     The Bisons, the defending Classic champs,  rumbled over the Cougars with a 50-35 lead at the break, then a 32 point barrage in the 3rd frame. 56% shooting by the Herd eclipsed the cool 35% for Regina. Joey Nitychoruk led Manitoba with 21 points/ 7 rebs, going a perfect 10 of 10 from the floor, while Justus Alleyn added 15 points for the UM who had 5 players in double figures. Samuel Hillis led Regina with 19 points.  Box Score 

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Great Falls Argos logo

 Great Falls 88  Calgary 85 –   A spirited comeback by Calgary, spurred on by the 15 second half points from David Kapinga, and 7 team treys in the final 20 minutes. The Dinos are out-shot in the 1st half, with the Argos hitting 8 treys vs 3 for the visitors, who trailed 48-41 at the half.  Thomas Cooper scores 22 for the Dinos, with 15 from Kapinga. Isaac Howard of UGF is 7/11 from 3 point range for 21 points.   Box Score   Next up for the Dinos is a drive to Billings and games Thursday vs Rocky Mountain College, and Friday vs a very strong Montana-Western team.

Lethbridge 80  Montana St.- Northern  65 –  The ‘Horns look very sharp in handing the Northern Lights their 1st losss of the season.  Zac Overwater racks up 25 for UL, while import guard, Elliott Sentance, adds 17.  In a key mid-season addition, “Junior” Sesay, a 6-3 guard from Winnipeg, who previously played 1 season for Victoria, dressed for the Pronghorns tonight.  Also seeing his first game was Mark Rodehutskors, a 6-6 red-shirt from Chestermere, who will be counted on in future campaigns.  (Red shirts can dress for limited non-League games without losing eligibility).  This report courtesy of David Wells in Lethbridge.  No Box Score available.

No score for the UBC game vs the ‘Orange Owls’ of Future College , CA played at Phoenix.  UBC has games slated with Phoenix JC on Thursday, and Cochise JC on Friday.

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The Mt. Royal game vs Dalhousie in round 1 of the Shoveller Memorial in Halifax is on AUS-TV at 8 pm Atlantic time (5 pm Mountain)

We have no TV info for the UNBC game vs UQAM in Montreal. 

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Overtime –

  • The lack of play- by- play on the early games via Canada West TV from the Wesmen Classic shouldn’t throw us off too much. But we can only think how much more engaging this would be with ex-coach, now Athletic Director at UW, Dave Crook on the mic!   Really, there must be a budding young sports broadcaster somewhere in Winnipeg who’s itching for some ‘on-the-job-training’!
  • From Dave Crook’s Classic memories –  “The 50th is a wonderful thing for the Classic. Hardly any events reach their 50th year these days, for this tournament to reach 50 is amazing!”  Crook also admits that as a young kid he was a Bisons’ fan, but has now ‘seen the right path’ !
  • Former shooting star for the Wesmen, Ken Opalko, reminds us that back in the ‘80s this tournament was known as the ‘Golden Boy Classic’ .  How many of you from outside of Manitoba know why ‘Golden Boy’ ?   (Other than former Dinos big man, Ian Ferguson, of course !)
  • We phone Wesmen Coach, Mike Raimbault, to wish him and his team good luck at the Classic, and who intercepts the call?  Living legend, former Vikes coach, Ken Shields, who must have cadged a seat in First Class with UVic from the coast.  Ken has been a mentor and friend of Coach Raimbault since Mike’s tenure with the Timberwolves of UNBC when they won the CCAA championship.
  • 50th Wesmen notes … Do the Brandon Bobcats know the #1 East to Winnipeg ?  Sidney, Bagot, Portage, Dacotah. In their sleep !  … There’s a suspicion that the Bisons are confident of passing the Wesmen in CW League play.  But who goes to the 50th Final ?

UBC-O and Mt. Royal Previews

 

 

Heat and Cougars – Battling Game by Game

               –   2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

The effect of the new Canada West schedule, now ‘mixing and matching’ games among all 17 teams, is to give everyone a sense of unease.  No one plays the same teams.  You prepare for more teams.  The 6 teams from last year’s Explorer Division jump in to play some of the 11 from the Pioneer.

12 teams will make a playoff round.  We are here to tell you that there aren’t many, if any, schools who don’t see themselves among those 12.  That’s the optimism of the Fall.  That’s a way of moving forward with anticipation and promise.

That’s how we see Mt. Royal and UBC-Okanagan.  Neither team made the playoffs last year in the 6 team Explorer Division, where just 3/6 made it in.  The Cougars and the Heat have positive and bright coaches with improved and eager returnees, and each have added promising recruits.

Can their preparation and their team chemistry get them winning 9-10-11 or more games in order to make that cut?  They are readying themselves for the challenge, and will likely be on that fine line right through January and February.

 

UBC- Okanagan Heat
No playoffs                         8 wins   12 losses      (Explorer Division)

UBC-O logo

Returnees – 
5th year – Mitch Goodwin, 6-2 guard, Kelowna … 4th year – Cameron Friesen, 6-4 fwd, Abbotsford, BC … 3rd years – Aldrich Berrios, 6-1 guard, Burnaby, BC. David Manshrek, 6-4 fwd, N. Vancouver. Ryan Morck, 6-9 fwd, Airdrie, AB. Buzz Truss, 6-4 guard, Kelowna. Austin Penrose, 6-6 fwd, W. Vancouver.    2nd year – Spencer Thomas, 6-2 guard, Pickering, ON

New faces –   Matt Lafontaine, 6-2 guard,  1st,  Kelowna Sr. Sec.  Triston Matthews, 6-4 guard, 1st, N.Vancouver (Sentinal Sec) . Navtej Sandhu, 6-5 guard, 1st, Kelowna Sec.  Justin Melynchuk, 6-4 guard, 1st, Kamloops (St. Anne’s).  Davide Ciancio, 5-10 guard, 1st, Kelowna Sec.  Sam Striker, 5-9 guard, 1st, Kelowna (Heritage Christian) … Randy Jernidier, 6-6 fwd, 3rd, Guadaloupe, West Indies, tsf, Parkland JC , IL.  Noma Obaseki, 6-6 fwd, 2nd, Vancouver.

Coach Peter Guarasci is a patient man, with his team and himself.  “Our guys are fit, and they’ve worked hard in the summer, but we are still on the young side”, says the former Canada Basketball forward. “Also, I feel I’m more sure of how I want our team to play, going into my 5th year here.”

Veteran guards, Mitch Goodwin (L) and Aldrich Berrios (R) give the Heat good back-court leadership. photos - Greystoke Photography

Veteran guards, Mitch Goodwin (L) and Aldrich Berrios (R) give the Heat good back-court leadership.                                                              photos – Greystoke Photography

It does take a while to put together a competitive program at a relatively new school, but Guarasci is focused on developing a team with good size, strength, and a sense of the systems he prefers. Among his returnees Guarasci cites the work of big Ryan Morck who,  “ … worked very hard on our strength program.  He has come back stronger, and more fit.”  The coach expects Morck to be a bigger factor with his experience and preparation.

Another forward who will invigorate the interior play is David Manshrek, who missed last season due to injury. In ’14-’15 he averaged 13.5 ppg, 6.5 rebs as a ‘small forward’ capable of shooting the 3 ball.  The only 5th year player is Mitch Goodwin, a combo guard who logged 27 minutes,  12.7 ppg/5 rebs/2.5 assts.  He and point man, Aldrich Berrios give the Heat a dependable pair in the back-court.  Berrios scored a team high 14.5 ppg plus 2.5 assists.

“We have had a good Fall camp so far”, says Guarasci. “We’re way farther ahead, because the guys are more familiar with what we are trying to do in each situation.”  8 returning players who are now 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years are making it easier to prepare the squad. Buzz Truss, a big guard, and Cam Friesen at forward will be key factors in the playing rotation as well.

There is great anticipation as Kelowna Owls star, Matt Lafontaine, joins the Heat, and Guarasci says, “Matt is a very strong rookie, who will play some good minutes for us.  He,  Triston Matthews,  Justin Melynchuk, and Nav Sandhu have the size and potential we can build on for the future.”

The athletic Noma Obaseki returns after a year’s absence, and Guarasci is also impressed with the coachability and hard work he is getting from import forward, Randy Jernidier.
The outlook is hopeful, and there is more confidence coming from the Okanagan as Guarasci’s team comes together.

Schedule –  Nov-Dec … Trinity Western, at Brandon, Mt. Royal , at Thompson Rivers, at UBC  .   Jan-Feb … Regina, Victoria, at Lethbridge, at MacEwan, Fraser Valley

Prediction –   One of the teams scrambling for a playoff berth

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Mt. Royal Cougars
’15-’16 – No playoffs (lost on a tie-breaker)     10 wins – 10 losses  (Explorer Division)

 Returnees – 5th year  – Derek Wolf, 6-2 guard, Penticton, BC.  4th years –  Ray Goff, 6-7 fwd, Okotoks, AB. Ryan Cunningham, 6-3 wing, Calgary. Noah Lewis, 6-4 guard, Comox, BC.  … 3rd year  –  Glen Yang, 6-2 guard, Calgary.  … 2nd years – Brett Layton, 6-8 post, Calgary. Tyis Yellowhorn, 6-4 guard, Piikani Nation, AB.  Wiande Kher, 6-5 fwd, Calgary.

New faces – Josh Ross, 4th , 6-4 fwd, Burlington, IA (Vancouver Is. U.). Matthew Guinto, 3rd, 5-11 guard,  Calgary (St. Marys Univ. Coll.). Nick Tancon,2nd,  6-7 fwd, Comox, BC (Trinity W.). Brodie Davis, 2nd, 6-2 guard, Calgary (SAIT). Charn Gill, 3rd, 6-0 guard, Calgary (St. Mary’s U.),  RS – Quinn Taylor, 3rd, 6-3 guard, Calgary (St. Mary’s U.)

The Cougars boast 6-8 post man, Brett Layton (17 ppg, 11.2 rebs), a mature 2nd year, who was a Canada West all-star last season.  Layton, Ray Goff, and TWU transfer, Nick Tancon, are the post trio for Coach Marc Dobell’s squad, who will try and run the floor and use motion to create  offense.  MRU were a solid rebounding team last year, despite size disadvantages on many nights.

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Post man, Brett Layton (L) and guard Derek Wolf (R) will be key options in the Cougars’ offense.

The addition of talented VIU (the BC Colleges League) transfer, Josh Ross, will give the Cougs an added dimension on their forward line.  His last season’s stat line of 21 ppg, 11.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists holds promise for his new team.

The perimeter group is pretty deep, led by 5th year shooter, Derek Wolf (15 ppg),  and combo guard, Glen Yang (11 ppg, 2.9 assists) . Noah Lewis is a capable, energetic 4th year, and Tyis Yellowhorn has the size and shooting stroke to make a difference. A nice off-season pick-up is rookie point man, Craig Martin, a high school stand-out from Dallas, TX, who looks like he can be a solid floor leader.

The Cougars will be looking for better 3 point shooting (only 30% last season), and to limit their turnovers, which hurt their playoff run in several key games. “ We want to be better in transition, and in creating higher quality shots off our passing game”, says Coach Dobell.

MRU gets a bye to start the season, playing 4 series’ before the Christmas break, and 6 in the 2nd half. Like several other former Explorer Division teams, MRU are eager for the chance to play some of the more established ‘Pioneer’ schools this season.

Schedule –  Nov-Dec –  week 1 bye, at UBC-O,  MacEwan , Calgary home and home.  Jan-Feb – Brandon, at UNBC, UBC, at Saskatchewan, Trinity Western, at Manitoba.

Prediction – a fighting chance at a playoff spot.

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Overtime –

  • On Friday, UBC-O plays Vancouver Island U., a powerhouse for the last several years in the BC Colleges loop.  The game is at Immaculate HS in Kelowna.  The Heat also play an alumni game at their home gym at 6 pm Saturday.
  • The Lakehead Thunderwolves will be hosting the Winnipeg Wesmen in the
    Vikes 5th year shooter, Grant Sitton - photo - AP Shutter

    Vikes 5th year shooter, Grant Sitton  –    photo – AP Shutter

    Thunderdome for non-conference games both Friday and Saturday night at 7:30pm (Eastern).  Both games are live on  OUA.TV

  • Grant Sitton, UVic’s 5th year wing man, as he and the Vikes look forward to their ‘Guy Petrie Memorial Tournament, “ … not making the playoffs last year leaves a bad taste in your mouth, makes you want to strive harder, it humbles you and makes you want to succeed more.”   More in this story in the Saanich News.
  • Coach Guy Vetrie died of a heart attack in 2003 at the age of 52, after having coached the Victoria Vikes for 13 years.  A native of Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Vetrie was a top player for Coach Ken Shields at Laurentian U. in Sudbury.  He was an assistant for a year with the Voyageurs, then Head Coach at the University of Saskatchewan for 9 seasons.  When the legendary Coach Shields moved on from his post at UVIc, he called on Vetrie to take over the reins for the Vikes. Vetrie won 530 games as a head coach, a National Championship in 1997, and had 6 Canada West  Coach of the Year Awards.

CIS Announces Final 8 Draw

 

CIS Tournament Field is Finalized, and the Draw Announced

As is the case almost every season at this time, we get thrown a curve ball by the CIS UnknownWildcard / Seeding Committee.  This time around, in the heady stratosphere that is the OUA, we have their 3 teams ranked 1-2-3, including the at-large selection Ottawa, who get the #3 slot, despite losing 3 games since the Christmas Holidays .

Calgary, with 16 consecutive wins, and as the Canada West champions, who had been ranked #4 going into the play-offs, stay behind the OUA ‘super-powers’ !  The committee also have seen fit to place 3 League champions, Ryerson, Calgary and McGill on one side of the draw.

Nonetheless,  it takes 3 wins next week to capture the National Championship, so all we can say from a Canada West  perspective is Go Dinos !  Go Wolf Pack !  Go Thunderbirds!  We will cheer for these 3 teams to represent their teams, schools, and the League with great determination and pride. It will be exciting times with this event in Western Canada for the first time since 1982 in Victoria, when Ken Shields’ Vikes won their 3rd straight title, on their way to 7 in a row.

Seeding for the 2016 CIS Final 8 – National Championship Tournament, Vancouver

1. Ryerson Rams (OUA champions)- 17-2 regular season / 3-0 playoffs
2. Carleton Ravens (OUA finalists)- 16-3 regular season / 2-1 playoffs
3. Ottawa Gee-Gees (At-Large Berth)- 17-2 regular season / 2-1 playoffs
4. Calgary Dinos (Canada West champions)- 17-3 regular season / 4-0 playoffs
5. McGill Redmen (Quebec champions) – 12-4 regular season / 2-0 playoffs
6. Dalhousie Tigers (Atlantic champions) – 13-7 regular season / 2-0 playoffs
7. Thompson R. Wolf Pack (Canada West finalists)-  16-4 r. season / 3-2 playoffs
8. UBC Thunderbirds (Hosts)- 16-4 regular season / 3-1 playoffs

 How these teams got here –
Ryerson Rams –  Ranked #3 going into playoffs, the Rams beat Lakehead 93-71, then Windsor 96-77, and they won the Wilson Cup over Carleton by a 73-68 count.
Carleton Ravens – ranked #1 prior to play-offs, the Ravens, who have won the Nationals for last 5 years, beat Brock 90-52, then Ottawa by 82-74, and dropped the OUA final at Ryerson 73-68.
Ottawa Gee-Gees – were ranked #2 entering the play-offs, and beat Queen’s 73-72, then lost to Carleton 74-82, and won the 3rd place game 90-77 over Windsor . (Selected as the ‘wild-card’ team)
Calgary Dinos – the 4th ranked team before play-offs, Calgary defeated Alberta 2-0 in their best of 3 quarter-final (87-77, 89-76), then beat Manitoba 100-74, and Thompson Rivers 91-84 in the Canada West Final 4.
McGill Redmen – Finished 1st in the RSEQ regular season, then beat Laval 76-69, and UQAM 78-67 in the Quebec Championship Tournament.
Dalhousie Tigers – ranked #10 for the final few CIS rankings periods, the Tigers were the top Atlantic team entering the AUS Tournament.  They beat St. Mary’s 75-74, then won the Atlantic title 87-85 over UPEI.
Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack – un-ranked entering play-offs, the “Pack were as high as #9 in recent rankings periods. TRU took 3 games to beat Regina in the CW Q-finals (94-102, 90-85, 86-73), then beat UBC in the semi-final 72-69, and lost the CW final to Calgary  84-91.
UBC Thunderbirds – The #6 ranked team going into the play-offs, the ‘Birds swept Lethbridge in the Q-finals (81-57, 85-57), then lost the semi to TRU 69-72, and won the CW 3rd place game 101-72 over Manitoba.


 

Tournament Schedule – (Pacific daylight times)

Thursday, March 17 –
1 pm   Q-final 1 …  #2 Carleton vs  #7 Thompson Rivers 

3 pm  Q-final 2 …  # 3 Ottawa vs. # 6 Dalhousie 

6 pm   Q-final 3 … # 4 Calgary vs #  5 McGill    

8 pm   Q-final 4 …  # 1 Ryerson vs  # 8 UBC 

All games streamed live on   CIS TV Live !    

Friday, March 18 –

5 pm  Consolation 1: Loser QF 1 vs. Loser QF 2 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

7 pm  Consolation 2: Loser QF 3 vs. Loser QF 4 (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Saturday, March 19 –

12 noon …  5th-place game (www.CIS-SIC.tv)  (Consolation champs)

3 pm  Semifinal 1 … Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

5:30 pm  Semifinal 2 … Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

Sunday, March 20 –

2 pm  Bronze medal, 3rd  place game  (www.CIS-SIC.tv)

5:30 pm  Gold medal – Championship Final (Sportsnet 360 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *


 

Overtime –   

  • Just a few of the many fans seen in the stands at the Final 4 in Calgary
    Ken Olynyk, 'Leader of the 'Pack' !

    Ken Olynyk, ‘Leader of the ‘Pack’ ! photo – TRU Athletics

    Ken Olynyk, TRU Athletic Director, also known as ‘Kelly’s Dad’ … Former Dinos Coach Don Newton, with his personal bodyguards, Al Kettles, Skip Morgan, Clarence Amulung … Saskatoon (and now Calgary) super-fan, Spiro Leakos, former owner of the Commodore Cafe in Sask. … new UC Athletic Director, Christine Stapleton, an outstanding coach at Regina, and a great addition for the Dinos program … former Dinos A.D. Ron Wuotila with his family – ‘All Dinos’  … several gentlemen in UBC T-Birds scarves … many more TRU Wolf Pack fans with orange scarves … former Dinos parents Allen Wright, Kent and Barb Milburn, Darryl Fidler, Simon Bekkering … a huge contingent of Dinos alum, including former National team buddies Tom Bishop and Romel Raffin …  Eddie Richardson III , the President of Genesis Basketball, along with his family and friends … John Weiland, legendary local, National, and International referee, now chief evaluator / fan for son Michael, who worked the CW Final game … and the large, raucous,  ‘Jasdeep Gill Fan-Club’ , all of whom were on their feet and rejoicing each time their man merely touched the basketball !

  • The air-horn blowing UC student group, with the tacit approval of event organizers,  who provided a constant din designed to distract and annoy the opposing team must count their mission accomplished.  In our opinion, however, this goes beyond reasonable support for the home team.  It is unsportsmanlike, and should be discouraged by UC Athletics.  Hosting Canada West championship events comes with the responsibility of giving your guests ‘fair play’ and at least a tolerable environment.

‘Old’ Pioneer Powers Scrambling

 

 

 

Changing of the Guard in Canada West ?

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 7.38.26 AM
After watching all 3 of Victoria, Alberta, and Saskatchewan absorb two losses each this past weekend, we find ourselves in the ‘New Order’ of Canada West Basketball.  These three teams  have figured prominently in Canada West and CIS hoops for years past;  the last 5 Canada West championship games were won by –  2015 – Victoria over Saskatchewan, 2014 – Alberta over Victoria, 2013 – UBC over Victoria, 2012 – Alberta over Fraser Valley, 2011 – UBC over Saskatchewan.

 The T-Birds are still good bets to be in the Final 4, and, of course, host the CIS Nationals, but what of the Bears, Vikes, and Huskies?  It would seem unlikely, or even shockingly improbable for all 3 strong programs to have such a difficult year.  We certainly think U of A and UVic still have playoff shots, but U of S has faded too far South;  graduation of key players, injuries, and defections have conspired to reduce these teams to chasers rather than the leaders they had been for so long.

We suspect they will all be back next season with their usual competitive squads, but, for now, they have given way to ‘upstart teams’, like Calgary, Lethbridge, Manitoba, and Thompson Rivers.  We have 3 weeks of play remaining in both Divisions, and it’s highly likely that we may have a very different slate of teams competing in the Final 4 come March 11-12.

Four Series Sweeps Change the Standings

Manitoba copyWe had 5 series in the Pioneer last weekend, as the 6 Explorer teams and the UC Dinos had the weekend off. We saw movement away from the middle of the standings by several teams, as 4 of these series’ ended with 2-game sweeps.
> Manitoba has officially exorcised their 2nd half of the season ghosts of past years; they pounce all-over the Regina Cougars, 89-82 and 77-63, and sit at 11-5.
> Across town, the Winnipeg Wesmen prepared themselves for the ‘Red River Rivalry’ series by dispatching a scrappy U of S Huskies squad 81-77 and 81-72 to win their 6th in a row for a 9-5 mark.
> At Lethbridge, the short-benched Bears were trounced by a running, pressing Pronghorns team, who used 2nd half onslaughts to dispatch their Northern rivals 93-61 and 88-62.
> In their brand-spanking -new Carsa Centre, the ‘rebuilding‘ Victoria Vikes were sorely pressed to stay anywhere near the visiting UBC Thunderbirds.  UBC took both games with unusual ease … 79-51 and then 86-67.
> It was fitting that both Brandon (Friday) and Trinity Western (Saturday) got their first wins of the season in their series in Langley.  No playoff chances, but the shut-out is averted!

Top Performers last weekend –

Keith Omoerah is a difference-maker for the Herd this season.

Keith Omoerah is a difference-maker for the Herd this season.  photo- Bisons Athletics

  • Keith Omoerah may not have a big ’S’ on his chest, but he should have !  Keith’s return to the Bison Herd has put this team on a path for championship contention, with his rebounding, scoring, and defensive effort.  16 points / 14 rebounds/ 6 assists on Friday, then 18 boards plus 12 points, 3 asst, 4 steals in the Saturday win. Oh, and we might mention A.J. Basi’s  significant sharp-shooting role … 27 points Friday, and Jonathan Alexander chipping in both nights for totals of 26 points and 14 rebounds.
  • Winnipeg’s  Denzel Lynch-Blair has to be in the  all-star discussion, with yet another week of multiple contributions for UW, with 49 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 steals.  Nicely done, young man !  Ryan Oirbans with his rebounding and a 29 point night on Saturday from Jelane Pryce pace the Ws to a sweep.
  • Brandon Brine hits 37 points, with a scoring frenzy at home for the ‘Horns on Friday, then Jared Baker takes over on Saturday, hitting 3s everywhere, and scoring 17 points / 5 assists.  Lethbridge has a ‘not-so-secret-weapon’, however;  Dejon Burdeaux, back to ‘match-fitness’ is a dominant force at both ends of the floor … 31 points over 2 nights, to go along with 16 assists and 12 steals off the very effective UL press.
  • UBC has a varied attack, as they get 8 players contributing in both definitive victories at UVic … their depth is apparent, when their scoring leader Conor Morgan has a quieter weekend, but rookie Taylor Browne steps up with 15 points/ 4 reb, 3 asst on Saturday, while the night before David Wagner returned to the ‘Birds line-up with 12 points/ 6 rebounds.
Lucas Mannes sparks TWU win on Saturday.

Lucas Mannes sparks TWU win on Saturday. photo – TWU Athletics

A round of applause for the TWU Spartans’ Lucas Mannes with his tour de force of 56 points/12 reb/14 asst/6 steals; his teammate Kelvin Smith chimes in  with 49 points/ 14 rebounds/ 5 steals.   Brandon’s Earl Thompson pots 37 points / 19 rebounds in the split series, and the Bobcats’ rookie, Pookie Saunders, gets our attention with a combined 39 points /12 boards / 10 asst/ 5 steals.

 

 


 

 CIS Scores  on Sunday –  
Atlantic –   UPEI  97  at Cape Breton   80  … a split of their weekend pair, leaving the Panthers (10-4) in a 1st place tie with Dalhousie, and the Capers (7-6) scratching for a playoff spot, back in 5th spot .


 

Overtime –   

  • UBC are wanting to try and duplicate the feat of the 1982 UVic Vikes under Coach Ken Shields, who won the CIS Championship at Memorial Arena in Victoria that season, the 3rd of 7 straight for the Vikes.  The Birds don’t yet have that kind of roll going, but UBC Coach Kevin Hanson wants to start this March !
  • As for the 7-9 Vikes, Coach Craig Beaucamp says , “We’re trying to stay up in a down time.  There is so much left to play for. We’ve got a good nucleus and can’t lose sight of the big picture. We can still make some noise.” From the Victoria Times-Colonist, Cleve Dheensaw
  • Speaking of the U of A Golden Bears , who his UL team beat twice last weekend in Lethbridge, “They’re a banged up group,” said Horns coach Mike Hansen. “It’s a reversal of fortune. We limped up there last season and lost and this time it was their turn to have a bunch of injured guys. Our guys played great D all weekend,” said Hansen. “Jared Baker and Dejon Burdeaux at the top of our press were great both games.”  From Dylan Purcell in the Lethbridge Herald.

Bisons Roll in Wesmen Final

 

Keith Omoerah leads the Manitoba Bisons to a Classic win at UW.

Keith Omoerah leads the Manitoba Bisons to a Classic win at UW.  photo UM Athletics

Manitoba Bisons Overwhelm Lakehead in  UW Wesmen Classic Final

 Manitoba 73  Lakehead 54 –  Manitoba are the champions of the 49th Annual Wesmen Classic with a wire-to-wire win over Lakehead in the Final, as they out-shoot the ‘Wolves 54% to 32% from the floor. Keith Omoerah, chosen the MVP of the tourney, is high man for the Herd with 18 points, with Brett Jewell scoring 16. Lakehead get 16 points from Bacarius Dinkins, but are beaten in every quarter by the Bisons. Box Score
Winnipeg 90  Acadia  64 –  In the 3rd place game …  Denzel Lynch-Blair scores 25 to lead the Wesmen to a dominating win.  The Ws claim a huge 66-44 rebounding edge, and limit the Axemen to just 29% shooting. Kyle Arsenault and Erik Nissen score 13 each for Acadia.  Box Score

Lethbridge 74 MacEwan 71–  In the Consolation Final … Brandon Brine and Rob Olsen each score 19 points, as the Pronghorns shoot 52% from the field.  Ryan May has 19 points for the Griffs.  Box Score
NAIT 70  Brandon  66 –   In the 7/8 game …  Box Score


Final Games in the U. Laval (Quebec) Tourney –

Lars Schleuter scores 25 plus 11 boards in the Dinos win over Laval.

Lars Schleuter scores 25 plus 11 boards in the Dinos win over Laval.

Calgary 88  Laval  67 – Calgary’s Lars Schleuter hit 6/12 from 3 pt range, scoring 24 pts and grabbing 11 rebounds, and his double-double paced the Dinos to a win over the host Rouge et Or. Calgary hit 48% from the floor, and won the rebounding 53-43.  Laval had a tough shooting night, with just 20/80 finding the mark;  the home team fails to take advantage of 24 UC turnovers. Thomas Cooper added 19 pts/ 9 rebs for the visitors, while Vladimir Thomas led UL with 17 points.

Ottawa 105  UNB 96 – The Gee-Gees finish strong, hitting 53% from the floor,  as they get 5 players in double figures, led by Caleb Agada’s 17 pts/ 8 rebs/ 8 assists, and 18 points/8 assists from Mike L’Africain. The Varsity Reds make a good run in this very high -scoring affair, shooting 53% FG as well; Jesse Kendall scores 27 for UNB, and Javon Masters pours in 25 of his own.


In the U.S.

UNBC  85 Dordt Coll. (CA)  82
Cochise College (AZ) 96 Regina  94                                                                   Vanguard (CA) 89 Alberta  62  
Concordia U. (CA) 95 Saskatchewan 61 –  Shawn Lathan leads U of S with 13 points; we note that Shane Osayande, the Huskies post who missed the 1st semester due to injury, started this game. Box Score
Westmont (CA) 83 UBC  70  –  Conor Morgan scored 24 / 12 rebounds for the T-Birds. Box Score
Rocky Mountain College (MT)  95 Thompson Rivers  60


 

 Overtime –Rainmakers

  • We missed our old friend and former Vikes Coach, Ken Shields, in Victoria.  Ken was excited to be returning to Prince Rupert (B.C.) High School to give a team clinic after Christmas.  As a high school senior, he and his ‘Rainmakers’ teammates, coached by Norm Vickery, won the B.C. Boys Championship at UBC.
  • The Bisons win over Lakehead on Wednesday was the first Wesmen Classic championship for Manitoba since 1991, and their eighth all-time. UM are also the first of the  Manitoba schools (UM, Brandon, Winnipeg) to win the Cup since 2008, when Brandon took it, and the first time a city team earned it since 2006, when the Wesmen prevailed.

Late Burst Boosts Regina

 

Jonathan Tull leads Regina to a clutch win over Winnipeg Friday night.

Jonathan Tull leads Regina to a clutch win over Winnipeg Friday night.

 at Regina Cougars  82   Winnipeg Wesmen  72  –  Regina captures game one with Jonathan Tull mounting charge after charge on the hoop off the break, and counting 25 pts/6 rebs on the night.  A fast – paced game with Winnipeg in serious foul trouble by the middle of the 3rd frame.  Big men Ryan Oirbans and Nathaniel Johnson foul out early in the final quarter, leaving the scoring for the Ws to the dazzling duo of Jelane Pryce ( 25 points / 12 rebs) and Denzel Lynch-Blair (19 points ). Pryce leaves the game with a hand injury in the opening minute of the 4th quarter, but trainers wrap it up, and he finishes well.

Winnipeg storms back from a 7 point deficit to take the lead by 1 with 2:15 left, but, after a time-out, the Cougars respond with 11 straight to snatch the win. Alex Igual helped Regina with 11 pts/ 10 rebs, and Travis Sylvester scored 11 with 12 boards. The Cougars hit 43% FG vs 38% for the Wesmen, with both teams having the cold hands on their long -range shooting, hitting just a combined  6/35 for 17%.  Game 2 goes Saturday.  Box Score


 

Overtime –

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  • We’ve noticed more CIS, college, and high school  teams ‘packing-into’ zone defences in recent games, so, for Christmas, and in time to prepare the squad for January-March contests, you coaches out there should order a copy of the hot new book by Ken Shields and Del Harris – ‘Attacking the Zone Defenses’Order now – order here!  Harris, a defensive mastermind with great NBA experience, notably with the Houston Rockets, L.A. Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks.  Shields, of course, is the legendary head coach of the ‘80s era Victoria Vikes dynasty, and with NBA and International credentials. (This, unfortunately, won’t help we poor wretches toiling with mini-ball or grade school teams  … no zones allowed ! )

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  •  Calgary hosts Alberta in a single game Saturday … Women at 5 pm and Men at 7.  The Men’s Dinos go in at 5-3, while the Bears are 4-4 in the tight Pioneer Division race.

 

Simple Answer, It’s the Coach !

 

Ravens' Coach Dave Smart, in a typical pose.  A sense of urgency, and a drive for perfection.

Ravens’ Coach Dave Smart, in a typical pose. A sense of urgency, and a drive for perfection.

Why Does Carleton Keep on Winning ?

They have a Coach who is unlike any other in the CIS.  That’s the simple, and maybe the best explanation.  Dave Smart is driven, very well informed in coaching theory and practice, organized to the nth degree, and, most significantly, exacting in his quest for mistake-free play from his Ravens team.

Carleton's 'other Scrubb brother' was announced as the Ravens' Athlete of the Year!

Carleton’s ‘other Scrubb brother’, Thomas,  was announced as the Ravens’ Athlete of the Year!            photo- Ravens Athletics

Coach Smart develops players;  Thomas Scrubb, notably, was not a finished product when he arrived at the CU campus in Ottawa. The Vancouver-trained Scrubb was not, in contrast to his younger brother Phil, a starter and an all-star right out of the wrapper as a freshman. He played 10 mins/game, and averaged 3 pts/ 2 rebs.  But, like so many players Smart and his staff have ‘coached-up’ , Thomas became one the CIS’ very best.  Thomas was just awarded the Athlete of the Year at Carleton for 2014-15.

 

That’s the secret.  Carleton works year-round at getting their players developing the skills, both mental and physical.  There are no excuses, no let-up, and no time when your performance can be less than properly executed.  They are, indeed, losing some exceptional performers in the two Scrubbs, as well as shooting guard Victor Raso, but to expect the Ravens to slide too far down in the OUA or CIS power grid would be a mistake. They still have the Chief and Commander!

That may seem simple, but, obviously, Dave Smart does it differently and better than any of his coaching counter-parts.  And now, he also has the luxury of being able to choose the top talent from across the country.  Already this Spring, the Ravens have signed Ryan Ejim, a 6-6 transfer from York, who averaged 23 mins/ 14 ppg/ and 8 rebounds , Stanley Mayambo, a 6-2 point man from Fredericton, NB, William Kohler, a 6-9 forward from Winnipeg.  Our guess would be , that if Coach Smart is still at the helm, these guys may play for one of the future Carleton teams to lift the CIS Championship trophy.

For an interesting discussion of the state of affairs in the CIS read more  in this Ottawa Citizen article by Gord Holder.

 

More CIS Recruiting News –

In Canada West –

Alberta –  Cole Knudsen 6-7  Fwd from Barrhead, AB

Calgary – Torrez McKoy 6 -0 guard,  Grande Pointe, MB/MBCI

Mt. Royal – Nate Wall, 6-6 wing, Okotoks, AB,  Holy Trinity ;  Tyis Yellowhorn, 6-4 guard, Plikani Nation, Chestermere, AB

MacEwan – Chris Mooney, 6-3 point, Ottawa, transfer from NAIT

Winnipeg – Will Sesay, 6-3 guard, Winnipeg, Oak Park HS; Kieran McGrath, 6-4 fwd, Winnipeg, Glenlawn

Regina – Stephen Shields, 6-7 fwd, Brandon, tsf (volleyball) Keyano College

Saskatchewan – Devin Wittow, 6-6 fwd, Leduc HS, AB

UNBC – Anthony Hokanson,  6-4 wing, Vancouver, Kitsilano Sr.

Thompson R. – Jeff Tubbs, 6-2 point, Kelowna, Mt. Boucherie

UBC – Roger Milne, 6-8 fwd, Winnipeg, Oak Park HS; Taylor Browne, 6-3 guard, Surrey, B.C., Holy Cross; also, our ‘correspondent on the W. Coast’, Ice Man, reminds us tha 6-7 will Ondrik will suit up for the ‘Birds, afe

Victoria – Jason Scully, 6-5 fwd, Victoria, St. Michael’s;  Josh Charles, 6-5 fwd, Duncan, B.C., Cowichan Sr.

Elsewhere –

We note …   Zach Usherwood, 5-11 guard, Coquitlam, B.C. , who played at Thompson Rivers, is transferring to UPEI … that 6-6, Stefan Grujic, Regina, Leboldus (#1 ranked HS team in Saskatchewan) signed at York U.  … the brothers Cam and Ben Redl, both 6-7, from Yorkton, SK, transfer to New Brunswick

 

Overtime –

  •   The latest signing for the Winnipeg Wesmen lives just down the way from the UW campus, but Will Sesay, recently voted as Manitoba’s 2015 HS Player of the year,  went to high school at Oak Park, a 1 hour bus ride away.  More on Sesay, who is the younger brother of Junior Sesay, who plays at UVic, in this Winnipeg Sun article by Kirk Penton.
  •   UVic Coach Craig Beaucamp,  noting the power in Ontario basketball, and the  difficulties in matching that for Canada West schools, “We have a challenge in Canada West by the number of teams we have now [17] and getting the quality [players] needed to field [strong teams],” noted Beaucamp. –   “The OUA [Ontario conference] is deep and athletic,” said Beaucamp.  “It definitely had most of the strength in the country this year. But never mind the CIS, most of the Canadians going south [to the U.S. collegiate NCAA] are also from Ontario.”  From a Victoria Times-Colonist article by Cleve Dheenshaw.
  • Editors note –  Recruiting is even more critical than fans can imagine.  Carleton’s top 2 players, Phil and Tommy Scrubb, played for their Dad, Lloyd Scrubb, at Vancouver College, B.C.  Lloyd played for Ken Shields at U. Victoria , and won 3 CIS titles with the Vikes.  Losing the top players in their own home area is gut-wrenching for coaches, there in B.C., or anywhere else across the country.  It is literally the life-blood of their program leaking away … a bit of a dramatic image there, but oh so true.
  • A close observer of OUA basketball, our correspondent ‘Maravich’ suggests, ” 
    Ravens as bullies ….

    Ravens as bullies ….

    Truthfully, as great as the Scrubbs have been (and they’ve been magnificent) they really have taken the fun out of CIS basketball. Carleton’s average winning margin the last five championship’s is 28.7 points. During the Oz Jeanty 5 year run it was 7 points. Hopefully with their graduation the Ravens will become somewhat vulnerable.
    Because winning lots of championships is great for Carleton, it has been killing interest in the CIS for years. ”   (Editor’s note – Yeah Ravens, for the sake of all the rest of the poor wretches in the CIS, knock it off, would you!)

  • In Europe –  We get a disappointing report that former Dinos star, Ross Bekkering,
    Janelle Bekkering, playing for Alberta U-17s before Gonzaga, before Europe.

    Janelle Bekkering, playing for Alberta U-17s before Gonzaga, before Europe.

    who is in his 5th year in The Netherlands, has sustained a hand injury which may keep him out of the imminent NBL playoffs.  Meanwhile, his younger sister  Janelle is preparing for play-offs with Cavigal team in Nice, France.  Not surprisingly, ‘Super-Dad’, Simon Bekkering , will be traveling to Nice this Spring ! More CIS athletes every year are going overseas to play pro basketball.  In the semi-pro ranks, Coach Eddie Richardson tells us that the Calgary Crush of the ABA are in Seattle this weekend, in the opening round of League playoffs.  The Crush have a line-up full of CIS grads, including UC’s Tyler Fidler, Ottawa’s Jermaine Campbell,  Christian Upshaw, St. FX, John Riad, Calgary, and Dom Coward, Lethbridge.

     

     

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.