The 2 Hottest Teams in Canada West

 

 

 

Thunderbirds and Bisons both on a roll in League play 

5th year defensive stopper, Will Ondrik and his T’Birds teammates move to 15-1 on the season.   photo – Richard Lam  ,  UBC Athletics

The 2 hottest teams in Canada West continued to reel off the wins this past weekend. The UBC Thunderbirds, as expected, swept their 2 game set with the Brandon Bobcats in Vancouver, and the ‘Birds are now 7 wins in a row, 2nd only to the Manitoba Bisons in winning streaks, with the Herd up to 8.  Manitoba got a scare on Friday at home against the UNBC T’Wolves , but pulled it out, and won more easily on Saturday.

But, in this ‘Year of the RPI Monster’, both teams lost ground in the ‘order of finish’ race.  Last week the T’Birds stood at .6559 , but dropped .109, still in the top spot for the moment.  The Herd, after their 2 wins, fell 149 points from last week’s .5842.  (I guess you just play your best, and let the chips fall …. ).  UBC looks to be destined for the 3rd or 4th play-off seed, even at 19-1, while Manitoba are likely 5th in the RPI ordered seeding list.

Both these teams will be ‘tough outs’ in the post-season , and may be good picks for the Final Four.  Our best guess for the hosts may be either the Alberta Golden Bears or the Saskatchewan Huskies, who seem to rise to the top spot as we try various guesses for the results of remaining League games.  The Dogs and GBs meet in saskatoon this coming weekend to decide the issue.

Who else is going well?  The Lethbridge Pronghorns have won 4 straight, and locked up a play-off spot, and have a bye week to marshal their forces before their final week’s appointment vs the Bears in Edmonton.

 

15 League All-Stars will be tough to decide

Shane Osayande, Huskies          photo – Huskies Athletics

Coaches across Canada West are nominating top players for all-star consideration at season’s end.  They have 15 players to select, and we thought we’d look at an expanded number of possible candidates.

Keith Omoerah, Justus Alleyn of Manitoba  … Denzel Lynch-Blair- Winnipeg … Earl Thompson Jr – Brandon … Brandon Tull – Regina … Shane Osayande, Matt Forbes – Saskatchewan … Dejon Burdeaux, Elliott Sentance – Lethbridge … Brett Layton, Josh Ross – Mt. Royal  …  Thomas Cooper, David Kapinga – Calgary … Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, Mamadou Gueye, Alberta … Thadius Galvez – MacEwan … Rhys Elliott – UNBC … Volodymyr Iegorov – Thompson Rivers …  Aldrich Berrios – UBC-Okanagan … Patrick Vandervelden – Trinity Western … Manny Dulay – Fraser Valley … Conor Morgan , Jordan Jensen-Whyte – UBC … Grant Sitton – Victoria

So, there are 25 of the best.  We know we could form a play-off team with 10 who we left off this list, but this is a pretty good crop from which to select.

Top 10 Rookies –

Scott Kellum, UVic import guard

Narcisse Ambanza – Wesmen,   James Wagner – Bisons,  Johneil Johnson –  Reg. Cougars,  Max Eisle – Dinos, Scott Kellum –  Vikes,  Brett Warren  – Pronghorns, Craig Martin- MRU Cougars, Trent Monkman – Wolf Pack, Isaiah Familia – T’Birds, Matt Lafontaine – Heat

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92 Years of Refereeing Experience

Richard Schear (L) and Art Unsworth (R) team up at a recent high school tourney .

Richard Schear, who lives in Redcliff, AB, began officiating basketball (and, eventually, football) after he had completed his Education degree at University. The 72 year old has been active as a ref now for 48 years, while his taller, much younger side-kick, the irrepressible Art Unsworth, has been a ‘zebra’ for 44 years.  Schear explains why he enjoys officiating …  First, the camaraderie  with the other officials.  Second, it forces him to keep in good physical shape.  Third, being a referee in high school sports, gives Richard a chance to  interact with the youth of today.  “By and large those young people who play high school sports are great kids, they will be the leaders of tomorrow,” says Schear.  Unsworth, a farmer-rancher near Maple Creek, SK, has 2 sons,  Clint (6-10) and Chris (6-8) who both graduated from U. Saskatchewan, having won a Canada West and CIS Championship with the Huskies in 2010.

As well as cheering his boys through high school (Medicine Hat, AB)  and university ball, Art, has been a mentor for many young refs in the latter part of his career. We congratulate these two fine gentlemen on their amazing contribution to the game over the years.

Overtime –  

Coach Steve Burrows         photo –  Regina Leader-Post

  • Regina Cougars head coach Steve Burrows on his team’s effort in topping the Calgary Dinos on Saturday,  “I wish I could say it was something I said or did, but these guys stuck together and they kept on working at it and kept on going,” Burrows said. “A couple of things went our way and we made some shots. It was just that whole thing of believing and trying to stick with what we were doing.”  From a Regina Leader-Post article by Rob Vanstone 
  • Huskies Coach, Barry Rawlyk, celebrated his 100th and 101st Canada West conference wins as head  man for the U of S  team with a two-game sweep at home over the Mount Royal  Cougars. Rawlyk spent the majority of his long coaching career as a high school coach, before taking over at U. Saskatchewan in 2010.  The leading active coach, in his 17th year at UBC is Kevin Hanson with 270 wins in Canada West play.  2nd is Calgary’s Dan Vanhooren, who, over the same 17 years has 201.  3rd – UVic’s Craig Beaucamp with 191 in 13 seasons. 4th – TRU’s Scott Clark, in his 17th year has 179. 5th – Barnaby Craddock of Alberta has 153 in his 12 years at 3 different schools.
  • Derek Wolf plays his final home game at MRU on Saturday.         photo – MRU Athletics

     This , of course, is the time of year for ‘Senior Nights’, as senior players finish their eligibility, and most also finish a degree. The  MRU Cougars graduating players, Brett Layton and Derek Wolf, will be honoured on Saturday night between the 4 pm Women’s game and the 6 pm Men’s contest.  TRU’s big man, Volodymyr Iegorov, plays his last home game this Saturday for the Wolf Pack, and 6 other schools will recognize the accomplishments of their senior grads this weekend.  UFV –  Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon, Winnipeg – Jamar Farley, Brandon – Earl Thompson Jr, Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem, MacEwan-  Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, and Thomas Jereniuk,   Saskatchewan – Matt Forbes, and Trevor Severinski,  UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and Will Ondrik.

 

‘Upon Further Review’ … Not UBC

 

UBC, ‘upon further review’ of the baffling RPI rankings, is not #1 in Canada West

As a legendary Canada West coach used to say, “Assumption is the mother of all ****-ups!”   This is certainly the case with our careless deduction regarding final play-off seedings for Canada West.  Trusting (gullible) souls that we are, we reason that a 19-1 record will give a team a better spot than a 16-4.  Well, not so fast!

In the mysterious world of the RPI, we wrongly assumed that ‘things would eventually ‘balance out’ over the season.  But no ….  There is, in fact, no logical scenario for wins and losses over the final weeks where UBC can finish at #1.  Using the brilliant Canada West Playoff  what-if planning tool , as devised by the incredible Dr. Martin Timmerman as part of his amazing  U-Sports Hoops web-site, we can plot these possibilities.  Go to the site.  Follow the link.  Feed in your game by game predictions, then hit the ‘Press this button to see the overall ….” , and Shazzam !  You get the final RPI ratings using your guesses.

Are the T-Birds on top of the RPI stats, even when they win-out, and have a clear best of 19-1?   No.    Redo it, with some other results;  maybe someone will sweep, or another pair will split.  Do it many times over (using common sense picks, however).  UBC is not #1 in any case we’ve tried.   UBC Coach Kevin Hanson doesn’t want to focus on this, as he says, ” … there are 3 weekends left to play. We all knew the RPI rule was being used with the intent to help balance an unbalanced schedule.  I will reserve to comment until the rest of the league games are completed.”   The #2 ranked team in U-Sports Canada rankings will not, it appears now, have the inside track at hosting the Canada West Final 4.

We have to move on, and talk about the week’s schedule.  If you want to look ahead to play-off probabilities, you can use the ‘Shazam ‘  planning tool at U-Sportshoops.

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The Ravens knocked their Ottawa cousins down a notch, and UBC are back at #2.  Ryerson are unbeaten in OUA action, and will be pointing to their game at McMaster, then on to Brock later in the week. Calgary goes on the road to Regina, and will be ‘circling the wagons’ to try and maintain their clean slate of away wins. A move by the Saskatchewan Huskies into the #9 spot, as they are tougher as the season progresses.  Neither McGill nor Dalhousie demonstrate total confidence in their Quebec and Atlantic races.  Threats to their position from Concordia, Laval in the RSEQ and UNB, Saint Marys, St. FX in the AUS.These are both play-off questions.

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Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28

UNBC   at Manitoba –  The Timberwolves are clearly the underdogs against the surging Bisons.  UNBC will be scratching to add scoring, and to slow down Justus Alleyn, AJ Basi, Keith Omoerah and the rest of the Herd.   8 pm Central on Fri, the 6 pm Sat.

 

#5 Calgary  at  Regina  –  The Dinos, with their more vigorous and ‘all-in’ defensive effort should frustrate the sputtering Cougars. Calgary will be looking for efficient offense, and more cohesion from their 12 man rotation. Regina is at home, and need a win to help with playoff hopes.  8 pm Central both games.

Josh Ross and the Cougars face a tough task at U of S.

Mount Royal   at  #9 Saskatchewan –  Nobody said it would be easy, and MRU, after 2 losses to UBC, are now at Saskatchewan, the only team to have a win over the Thunderbirds.  Tough indeed.  Brett Layton and Josh Ross will have their hands full with Shane Osayande and Matt Forbes.      8 pm Central for both.

Winnipeg  at MacEwan  –  Is Winnipeg for real?  They are ‘under the radar’, even at 9-5.  Some say ‘easy schedule’, but the Wesmen face road games against an experienced and under-rated Mac crew. Not a runaway here for Ryan Oirbans, Sean Tarver against  Adonis Monfort- Palomino, Keith Gerdes and company.    8 pm Mountain on  Fri, 7 pm Sat

UBC-Okanagan  at  Lethbridge  –  The Pronghorns are motivated by play-off possibilities, while the Heat have to be content to play ‘spoiler’ here.  Dejon Burdeaux and Elliott Sentance vs Aldrich Berrios and Mitch Goodwin  is an interesting match-up.      Games are Friday at 8 pm Mountain, and Sat at 7 pm .

5th year forward, Volodymyr Iegorov , TRU ace

Thompson Rivers at Fraser Valley –  This is the ‘Feature Series of the Week’, and one with so many possibilities.  Old foes dating back to College League days, these two schools have both had success in Canada West .  UFV’s guard play (Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon)  make them slim home favourites.  But can the Cascades handle rebounder/scorers Volodymyr Iegorov and Michael Rouault off the Wolf Pack?   Fri – 8 pm and Sat – 7pm Pacific

Brandon   at    #2  UBC  –  Just when the Bobcats were building some momentum, they fly to the Coast for a most demanding test against the League -leaders.  UBC’s Conor Morgan vs Brandon’s Earl Thompson Jr.  Tyvon Cooper for the ‘Cats and Jordan jensen-Whyte of the ‘Birds.  Too much firepower from the Thunderbirds, you would think.     These games are 7 pm Pacific both Friday / Saturday

Trinity Western  at Victoria –  Two ‘must-haves’ for the Vikes.  Grant Sitton welcomes more help;  he has Scott Kellum, Justin Kinnear, now who else will step up?  TWU have a new spirit in their ‘team under construction’.  If their guards can compete, their big men can give UVic some trouble.     Friday at 8 pm Pacific, and Saturday at 7 pm.

Alberta gets the bye this week.

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Overtime –        

  • Canada West corrected their RPI calculations (which, admittedly, can be very tricky), and the Manitoba Bisons are at .5872, the 5th highest in the League.  That makes more sense, since they won 2 games.  Teams can drop, if they play a lower-ranking opponent, as the Herd did with TWU.  The Manitoba drop first reported as .4964, however, seemed far too great. MRU was also corrected to .4964 (not .4704 as originally posted).
  •  If teams are tied for the final playoff spot, the tie breakers will be – 1. Results between the 2 teams  2.  Record vs common opponents 3. RPI rating Once the 12 teams for play-offs have been decided, they will be seeded 1-12 by their RPI ranking.
  • UFV Coach Adam Friesen with his thoughts about TRU this week.  ““We know they’re going to be hard-nosed, they’re going to be tough inside, and they’re going to be throwing a bunch of different defences at us to try to throw us off,” UFV bench boss Adam Friesen said. “Volodymyr Iegorov is one of the best players in our league, if not the country, so we’ve got our hands full with him.”   From Adam Kinvig  , Fraser Valley Athletics
  • From the OUA tonight – #4  Ryerson 99 at McMaster 77

 

 

Weekend Sweeps Move Teams Up

 

 

Love the Sweep !   Teams on the rise …

The UBC Thunderbirds made the biggest ‘statement’ of the Canada West season with their 102-76 battering of the Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday in Vancouver.  Their 2 game sweep of the Bruins puts the ‘Birds at 11-1 with building confidence in the quality of their depth and determination as a potential CW champion. UBC is not just Conor Morgan, but have the gritty leader, Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and another 5th year stand-out in 6-7 Will Ondrik.  As their ‘supporting cast’ deliver performances like those of Luka Zaharajevic, Taylor Browne, and A.J. Holloway vs the ‘GBs’, we see the T-Birds as the favourites to host the Final 4 in early March.

The Saskatchewan Huskies (8-4) won 2 ‘bonus RPI’ games at Lethbridge this past weekend, and are looking more like a top 4 contender with their deeper playing roster. Since his arrival after semester 1, import guard Lawrence Moore (3rd yr, 6-3, Chicago) has averaged 14 ppg and 4.8 assists.  Jaylan Morgan (3rd, 6-5, Toronto) is stepping up his game, and, when he returns from injury, Chan De Ciman will add to the mix.  Then, of course, the Green and White have the formidable post pair of Shane Osayande (18.7 ppg/ 11 rebs) and Matt Forbes (13.3 ppg/ 8.3 rebs).

The Calgary Dinos (10-2) get a weekend home sweep over Fraser Valley, one a 106-68 blow-out, but the 2nd a somewhat shaky 92-87 last minute win.  UC will have to sort out the consistency of their effort as they welcome the aforementioned ‘Sled Dogs’ to town this Friday and Saturday. This is the feature match-up this week in Canada West. Can Thomas Cooper get back to his prolific scoring ways?  Can the Dinos defend the Huskies bigs?  Can Calgary use their vaunted depth to turn aside the advancing Prairie power?

Bisons guard, Justus Alleyn

The Manitoba Bisons (6-6) have started on their hopeful drive to 10-0 leap up the standings in this 2nd semester.  They brush aside the fading Regina Cougars (6-6) with 2 convincing road wins behind veterans Justus Alleyn and Keith Omoerah.  A trip this week to Trinity Western is unlikely to slow the rumbling Herd, who have plans to keep climbing the League table.

The Victoria Vikes (5-7) return home with fresh hope after 2 wins at UBC-O, the 1st Vikes sweep of the season.  Their challenge this week will be to defend home court against a tougher opponent, the Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-6). Can rookie Scott Kellum match the ‘Horn’s main man, Dejon Burdeaux?  UVic has little wriggle room as they vie for a playoff spot, but UL will be wanting to turn things around after 2 home losses.

Josh Ross has been a catalyst for the Cougars attack

The Mt. Royal Cougars get a pair of road victories at UNBC to move to 7-5, and their forward duo of Josh Ross and Brett Layton are giving the Cougs reason for optimism. Uo next for this under-rated former college power?  Oh,just  a home court visit from the mighty Thunderbirds !  MRU will step on Kenyon Court as decided underdogs, with UBC rolling more troops off their bench .Win one of these, and the Cougars will draw even more lavish praise.

 

 

5th Year players on a final tour  …

Many of these 5th year players across the 17-team Canada West will be very familiar to faithful fans.  Most with skills we’ve come to appreciate, some who’ve made a big play to beat our home team, and some who’ve captured accolades, trophies, and championships.  A tribute is in order to these 5th years, the great majority of whom will be finishing off a degree and moving on to a very different phase of their lives.

Here’s a list of these 5th year players … give them a hand as they play in your gym for what may well be the last time.

Alberta – Brett Roughead … Brandon –  Earl Thompson Jr, Denham Buchanan, Chris Stanhope, Esmat Atem … Calgary Dinos – Jasdeep Gill, Thomas Cooper, Dallas Karch … Fraser Valley – Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon … Lethbridge – Will Hickey … MacEwan – Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens … Mt. Royal – Derek Wolf … Regina – Aaron McGowan, Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, Matthew Augustine … Saskatchewan –  Matthew Forbes, Trevor Severinski … Thompson Rivers – Volodymyr Iegorov … UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte , Will Ondrik … UBC-O – Mitch Goodwin …  UNBC – Rhys Elliot, Elliot Rowe, Sam Zhang … Victoria – Grant Sitton … Winnipeg – Jamar Farley

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Scores from the East  on Sunday –

Atlantic – at UNB 93 Memorial 79,  at Saint Marys 75 # 8 Dalhousie  71 …one more season in the AUS where we see the teams in the 6 team League run hot and cold from one weekend to the next.  Memorial Seahawks were flying high last week at 7-3 atop the standings, but lose 2 at UNB.  UPEI move from 2-7 to 4-7 with last second wins at St. FX and Cape Breton (the only predictable team left).   So, despite their loss to their  ‘down the street’ rival Saint Marys, the Dal Tigers lead at 7-3, with X and UNB 7-4, and Memorial now 4th at 7-5.  On any given night ….

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The big game in U-Sports this week is Tuesday’s first matchup of the season at U. Ottawa’s Montpetit Hall  between the twin 9-0 ‘Bytown Bullies’, the #1 Carleton Ravens and #2 Ottawa Gee-Gees.  The ‘Ponies’ swept this series last year, but, as they do, the Blackbirds came on at playoff time to claim yet another CIS Championship.  Many of the faces are the same, with Connor Wood and Kaza Kajami-Keane guiding the ravens, and Caleb Agada still powering Ottawa.  New faces include big Eddie Ekiyor for Carleton and Adam Presutti a key transfer from McMaster, now in Gee-Gees colours for his final season.   Fans can watch live on OUA-TV  (8 pm Eastern)  TUESDAY –  RAVENS vs GEE-GEES

Here are the Divisional standings in the 17 team OUA, where they also use RPI to seed their season -end Wilson Cup play-offs.

 

UBC boss Kevin Hanson

Overtime –

  • UBC Coach Kevin Hanson, after his T-Birds’ thrashing of Aberta on Saturday, “The way our three leaders (Morgan, Jensen-Whyte, Ondrik) started the game, they brought so much confidence,” began Hanson. “And they just seemed to transfer that energy to the rest of the team. It was free-flowing energy and when our bench came in, they just carried on with no fear of failure.” From Howard Tsumura, The Province
  • TRU’s rookie, Trent Monkman, on his more significant role in helping the Wolves to a home win on Saturday over Winnipeg, “It was a bit of a special one. It was a big game for us — we were coming off a loss — and it felt good to have a bit of an impact,” the native of Smithers said. “It feels good that the coaches are trusting me a little bit to get in there and show what I can do.” From an Adam Williams story in Kamloops the Week    

 

 

Calgary Surrenders Lead in Final Minutes

 

 

Hot 2nd half garners win for the Knights

team photo-Lars Schleuter

Lars Schleuter scores 18 , but UC drops a game to Warner-Pacific

 Warner-Pacific Knights 93  Calgary Dinos  86  – The Dinos 2nd game down in Chandler, AZ  was looking good at the half.  Calgary takes a 46-36 half-time lead as Lars Schleuter is hot from the outside.  The 2nd half is a different story, as the Knights charge back with 57 points, and the Dinos cool off with  40.

Most of the damage is done in mid-frame with a 12-1 run from W-P, then again with a 24-10 blitz as they approach 2 minutes.  Calgary get 23 points/ 5 rebs/ 6 assts from  Thomas Cooper, and 18 points  by Schleuter.  Jhony Verrone counted 13 points / 3 assists.   Warner-Pacific hit 28/40 free throws vs Calgary’s 13/19.  Box Score 

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Overtime –

Dave Smart, Carleton, (L), with an incredible winning record in U-Sports.                                           Kevin Hanson, UBC, (Rt) who tops Canada West coaches.

  •  The 15 winningest active coaches   (5 yrs +)  in U Sports (CIS) –  1.  Dave Smart, Carleton – 504 wins – 45 losses = .918  … in 17 years !   2. James Derouin, Ottawa – 173-52 = .769 … 7 yrs   3. Kevin Hanson, UBC – 390-141 = .734  in 17 years   4. Barry Rawlyk, Saskatchewan – 148-60 = .712  in 7 years   5. Amos Connelly, McMaster – 128-59 = .684  in 7 years   6. Steve Konchalski, St. FX – 628-308 = .670  in 42 years!   7. Roy Rana, Ryerson – 126-67 = .653 in 7 years  8. Dave DeAveiro, McGill  (Ottawa) – 329-181 = .645  in 16 years  9. Craig Beaucamp, Victoria – 266-156 = .630  in 14 years   10. Chris Oliver, Windsor (Queens) – 242-154 = .611 in 14 years    11. Adam Friesen, Fraser Valley – 77-49 = .611  in 5 years   12. Barnaby Craddock, Alberta (Brandon, UFV) – 211-143 = .596  in 12 years   13. Jonah Taussig, Saint Marys – 86-61 = .585  in 5 years   14. Dan Vanhooren, Calgary – 292-209 = .583  in 17 years     15. Mike Raimbault, Winnipeg (Brandon) – 126-105 = .545  in 8 years.

 

 

Regional Rivalries for Week 5

 

 

Traditional rivals make for heated skirmishes !

Years past - Henry and Ross Bekkering share a big win over Lethbridge.

Years past – Henry and Ross Bekkering share a big win over Lethbridge.

‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ … that’s the cynical way of looking at things, but, when you get right down to it, who do you most enjoy beating?  Yes, of course, your natural rival.  We do remember that time in Lethbridge, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg !  That’s what makes a weekend like this just that little bit more compelling, and excruciatingly intense.  These games are for bragging rights, playoff spots, recruiting traction … you name it.  Revenge.  You realize their fans used to steal stuff out of our medical kit, throw foreign objects into our bench !!  Or how about over-heating our locker-room?  Or putting us in a meeting room about a half-mile from the gym ?!  Did we mention the referees  …  we better not get started there.  This is no regular game ….This week we have –

Thursday  games –                * Local times

Dejon Burdeaux is a driving force for the Pronghorns.

Dejon Burdeaux is a driving force for the Pronghorns.  photo – U of L

Calgary (3-1) at Lethbridge (4-2)  (hostility)  8 pm –  The fans in L.A. spare no emotion in their disdain for  the ‘Big City Boys’ from Calgary.  Even ‘Horns coach, Mike Hansen, who played at UL when Canada West was a 6 team loop, says he remembers how “Calgary eliminated us from the playoffs in my 5th year”.  Games won and lost are etched in the memory of players and fans from both programs.

The ‘Horns are a younger team, with far less depth, but, at 4-2, they have performed very well in most games this Fall.  Key stat – Lethbridge is 5-1 at home vs Calgary over the past 6 League meetings. Calgary coach, Dan Vanhooren, in his 17th season at UC, played at Alberta and has seen many intense battles between the Dinos and the Pronghorns. “We need to play hard, and we know they’ll be aiming to do the same. These are always big games when we go to Lethbridge, or they come here”, says Vanhooren.       Our call –  Will home court be as decisive a factor this time around?  This may be the Dinos’ year for a sweep.

Brandon (2-4) at Winnipeg (4-2)  (long memories) –  8 pm … Rivals dating back to the days of the Great Plains Conference, the Bobcats and Wesmen  have each had their years of domination.  The Ws prevailed in the 1970s, then Jerry Hemmings ‘Cats ruled the Plains in the 1980s and 1990s. (Brandon had a 60-8 record over Winnipeg in those years, and BU Coach Gil Cheung was team captain for 2 championship teams ).  Recently, it has been the Wesmen with the upper hand … UW Coach Mike Raimbault was the Brandon Coach back in 2007-08, and he went 20-2 in Canada West.  Key stat – Since taking over at Winnipeg in 2010, his teams are 16-2 vs Brandon.         Our Call – The Wesmen are clear favourites, with an improved offensive attack, a strong team defense (4th in CW at 73 ppg against).  The Bobcats have a defense that has limited opponents to a 37.8% average from the floor, but they need more at the offensive end to match UW.

dwolfmru-copy

Mt. Royal guard, Derek Wolf

MacEwan (2-4)  at Mt. Royal   (3-1) (‘all- Explorer  rivals’) –       8 pm … Here are 2 former college teams, who got to play each other 4 times a year as they competed in the 6 team Explorer Division of Canada West the last 2 seasons.  The Griffins are  “… solid at the perimeter”, says MRU coach Marc Dobell. “Thadius Galvez (19.5 ppg), Denzel James  and Adonis (Monfort-Palomino) are playing well,  and we have to defend well to contain them.”

The Cougars have veteran, Derek Wolf, and 3rd year Glen Yang, both 3 point threats. MRU’s big plus will be the forward duo of Josh Ross (18.5 ppg/ 10.8 rebs) and Brett Layton (17 ppg/11 boards).                Our call –  Home court is an edge for Mt. Royal.  The Griffs will struggle to contain the Cougar big men.

Friday  games –  

Bisons' Keith Omoerah drives against Alberta. Photo by Jeff Miller Bison Sports

Bisons’ Keith Omoerah drives against Alberta.            Photo by Jeff Miller Bison Sports

Alberta (6-0)  at Manitoba (2-4)  (Original 6)  –  8 pm ..  Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp can be excused for feeling ‘battle fatigue’, with a tough early schedule – at Calgary, TRU, at UBC, Alberta, Winnipeg.  The Bears are “ … an Original 6 opponent,” says Schepp. “They are unbeaten, and we will need to be at our best at home this week.”  The Bisons have allowed 83 ppg, while Alberta just 64 ppg. (*We recognize the schedule at least partially dictates this stat), and that is ‘advantage Bears’.  Manitoba have great perimeter depth, while U of A boast the dangerous front-line of Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke.         Our Call – A split is very likely.  The Herd must protect home court, and Alberta are winning with defense.

UBC-O (1-5) at Thompson Rivers (1-5) ( Okanagan Family Feud) –  7  pm ..With both teams looking for a pair of wins to get them back closer to contention, this will be hard-fought.  TRU have faced 3 tough opponents in UBC, at Manitoba, and at Alberta, and they match-up better against UBC-O. The Wolf Pack’s Luke Morris and Volodymyr Iegorov  will get special attention from Okanagan’s David Manshrek and other forwards.      Our Call –  The ‘Pack to secure 2 wins on home turf.

UNBC (2-4)  at Fraser Valley  (2-2) ( ‘CCAA Battle’) – 8 pm ..  History lesson … These schools both won Canadian Colleges Nationals … UNBC in 2010, and UFV in 2004.  This is now, however, and the Cascades are at home with a strong back-court, led by seniors Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon. The Timberwolves counter with Aussie import Rhys Elliot, and 6-4, Marcus MacKay (Terrace, BC). Key stat –  The ‘Wolves are 0-6 in Abbotsford, since joining Canada West in 2012.                Our Call – This may be the year.  UFV the favourites, but not overwhelmingly.

Vikes Grant Sitton and 'Birds Will Ondrik

Vikes Grant Sitton and ‘Birds Will Ondrik

UBC (4-0)  at Victoria (2-4)  (Ferry Fracas – old enemies) – 8 pm .. “I can still hear the Vikes Macot (‘Mother Hubbard’) yelling in my ear when we played them back in the ‘80s”, says UBC Coach, and former T-Birds star, Kevin Hanson.  UBC’s  high scoring wing man, Conor Morgan grew up just a stone’s throw from the UVic campus, and UBC assistant coach, Spencer MacKay, was a 5-time Canada West all-star, and UVic’s all-time leading scorer. The Vikes have won 14 League titles, and UBC 10,  but the T-Birds have 4 since 2007, while UVic’s last is 2006.

This year’s version has UBC as a big favourite, with Morgan, Jordan Jensen-Whyte and  company near the top of all team scoring stats, while the Vikes are struggling there, and with an unusually porous defense.   Our Call –  UBC gets 2 wins.

 8 pm ..Regina (2-2) at Trinity Western (2-4)  7 pm ( The Huskies were busy ? )  The mercurial Green Cougars are one of the more baffling teams, but their veteran guards led by Alex Igual, Brandon Tull,  and Aaron McGowan will give the Spartans all that they can handle. Tyus Allen, import Pogos Trunyan , and leading scorer, Vartan Tanielien, will need help from their supporting cast if TWU is to win at home.               Our Call – Regina the favourites, but Trinity with a chance at a split.

Winnipeg at Brandon- 8 pm ,  MacEwan at Mt. Royal- 8 pm

Saturday  games-  Alberta at Manitoba – 6 pm,  Lethbridge at Calgary – 7 pm, UBC-O at Thompson Rivers – 8 pm,  UNBC at Fraser Valley – 7 pm,  Regina at Trinity Western – 8 pm

Sunday –   Victoria at UBC – 2 pm


CIS Top 10 This Week –         screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-3-13-47-pm


 

Overtime –

  • Anonymous coaches’ comments, re: The Schedule … ‘Tough to swallow when you see some of our competitors will play none of these top teams for entire year.’  And another, “Just looking at some of these ridiculous schedules.  XXXXX doesn’t have anybody tough at all.”     (There are big differences between schools)
  • Other CIS (soon to be U-Sports) games on Wednesday –  at #6 McMaster  Guelph, Laurier at Western Ont, at Windsor  Waterloo,  St. FX at Cape Breton
  • Results of games played to date between ‘Pioneer teams’  and ‘Explorer teams’ … 17 Pioneer wins  –  5  Explorer wins.

 

 

T-Birds Loaded For Battle

 

2016-17 Canada West  Previews –

UBC Thunderbirds

 ’15-‘16 –  3rd at CW Final 4,  Host Nationals                 Wins 16   losses  4    (Pioneer)

Returnees –    5th years – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, 6-6 wing, Calgary. Will Ondrik, 6-7  UBC T-Birdwing, Vernon, BC.  … 4th Year – Conor Morgan, 6-9 wing, Victoria. Phil Jalalpoor,  Germany. Luka Zaharajevic, 6-7 forward, Vancouver. A.J. Holloway, 6-2 guard, Tacoma, WA.  … 3rd Years – Patrick Simon, 6-8 forward, Port Coquitlam, BC.… 2nd Years – Roger Milne, 6-8 forward, Winnipeg. Taylor Browne, 6-2 guard, Surrey, B.C.

New faces –   Isaiah Familia, 6-2 guard, 1st year, Windsor, ON (Holy Names HS).   Izaiah Ugoalah, 6-5 guard, 1st, Vancouver (Sir W. Churchill).  Justin McChesney, 6-10 forward, 1st, Prince Rupert, B.C., (Charles Hays Sr.)

 From his start at UBC in 2000 through the ’15-’16 season, Coach Kevin Hanson has a .750 winning percentage in Canada West League play.   Money !       So,  barring any major upset, we can safely assume this season’s Thunderbirds will be near the top of the 17 team loop once again.

The ‘Birds have experience, and they’re high quality returnees at that!  Jordan Jensen-Whyte, formerly a rangy, slim point man, has morphed into a bruising slasher at the wing.  He averaged 15 ppg, 48% from the floor, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.  Conor Morgan is a very tall, inside-outside offensive force, and should improve on last year’s ‘pretty good’ numbers – 14.8 ppg/ 7.3 rebounds / 1.5 blocks per game.

Luka Zaharajevic is getting his shot at making a big impact for UBC.

Luka Zaharijevic is getting his shot at making a big impact for UBC.    photo- UBC -Wilson Wong

A less well-known character, outside of Point Grey and Kitsilano areas in Vancouver, is 6-7, 255 lb post man, Luka ‘The Bazooka’ Zaharijevic.  Big Luka recently laid a career high 24 point/ 8 rebound game on the visiting Lethbridge Pronghorns, and Hanson said, “We’re very proud of him. He’s worked so hard, in dropping 25 lbs.  He could be great!  He’s a thick bodied, massive guy.  He hurts guys in practice!”

On the perimeter, UBC counts on Phil Jalalpoor at the point, with AJ Holloway and Taylor Browne both back, and looking ready to contribute even more this year.  Two rookies who are sure to get some attention are the two Iz(s)aiahs,  Isaiah Familia and Izaiah Ugoalah, a pair of tall, athletic shooters with great upside.  Familia was ‘Mr. Basketball’ in Windsor, ON the last 2 years in high school, and the coach says, “He’s a gamer … better than we even thought he’d be.”

Justin McChesney is a very big rookie, and, according to Hanson, “ … a diamond in the rough.”  Initially projected as a red-shirt, the Prince Rupert post man has played his way onto the 12-man roster.

We could go on.  We should.  They also have Will Ondrik, a tough, tall defender, and  two big forwards, Patrick Simon and Roger Milne off the bench. Suffice it to say that the T’Birds are loaded, and they want to get back to Nationals after hosting last year.  By their early season form, we could easily see that happening, if all the pieces fall into place.  But those pieces certainly appear to be there!

(* Credit to the Province podcast ‘Varsity Letters’ , with host Howard Tsumura interviewing Kevin Hanson last week)

Schedule –  Nov-Dec – at Thompson Rivers, bye, Manitoba, home/home Victoria, UBC-O – 4 series   Jan-Feb – at Saskatchewan, Alberta, at Mt. Royal, Brandon, UNBC, at Trinity W  – 6 series in the 2nd half.

 Prediction –  The ‘Birds should fly high.  A solid contender for League honours.


 

 

Overtime –

  • UBC has a big red-shirt group, including the talented, but unpredictable Jauquin Bennett-Boire, who started for Saskatchewan as a rookie last Fall, but dropped out of school at Christmas.  Still with the T-Birds football team is Parker Simson, a highly recruited guard / QB from Kelowna.  Coach Hanson says, “ He’s a tough, gritty competitor with a championship attitude.” Due to the football schedule his status with the hoops squad is a bit unsure.
  • On the topic of pre-season schedules … See Canada this Fall !  Play for the Regina Cougars ! … 10 games so far, from Victoria to Calgary,  day trip to Brandon, off to St. Catharines, ON, and a bus ride to Lethbridge this week for #11-12.  On the other hand, we have Fraser Valley, with a couple of short cab rides for some B.C. College scrimmages, and 2 home games vs Lethbridge and Laurier.  At least the Cascades are hitting all their classes !

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.

‘Old’ Pioneer Powers Scrambling

 

 

 

Changing of the Guard in Canada West ?

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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.

‘Horns Trample Bears in Second Half

 

Brine Burns Bears … huge 2nd half for the 5th year Aussie

Brandon Brine's career night carries Lethbridge to a win over Alberta.

Brandon Brine’s career night carries Lethbridge to a win over Alberta.    photo – UJ Athletics

at Lethbridge 93  Alberta  61 –  A decisive 32-14 Lethbridge outburst in the 3rd quarter breaks this one open after U of A led 39-38 at the half. Alberta all but disappears in the 4th, with Bears starters on the bench and the ‘Horns running free. Brandon Brine has a field day for UL, with 37 points on 7/9 from 3 point range;  Lethbridge (8-5) is 51% from the floor to 36% for an over-matched U of A crew, who are playing with an obvious lack of depth.   Dejon Burdeaux returns to the line-up for UL, and tallies10 points along with an amazing 8 steals, 8 assists,  as his defense puts heavy pressure on the Alberta guards.  Lyndon Annetts started well for the Bears (7-7), and was their high man, with 20 points, while Colby Jackson scored 10 and counted 5 assists. Both of U of A’s ‘scoring forwards’, Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke played limited minutes, and were well below their usual offensive totals.  Box Score

 

at Manitoba 89  Regina 82 –   The Bisons  get the big hoops in the 4th from

A.J. Basi pilots the Bisons to their 10th win, as they defeat Regina.

A.J. Basi pilots the Bisons to their 10th win, as they defeat Regina.     photo – Bisons Athletics

Jonathan Alexander,  A.J. Basi, and Keith Omoerah, and Regina cannot hit from the outside to overtake the Herd.  Basi seals it with free throws, as UM moves up to 10-5, and still in the race for top spot.  Regina (8-5) mount a determined come-back, after trailing 50-35 at the break, and they come within 2-3 points on several occasions, but never get the defensive stops in the final minutes. Basi riddles the Cougars defense with 27 points, with 5/10 from outside, while Omoerah is strong with his 16 point / 14 rebound / 6 assist effort.  Big Stephen Shields holds the Cougars in the game with his 21 points and 8 rebounds (10/11 from the floor), and Brandon Tull scores 15 / 9 boards / 3 assists.  Jonathan Tull, Will Tallman, and  Aaron McGowan, all keys to Regina’s fine play recently, had off- nights in this one, as they shoot a combined 6/28 from the field.  Box Score

at Winnipeg 81 Saskatchewan  77 –  It was nervous time for the Wesmen, as they got everything that Saskatchewan had, except for the free throws.  The Huskies, with a depleted line-up , played one of their best games of the year, but could not convert on free throws down the stretch, and it allows Winnipeg (8-5) to wriggle off the hook.  UW hit 11 treys to 10 for Sask., and cashed 14/18 from the line vs 9/16  for the Dogs. Saskatchewan was a solid 46% from the floor, and narrowly won the rebounding, but were hurt by 18 turnovers to just 10 from the home team. Ryan Oirbans was huge for Winnipeg with his double of 14 points, punctuated by 11 valuable rebounds, while Jamar Farley also had 14 points plus 6 boards and 5 assists. The high scorer for the Wesmen was Denzel Lynch-Blair with 22, and he added 7 rebounds and 7 assists to post another impressive game.  The Huskies  (4-9) had 4 in double figures, with 12 points / 9 rebounds by Shane Osayande, and 18 points by rookie guard Chan DeCiman.  Box Score

 

# 9 UBC 79 at Victoria  51 –   A  steam-roller job by the visiting Thunderbirds, as UVic’s offense struggles, and the ‘Birds (11-4) run away with it in the final 10 minutes. Seldom has a Vikes team looked as shaky at the defensive end, and the T-Birds’ 45-26 control of the boards was a big factor as well.  It was UBC 48% and UVic 36% from the floor, and the T-Birds getting the ball inside for 18/24 free throws vs just 7/13 for UVic. Four UBC starters in double digits, with Phil Jalalpoor hitting 16 points plus 7 rebounds, and Conor Morgan scoring 15 plus 7 rebounds as well. The Vikes Grant Sitton scored 13, but played only 17 minutes, as Victoria drops to 7-8 on the year.  Box Score

Brandon 98 at Trinity Western 87 –  A blitz by the Bobcats in the 2nd half, as their offense clicks for 51 points, and all 5 starters hit double figures.  The ‘Cats shoot 49% to 41% for Trinity, and it’s a demoralizing defeat for the home team, as they now sit as the only ones without a Canada West win this year.  Earl Thompson Jr. is the top ‘Cat with his 24 points and 10 big boards for a winning double-double. Big forward, John Paul, has a strong game in the paint, with 5 blocked shots and 9 boards to go with 12 points for Brandon (1-12) .  Kelvin Smith laid it all out for TWU, as he posted 31 points on 11/21 from the floor, while Lucas Mannes added 20 points, but shot only 7 for 24 on the night. Box Score

 


 

CIS Scores –
Quebec on Thurs –  McGill 79  Bishops 66,  Laval  90  UQAM  77

 Friday –  Ontario – # 1 Ryerson  86 at Laurentian 62, at #2 Ottawa 76 Queen’s 60 ,               at # 3 Carleton 96  York 53 , at Lakehead 73  # 4 Mc Master 67  (From afar, one gets the impression that playing at Lakehead  may be giving away 10-15 point right off the top.  We know they have great fans, and it’s a tough atmosphere. ‘Down go the Marauders’ !   We might equate it with the AUS ‘Mainlanders’ making the road trip to ‘The Rock’.  Memorial has a wee bit of a home advantage as well ! )  Toronto 73 at Nipissing 69,


Overtime –   

  •  UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson announced the signing go top recruit, Izaiah Ugoalah, 6-5 wing man, who is playing at Winston Churchill HS (Vancouver), after having spent  a ‘prep year’ at Sunrise Christian Academy, Kansas. “We are thrilled to announce the signing of Izaiah. He is a blue chip athlete with huge potential,” said Hanson. “With his length and athleticism, he has the ability to be an impact player at both ends of the court.”  With options to play and study in the U.S. and Canada, the young man chose to remain home, and play at UBC.  Izaiah said, “I’ve been at Drive (Academy, Richmond/Vancouver)  since the fourth grade with Pasha Bains, and he’s a coach at UBC. It felt right. I left my Grade 11 year (for Kansas) and I found out how much l really loved the city of Vancouver and how much I missed it.”          (From UBC Athletics)
  • Manitoba Bisons’ Coach, Kirby Schepp, talking about his team’s pursuit of a playoff spot in an ultra-competitive Pioneer Division, “You know it from the beginning, because of the parity of our league,” Schepp said. “You try to impress that on the players in the very first weekend of the year… now it’s sort of setting in. There’s a loss or two separating about five teams.”   In this article by Melissa Martin in the Winnipeg Free Press.

 

 

 

Road Teams With a Chance

 

Road Games a Tough Go in Canada West

Can Mt. Royal and their veteran post man, Jame Lefebvre, win at UBC-O?

Can Mt. Royal and their veteran post man, James Lefebvre, win at UBC-O?

Statistically, and from many coaches’ experiences, winning games on the road in Canada West can be the ultimate challenge.  It’s a long way from Manitoba to B.C., and the athletes are visiting gyms they may never have seen before.

So many factors mitigate against the visitors, but we look this week at several instances where the parity of talent and performance may see some road teams carrying off a win or two by Saturday night. It’s less likely if you’re MacEwan going into TRU, but match-ups like Regina at home to Lethbridge are far less predictable.

So, here are the road teams that might well be holding out hope for at least a split this Friday and Saturday ….   Certainly Fraser Valley at UNBC, and UBC at Saskatchewan  … and Calgary is looking like they will give UVic a run, along with Mt. Royal playing UBC-O in Kelowna   … The two Winnipeg -based schools look like favourites … the Wesmen over Trinity and Manitoba over the Bears, but particular caution for the Herd, however, since Alberta took one from the mighty T-Birds in Vancouver !

Pioneer Division –

Mack Roth has been a consistent scorer for the 4-0 Vikes.

Mack Roth has been a consistent scorer for the 4-0 Vikes.

Calgary Dinos  3-1  at Victoria Vikes  4-0 –  This is a ‘Show Me’ kind of series, with the Vikes having won 6 of 8 meetings over the past 4 seasons.  If the Dinos have designs on beating UVic this time, then the visitors need to win on the boards, run their offense and share the ball, and stifle the Vikes key scorers. (Brilliant game plan, editor!)   Who scores in the paint?  Calgary, with any of their 5 or 6 post players, or Victoria, with their screening, back-cutting, offense?  Calgary hopes for the return of quick guard, David Kapinga, who missed last weekend in Manitoba. Road wins vs good teams are hard to come by ….

Alberta Golden Bears  2-2  at Manitoba Bisons 2-2 —  The Bears have the forwards to give Wyatt Anders, Keith Omoerah, Brett Jewell, and co. a run on the glass, but can their guards match-up with Justus Alleyn, AJ Basi, and Ilarion Bonhomme ?  The compact Colby Jackson is a capable point man for Coach Craddock, and he needs shooting guards …  Sheldon Pittman? Lyndon Annetts? … to make their presence felt.  M. Gueye can’t carry the offense every night! Can the Buffalos break through against the GBs ?

Regina looks to Jonathan Tull to get them 2 wins at home vs the U of L.

Regina looks to Jonathan Tull to give them scoring at home vs the Lethbridge Pronghorns  .

 Lethbridge Pronghorns 2-0 at Regina Cougars 2-0 –  Regina comes off a bye week (rusty or rested?) , and off a win last time they met the ‘Horns.  But Lethbridge has won 7 of their last 8 over the Cougs, and they arrive in the ‘Queen City’ with a veteran crew, led by forward Brandon Brine, and guards Jared Baker and Rob Olsen, who are 5th year players intent on leading U of L to the playoffs.  This should be a tight series, with import guards Dejon Burdeaux (16 ppg/5.5 steals) for the Antelopes and Alex Igual (10 ppg/7.5 asst) for the ‘Cats likely to feature prominently.   Aces for the home squad … Jonathan Tull, and his ‘little brother’, Brandon.

UBC Thunderbirds 3-1 at Saskatchewan Huskies 1-3  –  Another pair of ‘ambitious’ teams in this year of unpredictability in the Pioneer Division …  both the ‘Birds and the Huskies have won a lot of games in the past 10 years (Barry Rawlyk has a 71% winning average for U of S – Kevin Hanson is close to 75% with UBC!)  The T-Birds are 13-4 vs Sask. in those 10 years, and, unless Coach Rawlyk can rally his somewhat bruised ‘pack’, that gap may widen.  UBC has a major size advantage, while Saskatchewan may have more guard depth, however young they may be.  Veterans need to have an impact for U of S – Evan Ostertag and Trevor Severinski, and UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, David Wagner, and Conor Morgan.

Jelane Pryce and the Wesmen are happy to be back home vs TWU.

Jelane Pryce and the Wesmen are happy to be back home vs TWU.

Trinity Western Spartans 0-4 at Winnipeg Wesmen 1-3  –  This may be the lowest profile series of the weekend, but the Spartans will be very motivated to get their opening win, and may have the guns to get it done on the road.  Vartan Tanielian joins Kelvin Smith, Dean Richey, and Lucas Mannes in providing scoring for TWU, and Patrick Vandevelden chips in on the boards.  Winnipeg is happy to be home after their 2 week ‘Tour of Alberta’, and they will want 2 wins to even their record.  Patience is a key for Coach Raimbault, with young players working to ‘learn on the job’.  Jelane Pryce and Jamar Farlay can be leaders for the defense, which will key their successes as a team.

Brandon Bobcats  0-4 … get the bye

Explorer Division –

 

Reese Pribilsky, TRU's 5th year floor leader.

Reese Pribilsky, TRU’s 5th year floor leader.

Mac Ewan Griffins 1-3  at Thompson R. WolfPack 4-0 –  This series is 2-2 over the last 2 seasons !  Will this help the Griffins in their daunting task to sneak a win at Kamloops ?  A-h-h-h-h … NO !  Despite the strength they have on their forward line (Keith Gerdes, Ryan May, Ryan Coleman), Mac will find it hard to match-up with J. Wolfram and friends.  Mac’s guard combo of Denzel James and Thaddeus Galvez will aim to keep TRU’s Reese Pribilsky from controlling the game.  With home court, it’s hard not to see the CIS 10th – ranked WolfPack feeding hungrily.

Fraser Valley Cascades 4-0  at UNBC Timberwolves 1-3  –  UNBC won their last meeting … but, again, does this mean an upset of the 4-0 Cascades?  This is not likely (UFV won all of the previous 10 games shown on CIS Hoops’ chart!) , but the ‘Big Trees’ might be excused for looking ahead in the schedule to Nov. 27/28, when they meet the raging WolfPack in Kamloops.  Trap games this week in PG ?   Billy Cheng and Rhys Elliot will need more ‘Wolves in an angry mood, if they are to threaten Kevon Parchment, Vijay Dhillon, Manny Dulay and the rest of a strong UFV contingent.

 

Mitch Goodwin is a key offensive weapon for the Heat.

Mitch Goodwin is a key offensive weapon for the Heat.

Mt. Royal Cougars 1-3 at UBC-Okanagan Heat  1-3 –  Guarantee … both coaches are thinking – “We gotta win these 2 … this team is ‘gettable’ … We need to make up ground, keep pace, climb in the standings .”  They’re right to think that way, but may admit only that, “We will work on the things we can control; we can’t focus on outcomes, but, rather, on good execution of our system.”   Mt. Royal has an even more youth than Okanagan, but they have more height, and a rapidly improving group of forwards.  UBC-O won a game, they’re at home, and they are improved over last season.  Interesting match-ups – Derek Wolf, Glen Yang, and Brett Layton for MRU vs Aldrich Berrios, Mitch Goodwin, Dean Johnston for Okanagan.


 CIS Scores —

Atlantic –   Saint Mary’s 77 Dalhousie 58  –  The Huskies are the AUS’ most unpredictable team, and Dal will be disappointed as they had a brief flirtation with the CIS Top 10 !   St. FX 93  Acadia 92  – road win for the X-Men in a very well-balanced Atlantic League.
Ontario –    Windsor 81   Ryerson 67 – down go the Rams, the #5 ranked team in the CIS.


 

Overtime –

U of L's Mike Hansen 'co-stars' with our man, David Wells, in a new 'Horns Nation podcast.

U of L’s  Coach Mike Hansen ‘co-stars’ with our man, David Wells, in a new ‘Horns Nation podcast.

  • Coach Mike Hansen, Lethbridge, says, “No one on our team, player or coach, has ever been (to play at UR) in Regina.”  Hansen credits the vicissitudes of the quirky Canada West schedule over the past few years.  This is one of many topics discussed by the ‘Horns Coach and David Wells (‘Basketball Historian’, journalist, Amateur Sports Administrator ….) in the ‘fresh out of the wrapper’  Pronghorns ‘Run Together’ – ‘Wellsie and the Coach’ podcast.
  • Adam Friesen, UFV Head Coach, as  his Cascades head to Prince George for a weekend series against the UNBC T’Wolves. “UNBC is a scrappy team that’s got some really good versatility, and guard scorers,” Friesen analyzed. “We have to keep on sharing the basketball and playing solid defence.”  (From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics)