UC’s Cooper – Canada West’s Top Player

 

 

 Calgary’s Thomas Cooper is Canada West Player of the Year

Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos' Canada West Player of the Year.

Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos’ Canada West Player of the Year.   Photo- David Moll, UC Athletics

It’s a long way from Chattanooga, TN to Calgary, but through a former teammate at City College of San Francisco, where they both played right out go high  school, Thomas Cooper was intrigued with the idea of  coming to Canada to play an extra year, and to finish his degree.

Dinos Coach Dan Vanhooren says, “Thomas did all the right things academically to get himself here, after a couple of disappointments in the U.S.  He is a very bright guy, with a great work ethic, and he has become a terrific leader on our team “

Cooper, a 4th year wing man,  was the Canada West scoring leader (25.8 ppg), but also led UC in rebounding with 7.5 rpg.  “He plays with great intelligence and intensity at both ends of the floor”, said his coach. “Thomas is one of those guys who believes in  preparation, and practice; he spends time studying the game. An MVP makes his teammates better players, and we know Thomas does that for our guys.”

Canada West’s other major award winners announced on Wednesday –

5th year wing, Kevon Parchment, UFV's Canada West Defensive Player of the Year

5th year wing, Kevon Parchment, UFV’s Canada West Defensive Player of the Year  Photo- UFV Athletics

Rookie of the Year –  Brody Clarke, Alberta

Defensive Player of the Year –  Kevon Parchment, 5th year, Fraser Valley

Student-Athlete Community Service Award – Jared Baker, 5th year, Lethbridge

Coach of the Year –  Scott Clark, 6th year, Thompson Rivers


 

 

Canada West Final Four Schedule –  Jack Simpson Gym –  the University of Calgarycwest

Friday, March 11
UBC vs. Thompson Rivers / 6 PM MST semifinal 1
Manitoba vs. Calgary – 8 PM   semifinal  2

Saturday, March 12
Loser semifinal 1 vs. loser semifinal 2 / 6 PM MST – 3rd place game
Winner semifinal 1 vs. winner semifinal 2 / 8 PM – Championship game

  • Notes –  Calgary last hosted this Final 4 in 2008, where they lost both games. ..  UC Coach Dan Vanhooren has won 2 Canada West titles (2004, 2009) … UBC’s Kevin Hanson has coached the T-Birds to 5 Canada West championships (2003, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013) … this is the 1st time either Manitoba or TRU have been to the Final 4.
     

 

Overtime –

  • Coach Adam Frieseen of UFV, explains why his 5th year star, Kevon Parchment deserves to have been selected as CW Defensive Player of the Year.    “Physically, he’s quick, fast and long. But what separates him are his instincts and his tenacity to want to stop people. He competes on that end of the floor from the first minute of the game all the way to the 40th, and that level of competitiveness is rare.”  From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics.

    The Pronghorns' Jared Baker - CW Community Service Award

    The Pronghorns’ 5th year guard, Jared Baker – Canada West  Community Service Award winner

  • The Lethbridge Pronghorns’ Jared Baker, was a high school quarterback and lead-guard in basketball at Raymond HS (just South of Lethbridge), and he has been a leader ever since. Jared, who was in his 5th year with the ‘Horns, won the Canada West Community Service Award; he was the driving force behind a fund-raising effort U of Lethbridge made in support of Brent Watkins, their former teammate, injured in a serious car accident last summer. He also involves himself in several other community service programs, and Coach Mike Hansen says, “He lives to serve others, which is a big reason why he is pursuing medical school following the completion of his degree and basketball career.  He exemplifies what it means to be a great teammate and a student-athlete.”  With information from Canada West Athletics.
  • Brody Clarke, the CW Rookie of the Year, is 2 years out of high school; a   highly sought-after recruit throughout Canada, he had some interest in the U. S.  as well. Early in his Fall pre—season with the Bears in 2014, he suffered a knee injury, and had to under-go complicated surgery.  He worked extremely hard at his rehab, and has been a bright light on the forward line for U of A this year.
  • TRU Athletics and Recreation director Ken Olynyk , commending  Coach Scott Clark, the 2016 Canada West Coach of the Year,   “Usually this award is given because the team does well and that reflects a coaching job well done. That takes the accumulation of time and years to get to that point. Scott has worked hard to develop a program and his work is reflected in his peers acknowledgement of his efforts. The honour is well deserved.”  From Larry Read, TRU Athletics.

Bisons Advance in OT, ‘Birds Fly High

 

Bisons will take the series win, and head to the Final 4 !

Justus Alleyn leads his Manitoba Bisons past UFV for a Q-Finals series win.

Justus Alleyn leads his Manitoba Bisons past UFV for a Q-Finals series win.  photo- UM Athletics

at Manitoba  77 Fraser Valley  72  OT –  It never seems completely easy when you have wanted something so badly for quite some time. Coasting along with a 12 point lead midway in the 4th quarter, the Bisons might have been making more detailed plans for their trip to Canada West’s Final 4 next weekend.  But then …  they pull the chute, and nothing goes in for the home team for the last 4:20.  The Cascades score 12 unanswered to take the game, incredibly, to over-time !  But the Herd steady themselves and win the  extra session to take the series 2-0. The scores for artistic merit are pretty low in this defensive struggle, with neither team hitting shots – 39% for UM and 35% for UFV from the floor. Manitoba control  the boards 51-43, and hit 8 treys to 5 for Fraser Valley, but the turnover was a large feature of the Bisons’ attack, as in 25 for the game, and that gave UFV a sliver of light at the finish.
Justus Alleyn hits 23 for the Herd, including 9/10 from the line, while A.J. Basi tallies 16; Wyatt Anders with 13 and Keith Omoerah with 12, led UM rebounders.  Kevon Parchment  finishes a great CIS career  with 21 points/ 9 rebounds/ 5 steals for Fraser Valley, while Nate Brown earns a 19 point / 10 rebound double.  Manitoba earns a spot in the Final 4  for the first time since they moved from the old Great Plains Conference . Box Score
at Calgary 89  Alberta 76 – Down 42 – 26 at the half, the Golden Bears refuse to ‘follow Dinos14the script’, as they come with a 50 point barrage in the final 20 minutes, giving the Dinos all they can handle. Alberta goes 12/25 from 3 point range, and Mamadou Gueye is at his slashing, rebounding best, in an inspired effort.
Calgary responds with 11 treys of their own, but shoot a far lower % ( 46% – 40% to Alberta from the floor), but UC makes hay from the foul line, as they attack the rim, led by Thomas Cooper (9/12 FT) and David Kapinga (7/7 from the line).  The Dinos are 24/31 from the stripe to the GB’s 12/17, and the Bears turn it over 20 times to the Dinos’ 11.
UC’s Cooper leads all scorers (as is his habit), with 27, plus 9 rebounds / 5 assists, and Kapinga provides 16 points / 3 steals, with some clutch play in the 4th quarter to seal the win. Jasdeep Gill connects on 4/6 shots from the outside, and gives Calgary a huge lift with his 14 points off the bench. The Bears get  26 from Gueye on 9/16 shooting, and he adds 11 boards, while Jackson has a terrific game at the point, hitting 6/9 from beyond the arc, and 3 assists +. (He is, indeed, one of Canada West’s top rookies !)
Game 2 is Saturday at 7 pm, and we might expect more of the same, as U of A has come to play, obviously!  Box Score

Volodymyr Iegorov lights up Regina for 32 points as the Wolf Pack even their series.

Volodymyr Iegorov lights up Regina for 32 points as the Wolf Pack even their series. photo – TRU Athletics

 at Thompson Rivers  90  Regina  85  –   There’s a battle out in Kamloops, with TRU fighting off a highly motivated Cougars crew, to force a 3rd game Saturday at 7 pm  . It’s a 1 point game, 42-41 ‘Pack, at the half, but Regina hangs tough and ties it with 7 minutes left in the game.  Some lead changes, and definitely some nervous minutes for The Wolves and their fans; but the home team gets the key plays in the final minutes to grab the win after a frenzied 48-44 2nd half .
TRU’s Volodymyr Iegorov hangs 32 points on the board, hitting 11/15 from the floor, and he gets help from Josh Wolfram’s double -double of 18 points / 14 rebounds/ 7 assists.  Reese Pribilsky adds his 16 points, 9 big helpers, and 4 steals, as the ‘Pack hits 46% from the field and 23/32 from the line.  For The Cougars , it’s a career game from Aaron McGowan, with his 28 points/ 6 rebs/ 4 assts; Brandon Tull scores 14, while his brother, Jonathan is held to just 7 tonight. Regina are 40% from the floor and hit 13/18 free-throws. Huge game for both teams on Saturday  !   Box Score

 

at UBC   85   Lethbridge 57   –    The ‘Birds fly right over the Pronghorns, with a ‘deja-vu’ performance in game 2, as UBC shoots 53% from the floor, leads 32-9 after 10 minutes, and has 5 players in double figures on the scoresheet.  Lethbridge, in contrast, finishes up their season with perhaps their worst shooting night of the year (31% from the floor), as they just run out of steam, again without star guard, Dejon Burdeaux, out with injury.  UBC wins the rebounding 41-33, and the game gets a bit sloppy, with both teams at 20+ turnovers. Phil Jalalpoor , with 13 points is high for the T-Birds, with rookie guard , Taylor Browne adding 12 points/ 8 boards.  Michael Pierzchala has a game-high 15 points for Lethbridge, but he’s the only one of the ‘Horns in double digits. So UBC claim a place in the Final 4 next week, and await the Calgary – Alberta and Regina – TRU series’ to see where that will be played.  Box Score


 

Other CIS Scores –
Atlantic Championship Tournament – Q-Finals
Acadia  69  Cape Breton  68
St. Mary’s 102  UNB 93
…    St. Mary’s vs Dalhousie  ,  Acadia  vs UPEI   in Saturday’s semi-finals.


 

Overtime –

  • TRU guard Reese Pribilsky, After game 1, on playing a dangerous Regina team, “They are an emotional team,” said WolfPack guard Reese Pribilsky about the Cougars. “When they get out and run. When they get momentum they start to pop some shots and play well. We need to limit their runs. Basketball is a game of runs. We need to limit theirs. They had 11 and 8 point runs tonight. We need to cut that down to six or five points.” “We let their shooters where they wanted to be on the floor,” Pribilsky continued. “We can’t do that.”  From News Kamloops.
    This will be, according to Manitoba experts, the first series win for the Bisons since 2001, and their first shot at getting to CIS Nationals since 1986. “Not since the G-PAC era”, they tell us !  Big night for UM , Coach Kirby Schepp, his team and his coaching staff.
  •  CW Women’s Q-Finals on Friday Night – Game 1 of best of 3
    • Regina 69 – Calgary 55
    • Saskatchewan 77 UBC 56
    • MacEwan 78  Victoria 69
    • Alberta 62  Thompson Rivers 56 –  Game 2 here, and the Pandas go to Final 4

Cougars Shock TRU in 4th Quarter

 

Regina storms past TRU with a huge 41 point final frame
– we have results  from the opening game of 3 Canada West Quarter-Finals –

Jonathan Tull and his Regina teammates out-score the TRU Wolf Pack in game 1 in Kamloops on Thursday.

Jonathan Tull and his Regina teammates out-score the TRU Wolf Pack in game 1 in Kamloops on Thursday.        photo – U of R Cougars Athletics

 Regina  102  at Thompson Rivers 94  –  The Cougars obviously warm to the prospect of playing a more  wide-open offensive style with the cooperation of the home team. TRU is up 26-21 after the opening 10 minutes, but have the Regina team revved up to start some fireworks of their own.  The visitors go up 1 at the half, then the see-saw continues, with the ‘Pack hitting 3 consecutive treys in the middle of the 3rd to re-take the lead.
The Cougars were not to be deterred, as they hang up 41 points in the final frame to snatch the upset win over the Explorer leaders.  It was, after the dust settled, the green – clad Regina squad who had hit 18/36 from 3 point range, and out-rebounded the bigger ‘Pack by a 45-37 count.  Jonathan Tull led the charge for UR, with 29 points/ 6 rebounds as he shot 11/13 from the line. Import guard Alex Igual hit 7/12 from outside for 24 points plus 9 boards. Brandon Tull  (16 pts) had 4 treys, as did Jonathan, while Brian Ofori scored 15 on 7/11 from the floor.
TRU got 25 points / 10 assists from 5th year point man, Reese Pribilsky, 19 from Volodymyr Iegorov, 18 by  Luke Morris, and a 13 point / 13 rebound double from Josh Wolfram.  But the inside game did not produce trouble for Regina’s D, and the shots did not go down in the stretch for the Orange. Game 2 is Friday at 7 pm Pacific, with a ‘dream season’ on the line for the Wolf Pack.  Box Score

 at Manitoba  78 Fraser Valley 59  –  The Bisons hold serve in this one, with a very solid Manitoba copyhome win, as they ‘play their game’ ,  says Coach Kirby Schepp  to Bisons Athletics’ Danielle Doiron. “They really try to control the tempo of the game,” Schepp said after the win. “I think that’s really the battle for us. We’re trying to get the game faster. They’re trying to slow the game down. “It’s a battle of tempo, but the tempo was in our favour tonight, and that was probably the biggest difference of the game.”
Up 36 – 25 at the break, UM pulls away in the 2nd half, as they have 5 players in double figures, and win almost every statistical measure; Bisons 41.5% from the floor to 35% for UFV, 18/26 from the line vs 11/16 for the Cascades, and the  Herd get more rebounds, and give away several fewer turnovers. Veteran post man, Wyatt Anders provides the leadership, with 17 points / 8 rebounds, while wing man Keith Omoerah adds 14 points / 9 boards .
Fraser Valley never really gets un-tracked at the offensive end, with only Kevon Parchment (17 points / 9 rebs / 5 asst) and Matt Cooley (12 points / 7 rebs) doing any major damage.  Parchment’s 5/21 from the floor was, however, indicative of the cold hand that the visitors displayed as a group, and they never took a real run at Manitoba in this one.  Game 2 is Friday at 7 pm Central. Box Score

at UBC 81  Lethbridge 57 –  The result might have been expected, but the extent of the carnage was a bit of a shock for fans of the Pronghorns.  Without their import point man ubcDejon Burdeaux, whose injured leg/ ankle prevented him from playing, the ‘Horns could not match the  T-Birds.  UBC limits UL, the 2nd highest scoring team in Canada West, to 29 points less than their 86 ppg average; the Birds do it by forcing 26 Lethbridge turnovers, and converting those into 23 points.  They did it also by shooting 42% to the ‘Horns’ 36% on the night.

Jordan Jensen-Whyte had another stellar game for the Thunderbirds, with 25 points/ 2 steals, and guard, Phil Jalalpoor, scored 12 points, plus 6 rebs/ 2 steals.  The ‘Birds went 25/33 at the line vs 15/23 for the visitors.  Rob Olsen scored 14 for Lethbridge, and Brandon Brine had 13 plus 7 rebounds. UBC defense controlled the game, and they look like a team that will not yield on their home turf.  The picture is not bright for the Pronghorns as they look at game 2 on Friday at 7 pm Pacific.  Box Score

 

These are best of 3 series’, with a 3rd game if necessary – that would be Saturday, 3 pm Central for Manitoba – UFV, and  Saturday, 7 pm Pacific for both the TRU – Regina series, and the UBC – Lethbridge match-up.

The Calgary Dinos host the Alberta Golden Bears in game 1 Friday, 7 pm Mountain, with game 2 on Saturday at 7 pm, then game 3 (if necessary) is scheduled for 2 pm Sunday.


Women’s Playoffs started Thursday night as well, it was   Alberta 77 Thompson Rivers – 48 in Edmonton. On Friday, it will be game 2 in that series at 8 pm Mountain.

The others 3 series’ start Friday- Calgary at Regina is 7 pm Central, Saturday at 7 pm in game 2, and game 3 on Sunday (if necessary) is also 7 pm  .

The other 2 series’ – Victoria at MacEwan – Fri – 6 pm Mtn , Sat – 5 pm, and *Sun -2 pm   All 3 games of the UBC at Saskatchewan series are slated for 6:15 Central .


 

Other CIS Scores –
 Quebec – (League play) –  Concordia 76   UQAM 74 , Laval 82  Bishop’s 67
Ontario Preliminary Round play-off games –  Queen’s 87  Toronto 70, Lakehead 60  Western 58 ,  Brock 98  Laurier 80,    Windsor 82 Laurentian 73

 


 

Overtime –   

Coach Craig Beaucamp

UVic Coach Craig Beaucamp

  • U Vic Coach Craig Beaucamp,  with a caution regarding import players and any CIS school’s focus on academics along with basketball … ”We have used internationals and prospered from it, but I think we have to start asking ourselves: … What are we providing? Is it an education, followed by ‘they then play basketball’? Or is it a basketball player, followed by an education,” says Beaucamp .… “Without linking academic performance and athletic eligibility, “you’re acting as a professional team. You’re basically paying a guy to play for you for a couple years.” From a pretty fair discussion of the presence and impact of import players in the CIS.  in this article by Wayne Kondro, Ottawa Citizen.
  • News from Europe – Galitos Tiey of the Portuguese ‘A’ League (LPB) is
    Jordan Baker, with Galitos Tiey in Portugal

    Jordan Baker, with Galitos Tiey in Portugal

    climbing the standings, now in 5th place in the 11 team loop.  Alberta Golden Bears grad, Jordan Baker is their leading scorer / rebounder at 16.6 ppg / 8.4 rebounds, while Jared Ogungbemi-Jackson, former Dinos guard starts at the point, and is averaging 13.5 ppg / 3.7 assists. Nick Loewen, former Mt. Royal Cougar wing man, is in Leon, Spain playing for Augustines-Eras, who are at the top of the standings in Group B at 13-2. Nick is averaging 27 minutes coming off the bench, and averages 9.5 ppg / 49% from the floor.  Ross Bekkering is at Groningen with 3rd place, Donar Flames, playing 29 mpg, the veteran in the Dutch League, and former Dinos all-star, is shooting  65% from the floor, including 7/11 from 3 point range. (Shoot more  ‘Driepunters’ Roscoe !) ,  13 ppg/ 8.5 rebounds.

    Robbie Sihota

    Robbie Sihota

  • Another former Calgary Dinos stand-out,  Robbie Sihota  , following an exceptional 5 months with  MAFC Budapest of the Hungarian League, has transferred to Eisbaeran Bremerhaven of the German Bundesliga. . The 6-7  Sihota scored 19 ppg / 9.5 rebounds in Budapest, and Bremerhaven pursued his transfer in mid-February.  The Clubs completed the transfer last week, and Robbie  played his 1st game for Coach Chris Harris’  Eisbaeren Bremerhaven team on the 27th.   Harris, another former Dinos forward (’03), suggests that Bremerhaven obtained Sihota for their Bundesliga stretch run, with hopes of his helping them avoid relegation, as they are currently 17th in the 20 team League.

Home Teams Favoured to Advance

 

The higher-ranked home teams are consensus favourites in this week’s Q-Finals

Keith Omoerah is one of several UM Bisons playing at the top of his game right now. Photo by Jeff Miller Bison Sports

Keith Omoerah is one of several UM Bisons playing at the top of his game right now.                  Photo by Jeff Miller,  Bison Sports

#5  Fraser Valley  at  #4  Manitoba Bisons – The Cascades have won the last 4 games with the Bisons, including a Fall pre-season contest in Winnipeg.  If we fast-forward to February, Manitoba copyhowever, we have Manitoba completing their regular season with 7 straight wins.  The Bisons have more consistent winning efforts with Ws  over UBC, Lethbridge, Calgary … in regular season no one has done better than a split with the CIS #9 ranked Herd.  UFV, in contrast, literally ‘limped in’ with  4 losses in their final 8 games, and lost to each of the other 5 Explorer teams at least once this season.
Injuries and illness have limited the Cascades, and they don’t have the same depth.  Nate Brown has been in and out of their line-up, and he is a big key, if they are to advance. However, look at the experience in the top 5-7 players … Fr Valley5th year all-star, Kevon Parchment, does it all at the wing, and the guard combo of Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhiilon are solid, and Navjot Bains is under-rated , with 9 ppg and 7.5 rebounds.
Manitoba will be favoured .  Their home court, they shoot far more FTs, score more , and play at a higher pace .  UM has high quality guards … A. J. Basi, Justus Alleyn,  and Ilarion Bonhomme, While Keith Omoerah (big guard-wing) 9.8 rebs/ 13 ppg/ 3.8 assts. Forwards – Wyatt Anders 9.8 reb, Brett Jewell, Jon Alexander.
It’s hard not to pick the Bisons, but UFV have some veterans who believe in themselves, and Coach Friesen is no stranger to play-off pressure.  Game times – Central, Thursday  7 pm  Fri- 7 pm, * Sat. – 3 pm

#7 Regina  at  #2 Thompson Rivers –  Regina are in the air today, winging their way to TRU Wolf Pack copyKamloops, after a 2 day prep for this Q-Final against the Explorer Division’s top team, TRU.  We have no update on the health condition of the Cougars, after last week’s ‘campus plague’ had brushed some team members.
What UR will find in the B.C. interior is a big, skilled, confident Wolf Pack team with an exceptional front line;   6-10, Josh Wolfram (19 ppg / 9.6 rebs), 6-7, Volodymyr Iegorov (18.4 ppg/ 7.1 rebounds), 6-4, Luke Morris (12.5 ppg/ 6.3 rebs)  are a formidable trio. Reese Pribilsky is a 5th year guard who can score and distribute, and 6-5 Gerard Gore appears ready to make an impact with some recent efficient scoring and steady rebounding. The Pack shoot the ball well, inside and out, and imagesfrom the foul line, although they don’t get there enough. They do a good job on the boards, and they take good care of the ball.
The visiting Cougars will need a better shooting effort to begin this series  than last week’s with Winnipeg, if they hope to come out on top vs TRU.  Jonathan Tull (17 ppg), Brandon Tull (12 ppg), Alex Igual, and Andre McGowan have the games to give the ‘Pack a real run, but shooting and rebounding will be the key.  Contending with TRU’s size will be a bigger challenge if big Stephen Shields is still not available on Thursday . The Cougars want to run, and can score from the break with J. Tull and McGowan.  Their 3 point shooting usually comes from Will Tallman, McGowan, and Igual.
If there’s an upset in this Q-Final round, it could be in this series, if Regina were to be at their best, and TRU were feeling the ‘pressure’ of a home crowd.   Game times –  Pacific – 7 pm, 7 pm, *7 pm, if necessary

UBC's Jordan Jensen-Whyte uses speed, power, and finesse to get the ball to the hoop for the 'Birds.

UBC’s Jordan Jensen-Whyte uses speed, power, and finesse to get the ball to the hoop for the ‘Birds.        photo – The Ubyssey

# 6  Lethbridge at  #3  UBC –  There’s a temptation to rate the T-Birds as huge ubcfavourites, with a home floor, and the League leading team FG% – 47%, and rebound margin – +9, averaging 83 ppg and giving up just 71. The ‘Birds  beat the ‘Horns twice at this same venue in League play in early January, and CW records tell us that UL last beat UBC in Vancouver in 1999.  We are, however, going to give the Pronghorns consideration for their veteran depth, and the key role that their 2 talented imports could play.
Brandon Brine (19 ppg, 6.7 rebs)), a 5th year, 6’6’  Aussie  can go for 30, and can scoop 10-12 rebounds on any given night, while, if he has recovered sufficiently from leg injuries,  guard Dejon Burdeaux (12.5 ppg, 4.5 rebs,3.5 'horndasst, 3.4 steals,) a California product,  is a load at both ends, with a slashing offensive style , and the quick hands of the Canada West steals leader. Rob Olsen (15 ppg) is among the League’s best 3 point % shooters at 41.8%.  The ‘Horns, with younger forwards, Zac Overwater (6-8), Chris Vaughn (6-9), and Mike Pierzchala (6-5), have some size to try and match the Thunderbirds.
But the T-Birds have this ‘War Memorial edge’ – it’s a tough place for visiting teams to win.  Three ‘Birds are major scoring / rebounding threats – Conor Morgan (7.3 rebs) and Jordan Jensen-Whyte (5 rebs) are near 15 ppg apiece, and 6-8 David Wagner (5.5 rebs) has a well-honed touch on the inside (12 ppg). With 6-8 Patrick Simon, 6-7 Luka Zaharijevic, and 6-7 Will Ondrik, UBC has more than enough size to intimidate.  Import guards Phil Jalalpoor and A.J.Holloway do a good job of keeping the offense on track.
A Lethbridge win in this match-up would be a surprise; not an impossibility, but certainly and eye-opener.    Thursday – Saturday … 7 pm  Pacific for all 3 games (* if the 3rd is necessary).
#9 Alberta  at  #1 Calgary  –  Do all the season’s stats go out the window when we talk Dinos14about a Dinos v Bears play-off series? Well, no, but there is a tradition of very hard-fought games, many of which have gone right down to the wire. We don’t think Calgary will dominate the Bears this weekend, but we do think, based on their depth and season’s performance, that they should be the odds-on favourites.
Alberta comes with a stingy defense, which surrenders an average of 71 ppg, but their offense (68.5 ppg) has been lacking punch in many games this campaign. The FG shooting stats are shaky   – 39% from the floor, 29% from 3, but they hit 73.5% from the line. Mamadou Gueye, their 6-7 Quebec import, scores 18.5 ppg, and 7.5 rebounds, while rookies Brody Clarke , a 6-8 post (12 ppg, 6.3 rebs), and Colby Jackson , a 5-9 guard (8 ppg, 4.7 assists, 1.2 steals)  are also big contributors on the attack.   7-1 Brett Roughead makes his presence felt on defense, and can mix it up in the paint.
Calgary has speed and quickness going both ways, with point men David Kapinga, and Torrez McKoy taking the lead. If their defense makes things hard for Gueye, Clarke, and Jackson of U of A, the Dinos should have enough fire-power to get the job done at the Bears 3other end.  CW’s #1 scorer, Thomas Cooper (26 ppg), has range, quickness, and a remarkable ability to get to the rim.  He has a pair of outstanding 3 point shooters ‘riding shot-gun’ – Josh Owen-Thomas (44.6%) and Lars Schleuter (44.2%).
Everyone who plays can score – with wing-men Jasdeep Gill (7 ppg) and Dallas Karch (6 ppg)  capable of bigger things in big games. UC has as many as 4 posts set to go, with the 5th year, 6-7 Matt Letkeman leading the way, but 6-7 Mitch Ligertwood, 6-7 Matt Ellis, and 6-6 Connor Foreman are ready at any time.  These teams present a big contrast in style, with Calgary on the run, and Alberta almost looking to limit the number of possessions. The Bears defense could hamper the UC attack, but not enough, by our estimation to secure an upset here.
Games are (Mountain) Friday at 7 pm, Saturday at 7 pm, and * Sunday at 2 pm, if needed.


 

 

Overtime –

  • Error ! –  We were relying on some old info regarding Quebec play-offs … their tournament will have 4 teams (where previously they involved only 3) .  There are League games left, but the match-ups have already been decided –
    In the semi-finals – Laval plays McGill and UQAM plays Concordia.    All games at McGill  on  March 11-12.
  • The OUA announced a change in the final League results on Monday …   York U. self-reported an eligibility violation for one of their players, and consequently they forfeited 3 wins, taking them out of play-off consideration.  U. Toronto is elevated from 4th to 3rd in their Division, and they get the #10 seed previously held by the Lions.
  • Fraser Valley Coach, Adam Friesen (right) , on his Cascades’ challenge vs the A FriesenManitoba Bisons in Winnipeg,  “It takes strong leadership, good chemistry and mental toughness to have success on the road in the playoffs,” Friesen noted. “The challenge is that you’re having to face a good team, because they’ve earned home court.” “They’re well-rounded,” Friesen noted. “Their bigs are a physical presence down low, and their guards are versatile and can shoot from deep. “They’re challenging, and we’ve got to do our best to figure it out. Controlling the pace of the game will be important.”  (From UFV Sports – Dan Kinvig)
  • Lethbridge 5th year players, Rob Olsen and Jared Baker , as they prepare to play at UBC in their Q-Final series, “I don’t want it to end. This has been such a big part of things, I know none of us want this weekend to be the end of our basketball careers,” (Olsen) said.  As for Baker, “I’ve been playing competitive basketball since what, Grade 4?” he said. “Maybe even earlier than that. No, I don’t want it to end, none of us do.”

Play-Off Schedule … All-Stars

Play-off Schedule Highlights an ‘All- Alberta Bracket’

mooney copy

Chris Mooney and the MacEwan Griffins will host their ‘Older Neighbours’, the U of A Golden Bears, in a very compelling play-in series this weekend in the Alberta capitol.

The Canada West play-off schedule has been decided, and the stars aligned on the weekend, as teams fell into the exact order necessary for the Edmonton schools, Alberta Golden Bears and MacEwan Griffins, to meet in Round 1 of the Canada West play-offs.  And, the seedings also lead to that series winner traveling to Calgary on March 3 to play game one in the 1/4 Final against the #1 Calgary Dinos.

The Regina Cougars earned home court with their win over Saskatchewan on Saturday, and the UBC T-Birds get the 3rd seed with a sweep of Winnipeg. MacEwan secures the #8 seed by edging MRU for third in the Explorer.  Here’s the play-off draw –

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 5.40.54 PM

 

All – Stars and Most Outstanding Player –

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos, is our Outstanding Player of 2015-16 photo- David Moll, UC

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos, Canada West’s ‘ top player’               photo- David Moll, UC

Our pick as the Most Outstanding Player is Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos … top team, leading CW scorer, a strong rebounder, who can also pass and play defense. A clutch performer in so many games for the Dinos this season, he has decided many games with timely plays.

We have to pull our punches a bit on the All-Stars … here are 15 players who deserve the nod, and could or should be on one of two Canada West All-Star teams :
Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 2.16.48 PM


Let’s also check in on the Women’s Play-off Picture –

Saskatchewan gets a decisive win at Regina on Saturday, earning a weekend split, the top spot in the Pioneer, and #1 seed for Canada West Play-offs.  Calgary beats Alberta, and knocks the Pandas back to 3rd spot, and the #4 seed.  MacEwan wins the Explorer Division, and gets the #2 seed for play-offs.  Here’s the Women’s Tournament info –Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 8.46.39 PM

 


Overtime –   

  • Some fine players finished up their CIS careers Saturday, with their teams missing the playoffs –  Evan Ostertag of Saskatchewan, James Lefebvre of Mt. Royal, Billy Cheng (injured) and Colin Plumb of UNBC, Kelvin Smith of Trinity Western, and Reiner Theil, Brandon Dunlop, and Mack Roth of Victoria.  Fine players, who will all earn their degrees (some a 2nd degree) this Spring, or in the very near future.  The best of what CIS Sport is all about.  Well done, gentlemen !
Brody Clarke, Bears, our Rookie of the Year.

Brody Clarke, Bears, our choice for CW Rookie of the Year.                                    photo – U of A Athletics

  • Correction !  Since the CW Rookie of the Year must be 21 yrs or younger, we have to eliminate Brett Layton from the Rookie team, but he is certainly in play for our All-Star selections.  So, our Rookie team is –  William Sesay, Winnipeg, Chan DeCiman, Saskatchewan, Torrez McKoy, Calgary, Colby Jackson, Alberta … and, our Rookie of the Year,  Brody Clarke, Alberta.
  • The game times are all over the map for the upcoming play-off series’ !  We will make sure to note these as we get closer to ‘game days’.  We’re all the way from 2 pm – 8 pm for tip-off (local times).  Each school has it’s own gym sched, preferred times, conflicts and the like.  No predictability at all.

 

Dinos and Wolf Pack – Top Playoff Seeds

 

Dinos Sweep Bears … Regina gets big home win

Speedy guard, David Kapinga, and the Calgary Dinos

Speedy guard, David Kapinga, and the Calgary Dinos are the top seed for the Canada West playoffs.

#4  Calgary 79  at Alberta  66 –  The Dinos win their 13th straight in finishing the home and home sweep of their Northern rivals. The 2nd half was key for Calgary, as they go 46-34 to pull away, using 23/29 from the foul line to good advantage. Thomas Cooper scores 19 and adds 8 rebounds, while Jasdeep Gill tallies 16 points/ 4 assists in the win, bringing UC to 17-3 on the year. Alberta finish at 10-10, in 6th spot, beating out Winnipeg in a tie-breaker.  The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye is the game’s high man, with 22 points/ 9 rebounds, and Brody Clarke scores 17.  U of A has a very short trip to their ‘play-in ‘ series next week, as they meet the MacEwan Griffins on the North -side of the river in a best-of-three.  Box Score

Travis Sylvestre comes off the bench to lead Regina to a win over the Huskies on Saturday.

Travis Sylvestre comes off the bench to lead Regina to a win over the Huskies on Saturday.

at Regina 84 Saskatchewan 74   –  The Cougars struggle early, but catch some rhythm later in the 2nd half for a clutch home win over the arch-rivals;  UR grabs 5th place at 11-9, and will host Winnipeg in one of two best-of-three, ’play-in’ series next weekend.  Regina out-shoots the Huskies 46% to 35% from the floor, but U of S (8-12)  stays in it for most of the game, hitting 12 treys to the Cougars’ 4. Travis Sylvestre has a solid game for UR, with 19 points/ 6 boards / 4 assists coming off the bench, and both Brandon Tull (5 steals) and Aaron McGowan (4 reb/3 asst) score 14.  Saskatchewan get 24 from Evan Ostertag in his last game for the ‘Dogs, and Shane Osayande scores 17 and adds 15 rebounds, as he continues to impress.    Box Score

at Lethbridge 96   Trinity Western 75  –  The Spartans get to within 3 at half-time, but the Pronghorns run away and hide with a 59 point blitz in the 2nd, as they connect on 15/38 tries from beyond the arc vs 8/25 for TWU. Both Zac Overwater and Brandon Brine put up 20 points, with Overwater adding 5 rebounds and 5 steals.  Rob Olsen has 15 points / 8 boards / 5 assists for the 4th place ‘Horns (12-8) . TWU finish a very difficult campaign with a 1-19 mark; they have Lucas Mannes scoring 20 plus 9 rebounds, and senior wing man, Kelvin Smith adds 16 and 9 boards as well.  Lethbridge gets a 1st round bye in the playoffs, and will play at UBC in their quarter-final series in 2 weeks.  Box Score

at #6  UBC 79   Winnipeg  67 –  The Ws stick with the ‘Birds until the 4th quarter, but much better UBC shooting decides the issue – 49% to 39% from the floor. The Thunderbirds grab 2nd place in the Pioneer, and get home court in the March 4-6 quarter-final series vs Lethbridge.  Very balanced scoring for UBC tonight, with all 5 starters in double figures, as David Wagner converts his inside game for 17 points / 7 rebounds, while Conor Morgan, with 9 and Will Ondrik, 8, lead T-Bird rebounders. Winnipeg get 15 each from Jamar Farley and Jelane Pryce, and Ryan Oirbans has 9 points / 10 rebounds.    Box Score

at Victoria 90  Brandon 74 –   The Vikes get a good shooting game, and cruise to their 9th win, as Mac Roth has a great final contest in UVic colours with 21 points, and Reiner Theil also shows his best as a 5th year grad, at 13 points / 11 rebounds. Earl Thompson Jr. is the game’s high scorer for BU, with 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds.  UVic  are 9-11, and Brandon just 1-19, as both teams miss the playoffs.  Box Score

CIS  #10 Manitoba  (15-5) has the bye in this final weekend of League play.

 

Explorer –  MRU gets a sweep, but Mac  hangs on to 3rd

James Lefebvre has another strong game for the Cougars on his senior night at MRU.

James Lefebvre has another strong game for the Cougars on his senior night at MRU.

at Mt. Royal 94  Fraser Valley 83  –   The Cougars repeat with a strong 2nd half to catch and pass  the visiting Cascades, as UFV sits starters later in the game.  59 points in that half turns the tide, after Fraser Valley led by 9 at the break. James Lefebvre leads MRU scorers with 19 plus 4 rebounds, and Brett Layton continues with his double-double outings, posting 17 points / 15 rebounds / 6 steals. UFV are hurt by 18 turnovers vs only 9 for the Cougars. The Cascades are sharp from long range, with 12/24 from outside, led by 4/5 by Manny Dulay (14 points), while Kevon Parchment scores 18 plus 7 boards and 7 assists.  Mt. Royal are tied in 3rd place with MacEwan at 10-10 , but the Griffins win in a tie-breaker (a win over TRU).  Fraser Valley get a bye next week then travel out to Manitoba for a quarter-final series with the Bisons.   Box Score

UNBC 83 at MacEwan 74 –  You have to hand it to the UNBC T’Wolves (4-16) in the final game of a tough season; they come out and battle for a road win, shooting 47% from the floor, and take the rebounding 40-39, while committing just 10 turnovers. Rhys Elliott again provides the punch on offense with a game-high 24 points/ 5 rebounds, and Colin Plumb finishes strongly, with his 19 points / 9 boards / 6 assists.  Mac (10-10) won’t like to lose going into next week’s 1st round of the playoffs, but they do get there, in 3rd after a tie-break decision over MRU. Ryan Coleman has a nice game for the Maroon, with 17 points / 10 rebounds for a double-double.  Box Score

at T. Rivers  88    UBC-O 79  –  The ‘Pack (16-4) get a sweep to go into the playoff bye week as the #2 seed in the Canada West play-offs; they will host the MacEwan – Alberta winner.  56% shooting on the night, and a 30 point 3rd quarter puts TRU clear, and they hold off a UBC-O rally in the 4th. Josh Wolfram nets 25 points and grabs 6 boards, while Volodymyr Iegorov tallies 19 points, and Luke Morris 17 off the bench. Aldrich Berrios has 17 for Okanagan (8-12), and both Buzz Truss and Mitch Goodwin score 16 apiece. Box Score


 

More CIS Scores from Friday –
Atlantic – at #9 Dalhousie 94 UPEI 81 ,  Cape Breton  85  at St. FX   78
Quebec –  Concordia  at Bishop’s
Ontario –  at  #2 Carleton 105  Waterloo 40 , at #3 Ottawa 109  Laurier  79,  at #5 McMaster 85 Laurentian 66,   at #7 Brock 86   Nipissing 69 ,  Windsor 78 at Western 72 ,  at Lakehead 88  Toronto 77 , at Algoma 71 Queen’s 60


 

Overtime –   

  • Several schools who are hosting games this weekend are suffering reduced attendance because of ‘Reading Week’, as students are off campus in many cases. I assume this was part of the issue at Mt. Royal, as the term ‘Crickets’ could have applied to the small gathering on Friday for UFV at MRU games. Actually, there are a number of schools which have ‘chronic apathy’ when it comes to attendance at their games; it is one of the bigger challenges for Canada West Athletics and member schools.
  • David Wells, our ‘Deep South. Alberta’ correspondent,  tells us he expects
    Watkins

    ‘Pronghorns Nation’ welcomed Brent Watkins to Senior Night celebrations on Saturday.

    Brent Watkins, the 6-10 California import who was such a popular player with UL for 2 seasons (2013-15),  to be one of 4 UL ‘seniors’ honoured on Saturday night. Watkins , who was involved in tragic career-ending auto accident last summer, is in town along with family members, in a reunion with the team and community. ‘Wellsie’ also expresses fear in the ‘Horns camp that Dejon Burdeaux’s recurring ankle/leg problems may be worse this time, and may prevent him from any play-off action. . Also, Spencer Lambert hasn’t made a return from injury , and his number 20 has been worn by Brian Prenoslo,  a 6’4″, 4th year transfer from Red Deer Univ. College.

‘Horns A Win Away From 4th

 

 

Lethbridge senior guard, Jared Baker, and his 'Horns team can XXXX

Lethbridge senior guard, Jared Baker, and his ‘Horns team can clinch 4th spot in the Pioneer with another win Saturday.

at Lethbridge 99  Trinity Western 81 –  The Pronghorns offence carves up the Spartans D, with scoring spread through the line-up. Brandon Brine hits 21 / 6 boards, 4 assists, with Josh Sparkes playing a strong game off the bench at his guard spot, with 15 points/ 4 asst/ 3 steals. The ‘Horns outstanding lead guard, Dejon Burdeaux, plays under 2 minutes, then leaves with a sprained ankle. U of L are 48% from the floor vs 39% for TWU, who turn it over 19 times to 12 for Lethbridge. Lucas Mannes is the game-high scorer for Trinity with 27, including 5/10 from 3 point range. The ‘Horns are now 11-8, with a good shot at 4th in the Pioneer.  TWU falls to 1-18.  Box Score

UBC, sparked by big wing man, Conor Morgan, make short work of the visiting Winnipeg Wesmen on Friday.

UBC, sparked by big wing man, Conor Morgan, make short work of the visiting Winnipeg Wesmen on Friday.  photo –  UBC Athletics

at #6 UBC 99  Winnipeg 52 –  ‘Cruel-shoes’ for the Wesmen, as UBC  (15-4) scores 56 in the opening half to take out all the suspense, and they look a lock for 2nd in the Pioneer. The ‘Birds shoot 50% from the floor vs 22% for Winnipeg, who are overwhelmed by the bigger and more physical T-Birds, who win 56-29 on the boards. Everyone scores for UBC, led by 15 points / 12 rebounds by Conor Morgan. The Wesmen (10-9) have no answer, with Marcello Kambola their top scorer at 14 points off the bench. Box Score

Saskatchewan 73 at Regina 66 –  Full speed ahead for the Huskies, who were on the attack vs a somewhat nervous Regina team.  The 28 of 34 foul shots made by the visitors demonstrated their more aggressive approach, and made the big difference, as the Cougars were a paltry 10/18.  Game !  Especially when you consider the 53-37 rebounding edge to the Sled Dogs.  5 Huskies in double figures led by 17 points / 11 rebounds from big Shane Osayande, and 11 points, 5 reb, 3 asst by Alex Unruh off the bench.  Jonathan Tull was 9/18 from the floor for the Cougs for 24 points, and his brother, Brandon scored 13, but , as a team they shoot only 34% field goals.  Regina drop to 10-9, while the Huskies are now 8-11. Box Score

at Victoria 68 Brandon 55 –  The Vikes (8-11) trail by 8 at the half, but fight back in the final 20 minutes behind 22 points from Grant Sitton off the bench. Vic hits 9 treys vs only 1 for the Bobcats. Brandon (1-18) has 19 points / 13 rebounds from Earl Thompson Jr., and 18 points / 4 steals by D.J. Jordan. Box Score

TRU's Josh Wolfram has a big double, and his Wolf Pack clinch 1st on Friday . photo TRU Athletics

TRU’s Josh Wolfram has a big double, and his Wolf Pack clinch 1st in the Explorer  on Friday .
photo- TRU Athletics

at T. Rivers  77  UBC-O  66 –  The ‘Pack sew-up 1st in the Explorer, as they out-shoot the Heat 45% to 35% from the floor, and hit 10 treys to 7 by the visitors. Josh Wolfram scores 20 for TRU (15-4) plus 10 rebounds/ 4 blocks, with Volodymyr Iegorov adding 16 / 8 rebounds/ 5 assists. Mitch Goodwin of UBC-O is the game-high scorer with 24 points and he adds 9 boards, as Okanagan drop back to 8-11.  Box Score

at MacEwan 85 UNBC 68 –  Over by 1/2 time, with a 47-23 Griffins edge, and they coast to their 10th win against 9 losses for the season. Every one of the 12 players dressed for Mac hits the score-sheet, led by 16 points each from Thadius Galvez and Denzel James, as they shoot 51% as a team from the floor and 11/12 from the line. UNBC are just 34% on FG, getting 17 points from Marcus MacKay and 8 points / 12 rebounds by Colin Plumb, as they drop to 3-16.  Box Score
at Mt. Royal 85  Fraser Valley 70 –  It was 26-25 after 1 quarter, and we had a running game both ways; but late in the 2nd the Cougars pull away, and take a 9 point lead to the break.  UFV, already without big man, Nate Brown, then put Kevon Parchment then Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon (18 points) on the bench, reasoning  apparently, that guaranteed 2nd place, they save the starters for playoff minutes, and give the reserves a run.  MRU gradually build on their lead, and it is a forgone conclusion early in the 4th, with 23 points / 17 rebounds/ 6 steals by Brett Layton, and 19 points/ 9 rebounds/ 4 blocks from James Lefebvre.  MRU are 9-10 and UFV 12-7.   Box Score


  More CIS Scores from Friday –
Atlantic – at Acadia 103  New Brunswick 88, at St. FX 95 Saint Mary’s 88
Quebec – # 8  McGill 69 at Laval 68
Ontario – #1 Ryerson 78 at Lakehead 65, at  #2 Carleton  97 Laurier  60 , at #3 Ottawa 85 Waterloo 60,  at #5 McMaster  81 Nipissing 65 , at Guelph 84 Toronto 79 , Brock 70  Laurentian 67 , York 68 at Algoma   67


 

Overtime –   

  • UVic Coach, Craig Beaucamp, like all CIS coaches, values the accomplishments of his graduating student-athletes, “… this is Brandon Dunlop’s third stint with the Vikes and he as been to the national championships and has been a great leader for this program. He is a teacher and will be a pillar in the basketball community on the Island for many years to come. I give full credit to all three [graduating] players  (Dunlop, Reiner Theil, Mack Burns) this season for the leadership roles they displayed. It’s easy to lead when you’re winning but harder during a rebuilding process. I’m proud that all three guys will graduate with degrees, [Dunlop] with his second.” –  From the Victoria Times-Colonist.

Canada West – Last Regular Season Games

 

Dinos vs  Bears, and Huskies vs  Cougars are Always Fierce Battles

Jonathan Tull and the Cougars will be pumped for the U of S Huskies series in Regina.

Jonathan Tull and the Cougars will be pumped for the U of S Huskies series in Regina.

Saskatchewan at Regina – The Huskies own 20 wins over the Cougars against 1 single  loss since 2007.  That’s domination, by a program that has had quite a run of powerful teams.  It has to be in the minds of the Regina team members, and give the 8th place Saskatchewan squad the focus they want coming to their final weekend of a rough season. U of R are pleased to have made the playoffs, as they describe in this Leader-Post article by Ian Hamilton.
But the Cougars, players and coaches do not intend to look past the always intense Saskatchewan series, “Not a chance,” (Travis) Sylvestre said. “It’s the U of S, so regardless, that game is circled on the calendar.” “We don’t know who we’re playing (in the playoffs) or where, so why worry about it?” (Coach Steve) Burrows added. “Just play the game in front of your face, which is Friday night against the U of S.
A hard-fought split in these games would be our best bet, we think.

 

Jasdeep Gill, Dinos

Jasdeep Gill,  and the Calgary Dinos are in Edmonton to play the Golden Bears Saturday.

Calgary at Alberta – The Dinos may have the top seed locked up, but any game against the Bears is cause for ‘full battle-stations’ !  Neither team will concede anything here, with Alberta looking to finish as high as they can to 5th spot, realistically.  Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke will be a challenging match-up for the parade of forwards Coach Dan Vanhooren has been employing for Calgary. The often stingy Bears defense will be a key factor, if they want to bump off the Dinos, the #4 ranked CIS team.  (This is a one game deal – Saturday at 7 pm in Edmonton, but there’s a chance that these 2 teams could meet again in the quarter-finals in early March. )

Trinity Western at Lethbridge –  ‘The friendly confines, at last !’  The Pronghorns are delighted to be back in L.A., on home grasslands, to finish up the CW regular season, after having been on the road and gone 1-3 over the past 2 weekends. U of L will be prohibitive favourites over the 1-17 Spartans, especially with a possible home court for quarter-final playoffs at stake.  The ‘Horns will likely have Rob Olsen back in action, and they should get 2 against Kelvin Smith, Lucas Mannes and TWU.

Winnipeg  at UBC – The Wesmen beat UBC once in Vancouver, but that was in October of 2000, and since then the War Memorial Gym has been most unfriendly to UW (not unlike many CW teams).  The Winnipeg defense could slow down the UBC charge, but the T-Birds are back with more size, in David Wagner, and a more cohesive mix in the back-court, as Phil Jalalpoor gets support from A.J. Holloway. A Winnipeg win in either game would be a big upset.

Brandon at Victoria – Two teams really playing out the string, as neither has a playoff chance.  The Vikes won the CW title just a year ago, and will want their seniors, Reiner Theil, Mack Roth, and Brandon Dunlop, to go out with a couple of good games to finish up at their home court. The ‘Cats have shown they can play with some stronger teams, but it usually doesn’t last for the full 40 minutes.  If the Vikes engage the strong defense, Brandon will be in tough for a split.

The Manitoba Bisons get the bye on this final weekend of League play.

 

Explorer Division – MacEwan Has the Edge for 3rd Playoff Slot

Ryan May, MacEwan forward

Ryan May, MacEwan forward

UNBC at MacEwan –  The Griffs get 2 wins at home, and they’re in their 1st-ever Canada West post-season. Mac has won 3 of 4 in the past 2 weeks, and are 2-0 vs the T’Wolves (in P.G.) earlier on;  the one game was very close, however, and Thadius Galvez and company need to be sharp both nights. UNBC haven’t won in the 2nd half of this season, and would have to have brilliance from Rhys Elliott (quite possible), and extraordinary performances from guys like Colin Plumb, Marcus MacKay, and Austin Chandler.  The Griffins can smell the play-offs, and they seem likely to respond.

 

Fraser Valley at Mt. Royal –  There is a slim chance that UFV could catch Thompson Rivers for 1st in the Explorer, but Coach Adam Friesen is urging his players to keep their edge against an improved MRU squad,  Says Friesen, “We want to go into this weekend and stay sharp and keep our rhythm going (into playoffs).” (From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics). The Cougars, still mathematically alive for 3rd, boast top rookie rebounder, Brett Layton, and senior post man, James Lefebvre, but Kevon Parchment and his ‘play-off tough’ Cascades teammates will be a tough hurdle.

Reese Pribilsky and his TRU teammates want to finish strong.

Reese Pribilsky and his TRU teammates want to finish strong.       photo – TRU Athletics

UBC-Okanagan at Thompson Rivers – If there is a team in the whole League who will want to ‘tune-up’ for the play-offs, it would be the Wolf Pack.  They lost 2 at Fraser Valley, and will want to get the belief back prior to the post-season. The Heat won a game from the ‘Pack in January in Kelowna, and they are still chasing 3rd place.  Mitch Goodwin and Cam Servatius have been solid for UBC-O lately, but TRU, when they’re really clicking, just may have too much offense for the Heat.


 

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 10.38.20 AMThe Ryerson Rams are still #1, and go on the road to play Guelph and Lakehead this week (spoiler alert with the Thunderdome in play!). Carleton and Ottawa are 2 and 3 with no other games left this week or next that should change the top 3.  Calgary stays at #4, after their 11th and 12th straight wins, and McMaster and UBC move up over Brock.  McGill is, tenuously, the top team in Quebec, as is Dalhousie in the topsy-turvy Atlantic.  Manitoba reaches the Top 10, after a strong season, as they await playoffs for 2 weeks.

 


 

Matt Letkeman, as a Team Canada member back in his rookie season.

Matt Letkeman, as a Team Canada member – 2010

Overtime –

  • Calgary Dinos graduating senior, Matt Letkeman, in an emotional interview after his Senior Night at UC last Saturday,  “Every year has its own stories, its own guys, its own relationships, its own friendships,” says Letkeman, a six-foot-six starter. “To have the privilege to stay around this long … pretty cool !   details in this Calgary Herald article by Scott Cruickshank.

 

  • Kelly Olynyk, who was named an ambassador for UBC in promoting the March 17-20 CIS Nationals, ”I’m excited to be an ambassador for the CIS Men’s Final 8 Championship to be held this year at UBC,” said Olynyk …. “As someone who grew,  up playing basketball in this province, I know how great this is for the game in the region. From sportsnet.ca  
  • The Dinos land one of Western Canada’s top recruits in 6-8 Jeff Rodehutskors  of Chestermere (AB) , who said to Calgary Sun writer Rita Mingo at a Tuesday press conference,   “The Dinos are playing so well right now, and they have so many young players. And Coach Dan … we’ve built a good relationship. He’s been I think to more of my basketball games this year than his son’s hockey games. He’s shown that level of commitment to me, and it’s something I felt comfortable with.’’  More in the article in the Sun .
  • Amir Ali, Manitoba senior guard, speaks for his Bisons’ teammates in stating their goal for the upcoming playoffs,  “We’re confident we can go up against anybody,” said Amir, adding, “You always say it’s about the journey, not the destination, but from Day 1 a lot of us have been saying banner or bust.”  From Jeff Hamilton, Winnipeg Free Press.

The ‘Wizard of Winnipeg’s’ Play-off Review

 

‘The Wizard’ Illuminates the Dark Corners of Potential Playoff Positionsimages

The penultimate week of League play has finalized the 7  playoff  teams from the  Pioneer Division, but we still have a bit of mystery as to the order of finish.
(Our stats consultant, Tyler, the ‘Wizard of  Winnipeg’, has served-up a 5 page breakdown of all Canada West possibilities – 4 pages for the Pioneer, and 1 for the Explorer. )  Not wanting you faithful readers to go cross-eyed with the ‘whole schmeer’, we give a much briefer summary.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 4.38.13 PMPioneer Division –
Calgary clinches 1st and home court. 12 wins in a row, with 1 left at Alberta.
UBC can finish 16-4 and 2nd place with 2 home wins vs Winnipeg next weekend, or give Manitoba a chance at 2nd, if they lose 1 or more to Winnipeg.
Manitoba are safely in 3rd spot, with a slim chance at 2nd.  (UBC loss vs Winnipeg AND Lethbridge not finishing 4th, or 2 Winnipeg wins over UBC.  Get that ?)
Lethbridge, Regina, Winnipeg, and Alberta fill out the slate, with too many variables to speculate (as we might have foolishly attempted in the past ). ‘The Wizard’ sends us 3 tables for different UBC-Winnipeg -Manitoba situations, and various results from Regina, Edmonton, and Lethbridge … the man is outrageously detailed, but deadly accurate ! (Send us $9.95, shipping & handling, and the entire review is yours!)
Saskatchewan and Victoria are now officially out.

Explorer Division –  (chart from the original ‘Wizard’s Review’)

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 11.17.39 AM

Wizard

 

‘Superb Scorers, and Rabid Rebounders’ from the Weekend –
 
‘Fillin’ it up’  –

UC's Thomas Cooper has a 'Tyrannosaurus Rex' kind of weekend vs Regina !

UC’s Thomas Cooper has a ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’ kind of weekend vs Regina !

– Thomas Cooper (Calgary Dinos) scores a season high 42 on Thursday, then ’cools-off’ with a mere 30 in Friday’s 2nd win over visiting Regina .
–  Rhys Elliott‘s Timberwolves may be wallowing in 6th in the Explorer, but the UNBC hot-shot just ‘do what he do’ … shoots it …very well. He totals 58 in 2 close games with visiting Mt. Royal.
Kevon Parchment  (Fraser Valley Cascades)  must be feeling better, judging by his 53 points in  UFV ‘s 2 wins over 1st place TRU .  And, as usual, scoring is just one of several categories where he leads his team.
 Mt. Royal Cougars’ Derek Wolfe has a 53 point weekend as well, thanks to a ‘lights-out’ 39 point effort on Saturday to give the Cougars their 2 game sweep over the T‘Wolves.


‘Gimme that ball .. it’s mine ! ‘

–  Three warriors, who won’t take no for an answer when it comes to rebounding.

MRU's rookie forward, Brett Layton, leads all Canada West rebounders

MRU’s rookie forward, Brett Layton, leads all Canada West rebounders. photo – Cougars Athletics

Brett Layton of Mt. Royal, the Canada West leader (10.7 rpg) in this crucial category snares  25 in the pair of contests in Prince George.
Keith Omoerah, the ‘magic ingredient ‘ in the recent surge from his Manitoba Bisons, goes to work inside to grab 23 boards way from Trinity Western, making up for the absence of CW’s 2nd leading rebounder, Wyatt Anders.
Kevon Parchment, demonstrates his value to the Cascades, with 23 rebounds against a bigger TRU Wolf Pack team, who can hurt opponents badly if they are allowed. Parchment gives UFV the edge they needed.


Rookies of the Year ?

Only one of these guys will be anointed the Canada West ‘ROY’, but we thought we’d build a team from the top 1st year players this season.

Winnipeg guard, William Sesay, makes our 'All-Rookie team'.

Winnipeg guard, William Sesay, makes our ‘All-Rookie team’.

Brett Layton – Mt. Royal, leads CW rebounders, averages 16.7 points, and shoots 55% from the floor, as he has given the Cougars the extra inside presence they now enjoy.
Chan DeCiman – Saskatchewan, is a quick, combative, and skilled combo guard who makes an impact at both ends of the floor. He is 12.5 points/game, along with 4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists.
Brody Clarke, Alberta – As the season has progressed, Clarke his stepped up to give the Bears  muscle and a scoring touch on the forward line, especially in the absence of big man, Sebastien Denault. U of A gets 11.7 ppg, 6.4 rebounds, and 49.7% shooting from this inside -outside threat.
William Sesay, Winnipeg – Stepping into a major role with the young Wesmen, Sesay plays with ‘no fear’, with timely scoring (9.8 ppg), and a real nose for the ball on the boards (at 7.2 rpg, he is the  top ‘pure guard’ in those CW stats) , and he is getting better at ‘directing traffic’  (2.5 asst) as well.
Torrez  McKoy, Calgary –  Playing fewer minutes, McKoy demonstrates a cool head at the point, and the quickness to be solid at the defensive end. He scores  5.5 ppg,  goes to the boards well, at 3.8 reb,, and is a sure ball- handler, with 2.1 asst/game.


Other CIS Scores Sunday –
Atlantic –   at UPEI 115  Memorial  85
Ontario –    at #1  Ryerson 98 Algoma 56 ,  Ryerson 94 Toronto 79


Overtime – 

  • The Lethbridge Pronghorns were surprised when they were greeted at the Calgary airport by teammate, Brent Watkins, as they arrived back from their recent road-trip.  Watkins, of course, had a most serious car crash last summer, and has been left with a brain trauma recovery, which could take some time.  Details in this Lethbridge Herald story by Dylan Purcell.
  • Tribute words from Coach Adam Friesen, Fraser Valley Cascades, about his 5th year star Kevon Parchment , “He’s had to step up this year in terms of leadership because of all of our injuries and he’s provided a lot of stability for this group. We can always look to him to perform and give everyone a sense of calm. He keeps us in games and gives us a chance to win.” From a nice article in the Abbotsford News by Ben Lypka. 
  • TRU Wolf Pack Coach Scott Clark, with a touch of understatement in the aftermath of 2 road losses to Fraser Valley , ”Fraser Valley is a good team. What we saw this weekend was playoff basketball. We need to make the easy layups and free throws in order to win. We didn’t do that. We shot only 18 per cent in the third quarter. It is tough to win with those stats.”
  • Manitoba’s Wyatt Anders has been limited by injury problems for almost a month, but the Bisons’ bye in this last week of League play, will give him extra recovery time for the March quarter-finals.

Cascades Inch Closer With Sweep of TRU

 

Fraser Valley Finds a Way, as Dhillon Hits from Outside

Vijay Dhillon's outside shooting carries UFV to a 2nd win over TRU on Saturday in Abbotsford.

Vijay Dhillon’s outside shooting carries UFV to a 2nd win over TRU on Saturday in Abbotsford.  photo – Fraser Valley Athletics

at Fraser Valley  67   #9 Thompson Rivers  62 –  If the Wolf Pack (14-4) look in their rear -view mirror, they may see the Cascades’ (12-6) bus closing in rapidly !  UFV fight back in the last 2 minutes for the win after TRU had tied the game at 60.  The ‘Pack hit a dismal 27% from the floor, with UFV just a bit better at 36%, as the rims get smaller in this battle of 1 and 2 in the Explorer Division.  Kevon Parchment has 20 points/ 7 rebounds for the Cascades, while Vijay Dhillon hits 17 on 6/11 and 5/8 from outside the arc. Josh Wolfram records a double of 16 points / 15 rebounds for the ‘Pack, and Volodymyr Iegorov also doubles, with 12 points/ 10 boards. UFV travels to Mt. Royal next weekend, while TRU are at home vs UBC-O.  Box Score

MacEwan  71  at UBC-Okanagan 62 –  MacEwan grabs a huge sweep on the road vs Okanagan with a 24-12 final quarter seeing them roar by the Heat.  Mac is now alone in 3rd place at 9-9, while UBC-O falls back to 8-10, with their playoff chances slipping away. The Griffins shoot 51% from the floor vs 39% for the home team, and 22 turnovers from the Heat pretty-well seal their fate tonight. Thadius Galvez posts a 20 pt / 7 reb/ 4 steal game to lead the Griffs, with Denzel James adding 16 points / 5 boards/ 4 helpers.  Okanagan get 16 points apiece from Aldrich Berrios and Cameron Friesen (7 rebounds).   Mac is at home next week vs UNBC. Box Score

MRU's Derek Wolfe bombs UNBC with xxx points

MRU’s Derek Wolfe bombs UNBC with 39 points, as the Cougars win 2 this weekend.

Mt. Royal 87 at UNBC 80   –   Derek Wolfe has the game of his CIS career on Saturday in Prince George, as his MRU Cougars get a sweep.  Wolfe hits 8/12 from 3 point range, including a couple in the 4th quarter, as  the Cougars shoot 53% from the floor to just get by the stubborn T’Wolves. Brett Layton has another double-double, with 15 points/ 11 boards for Mt. Royal, who are 8-10, and still chasing a playoff chance.  Rhys Elliott scores 27 ( 7 rebounds)  and Marcus MacKay 20 for UNBC.   Box Score

 

Wesmen Rebound for Key Win Over Lethbridge

Ryan Oirbans powers Winnipeg to a 'must-win' home victory vs Lethbridge.

Ryan Oirbans powers Winnipeg to a ‘must-win’ home victory vs Lethbridge.

at Winnipeg 79 Lethbridge 70   –   The Wesmen come through with a crucial win on Saturday with more aggressive play on both ends of the floor. Their offense takes it directly at the ‘Horns’ ‘D’ , and UW cashes 18/28 free throws vs 5/9 for Lethbridge.  The Winnipeg defense forces 23 UL  turnovers , resulting in 23 UW points. Ryan Oirbans has a stellar game for the home team, with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Jelane Pryce finds his touch, scoring 17 and grabbing 9 boards.  Denzel Blair-Lynch who returned after a 1 game absence, tallies 15 points, 4 red, 6 asst, 4 steals to breathe new life into the Ws. Lethbridge is not as sharp, and they give up too many offensive possessions, and look less confident in the attacking zone. Both Brandon Brine and Dejon Burdeaux claim 10 rebounds, and Brine leads UL scoring with 19, while Burdeaux adds 12 and 5 rebounds. These 2 teams are tied at 10-8, with Lethbridge at home to Trinity next week, and Winnipeg traveling to UBC in the final League games.    Box Score

Alberta  85 at Saskatchewan  80 –  Not wanting to do anything the easy way, the Golden Bears come close to frittering away a 16 point 4th quarter lead, as both teams treat  the ball like it was a grenade on late-game possessions. Lyndon Annetts hits 4 free throws for the Bears down the stretch to secure the win. Credit U of A with bouncing back from a rough game on Friday for a road win which may cement a playoff spot for them. Mamadou Gueye has a big 33 point/ 12 rebound game for Alberta, and he gets help from Brody Clarke (20 points / 6 boards, with Annetts tallying 16 points.  Saskatchewan are just 37% from the floor, as they have Shane Osayande hit 19 points plus 9 rebounds.   Alberta has a single game at home next Saturday vs Calgary, while the Huskies go to Regina for a pair.   Box Score

#7  UBC 84  at Brandon  68 –  After conceding a 4 point Brandon lead at the half, the Thunderbirds ‘get it in gear’ in the 2nd, with much sharper shooting, and more aggressive defense, which forces 26 deadly turnovers from the ‘Cats. Jordan Jensen-Whyte attacks the rim for UBC (14-4), and gets rewarded with a double of 14 points (11/12 from the line), 10 rebounds, plus 5 assists ; Conor Morgan also benefits from free throws, going 8/11 on his way to 20 points, the same as guard Phill Jalalpoor (4/7 from 3 point range). The Bobcats (1-17) look at some new faces in their line-up tonight, but still rely on their top 2 point-getters, D.J.  Jordan (21 points in as many minutes), and Earl Thompson Jr. ( 10 points / 4 assists).  Box Score

Manitoba  91  at Trinity Western  87-   The Bisons prevail in a wild game which almost ignored the defense both ways. The game is tied after 3/4s, and Manitoba wins with a 53 point 2nd half. A trio of Bisons in the 20s, with Keith Omoerah the leader with 24 / 13 rebounds, then A.J. Basi scoring 22, and Justus Alleyn 20. TWU get 24 from Vartan Tanielian off the bench, as he hits 6/12 from 3 point range.. Lucas Mannes has another strong game with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists for the Spartans. Manitoba finishes their regular season at 15-5, in 3rd place, awaiting their playoff match-up. Box Score

 

 Other CIS Scores Saturday –
Atlantic – at St. Marys 77 Cape Breton  58 , at UPEI 97 Memorial 87, at UNB 96 St FX 70
Ontario – #3 Carleton 74 at #6 McMaster 65, #2 Ottawa 89 at #5 Brock 82 , at Laurentian 84 Nipissing , Western 81 at York 80 ,  at #1  Ryerson 98 Algoma  56, Windsor 93  at Queen’s  87 ,  Guelph 90 at Waterloo 75 , Lakehead 89 at Laurier 85


Overtime –  

  • Tribute words from Coach Adam Friesen, Fraser Valley Cascades, about his 5th year star Kevon Parchment , “He’s had to step up this year in terms of leadership because of all of our injuries and he’s provided a lot of stability for this group. We can always look to him to perform and give everyone a sense of calm. He keeps us in games and gives us a chance to win.” From a nice article in the Abbotsford News by Ben Lypka. 
  • U of L Coach Mike Hansen, after their Friday win at Winnipeg, “It’s scary to know we still haven’t clinched,” said Hansen. “We could still finish as high as fourth, but we could drop to seventh.”  The Pronghorns made the trip without senior guard Rob Olsen, whose wife is expecting.  From the Lethbridge Herald  ( With Saturday’s loss, U of L will be happy to return home for their final 2 League games, after going 1-3 on the road the last 2 weekends.)