Vikes Set to Run With Local Flavour

 

Bet on UVic Back in the Play-off Hunt

In  Coach Craig Beaucamp’s 14 seasons, in only the last 2 have there been losing records.  He has been Canada West’s Coach of the Year 5 times, and his overall conference record stands at 220-99 .

Jordan Charles’ return should give Vikes more scoring punch. Photo – Vikes Athletics

He explains his ‘new plan’ for the Vikes, based on recent experiences … “We have decided to go with local kids, as much as we can. We think we have good buy-in from the talented players in our area,  or on the Island.  “A look at the roster counts 9 from Victoria or ‘up- Island’, with another 4 from the B.C. Lower Mainland.  “We have a better chance to get to know these kids, and they can be on campus for most of the year.”

Scott Kellum is a top young import lead guard for the Vikes.

One Island star who returns this year after an injury absence is Jordan Charles, a 6-4 , 4th year wing man, who gives the Vikes a great scoring option and a strong defender.

Scott Kellum (Issaquah, WA) was the Canada West Rookie of the Year in ’16-’17, and will be the UVic floor leader. Two returnee 4th year bigs are Justin Kinnear (Montreal), a rugged 6-6 post man, and Jake Newman (Surrey, BC), another strong rebounding 6-6 forward.  Hayden Lejeune (Chilliwack) is a 6-8 forward, and should be ready to shoulder more of the load.

Early looks suggest new recruit, Mason Loewen (Victoria), a 6-3 shooter, can revitalize the Victoria offense. He played Div 2 NCAA in the U.S., but returned for his last 2 seasons to play for his home school. Jaamel Slack  is a 4th year,  6-2 guard, also a Victoria high school product, who returns from Medicine Hat College (AB).

One compelling story is that of Eric Hegadoren, a 6-11 rookie from Victoria, who is a good athlete, but is really just learning the hoops game. After playing Division 2 NCAA college baseball for the past 2 years, Hegadoren has decided to use his size on the court.  More in this story from CHEK News in Victoria. 

The odds might well be leaning to a return to the win column on a more regular basis for this traditionally powerful Vikes basketball program.  Coach Beaucamp suggests he has the patience to build a team to challenge for a championship again, and we would be foolish to doubt his ability to ccomplish just that.

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Sunday  results  –   Victoria  94  Waterloo  86  – (played at UBC)  a 54 point 2nd half propels the Vikes to their 2nd win on the weekend. Again, it’s newcomer, Mason Loewen, with 26 pts to pace UVic, with Jake Newman adding 18. The Vikes take advantage of 30/33 free throws to 15/18 for the Warriors.  …  at Brandon 97  Algoma  84 – The Bobcats have 5 in double figures , with Tyvon Cooper scoring 23, Pookie Sanders 17, and Jonathan Range 15.

The Cape Breton Fall Classic  … Capers  SAIT – (cancelled due to a ‘wet floor’ ??!!  and    UPEI 88  St. FX 80 

 

Concordia’s Tournament finishes with 2 games at “The Beehive’ … Stingers 85  York 80  Dalhousie  98   Regina  85 – the Tigers win the 4 team tournament. Sven Stammberger scores 31 for Dal, while Regina has 5 in double figures, led by Samuel Hillis’ 18.  23 turnovers hurt the Cougars.

 

Overtime –

Coach Mike Raimbault welcomes rookie guard, Don Dayrit (Sister HS) Winnipeg.

We dig out the box score for Saturday’s  Winnipeg – Algoma  tilt, and note the 24 points/ 5 rebs, 3 asst, 3 steals by rookie, Don Dayrit, the Manitoba high school player of the year in 2017.  Billy Yaworsky continues to shine with 15 pts and 9 rebounds in the 90-69 Wesmen win.

Wesmen, Horns Both Move On

 

Wesmen up the pace, and run past UFV

Winnipeg’s Narcisse Ambanza attacks UFV’s Vijay Dhillon     photo – Kelly Morton, Wesmen Athletics

at Winnipeg  84 Fraser Valley   59 –  With a dominant 2nd half effort, the Ws took this 3rd and deciding game through defensive opportunism and offensive transition.  After a bit of a slow start, where they are down 34-30 at the half, the Wesmen lit the fire in the 3rd.   Denzel Lynch-Blair, their 3rd year guard scoring 10 pts, and rookie Narcisse Ambanza 8 pts in the frame.  That 18 point Winnipeg lead became 20, then 25 as the home team finished with authority.

Fraser Valley gave the Wesmen a tough go in game 1 and 2, slowing down the UW attack, and using their own 3 point shooting to advantage.  In this deciding game, it was Winnipeg dictating the pace. “We were able to get out in transition in the 2nd half”, said Head Coach Mike Raimbault following the win. “They slowed us down at times, and Adam (Friesen, UFV Coach) did a good job with his guys .  We finished better today when we created those chances.”

On the game it was Ambanza tallying 22 points, many off the break, and Lynch -Blair   adding 19 points/ 7 rebounds/ 4 steals.  The Ws get another ‘blue collar’ effort from William Sesay, who had 10 points and secured 12 rebounds.  Winnipeg out-shot a rattled UFV squad 49% to 32% from the floor, and had an exceptional ‘ball control’ game with just 7 turnovers.

Fraser Valley  had just 2 players in double figures, as Manny Dulay scored 11 and Mark Johnson 10.  The 3 point attack just wasn’t there for the visitors, with Dulay, playing his last game for the Cascades, getting lots of extra attention from Winnipeg defenders.  Box  Score      …     The Wesmen will skip over to Saskatchewan next week to meet the #2 seeded Huskies in a best of 3 quarter-final.

 

Dejon Burdeaux carries the Pronghorns to a sweep of UVic.  photo – ‘Horns Athletics

at Lethbridge 94  Victoria  85 –  For 3/4s it was Victoria with a 7 point spread, as they had at the half.   The Vikes were much more solid than on Friday, and their defense had held the ‘Horns in check.

But Lethbridge cranked it up at both ends in the final 10 minutes, pouring in 33 points to close out the series.  When called upon, Dejon Burdeaux has found a way to get Lethbridge on top, and tonight he did that in spades.  His 34 points came from tough drives to the hoop,  off steals, and at the foul line.  The 4th year guard from Oakland, CA  is constantly in the centre of the action, as 6 steals and 12 rebounds would attest. He created scores for teammates, but did much of the heavy-lifting on his own.  Zac Overwater was also key for the ‘Horns with 14 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 assists.  Team rebounding  (UL 47 – UVic 29) created extra chances for the home side, and they cashed 29/39 from the line, as well as going 43% from 3 point range.

The Vikes also shot well from the stripe at 21/23, but ran out of offense when the ‘Horns clamped down in the 4th.   Grant Sitton scored 23 points in his last game for the Vikes, adding 7 rebounds.  His scoring total was matched by a strong game from Hassan Abdullahi, who hit  8/9 from the floor, including 5/5 from 3 point range. Box  Score        Lethbridge qualifies for the quarter-finals, and will meet # 3 Alberta beginning next Thursday night in Edmonton.

 

TRU’s Voldymyr Iegorov posts a big double-double to pace the ‘Pack past Brandon in game 2.

Thompson Rivers 96   at Brandon 64  –   That’s 95+ for the ‘Pack on consecutive nights, and Coach Scott  Clark’s call for defense gets results, as his Wolves force a game 3 on Sunday.  Brandon cannot mount a steady offense, and the shots would not fall for the home side.  TRU hit 48% from the floor to a mere 33% for the ‘Cats.   A real team effort from the visitors, with 11 Wolves hitting the scoresheet, and tremendous team rebounding edge of 54-39 over BU.

The Wolf Pack force a 3rd game  with great long-ball shooting at 12/22 from 3, led by the 3 apiece from Luke Morris and Derek Rhodes.  Meanwhile their all-star 5th year forward, Voldymyr Iegorov scores 20 points, grabs 15 rebounds and makes 3 steals.  Rhodes leads all scorers with 21 pts, and Joe Davis, the 2nd year forward from Kamloops continues his smart play, hitting 6/7 from the floor for 14 points/ 4 rebs.

Brandon got 13 points/ 6 rebs/ 6 assts from Earl Thompson Jr. , and are now challenged to get their offense back on track, and halt the TRU scoring going the other way.  Box  Score          …      Game 3 goes at 3 pm Central on Sunday.

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In the East –  Saturday 

Atlantic – at #10 Dalhousie 75  Acadia 63   Both Dalhousie and UNB have clinched the top 2 seeds  in the AUS tournament at Halifax. There are still games left next week in the AUS regular season.

Quebec – McGill 89  Bishops 71  … the Redmen have clinched 1st in the RSEQ, but there are league games remaining to be played next week.

Ontario – at #1 Carleton 100 Toronto 36,  #5 Ryerson 94 at #3 Ottawa 88 , #4 Brock 91  Windsor 69, Western  95  McMaster 89,  at Guelph 76 Waterloo 74,  at Algoma 88  Nipissing 87, W. Laurier 78  at Lakehead  75

These are the final OUA League games.  The top 4 seeds (by RPI ratings)  , with a bye until the quarter-finals are 1 Carleton  2 Ottawa  3 Ryerson  4 Brock   The 1st round of play-offs are as follows –  #9 McMaster at #8 Windsor ,    #12 Lakehead at #5 Toronto,  #11 Queen’s at #6 Nipissing #10 Laurier at #7 Laurentian … games are Weds, Feb 22.

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Overtime –

  • In Canada West Women’s play-offs –   UBC 76  UNBC  55 – a sweep for the T’Birds. Fraser Valley 61  Calgary 59 – the series goes to a 3rd game at 5 pm Pacific Sunday.   Victoria 68  MacEwan 60–  UVic wins the series 2-0,  Trinity Western 67  Brandon 60 – TWU wins the series 2-1.

 

 

Home Teams Head to Head

 

 

Opening round in Winnipeg gives us …

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

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

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

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

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

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Great Falls Argos logo

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

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

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

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

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

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Overtime –

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

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.

 

 

Key Clashes in Saskatoon, Victoria

 

Saskatchewan Hosts Winnipeg, and Calgary in Victoria for Key Series’

The Winnipeg Wesmen and guard, Jamar Farley, invade Saskatoon this week.

The Winnipeg Wesmen and guard, Jamar Farley, invade Saskatoon this week.

The Winnipeg Wesmen are hoping to carry the 7-0 momentum they have built this past month as they travel West to Saskatoon to face the Saskatchewan Huskies.  The Ws, in the minds of many CIS coaches are be facing their biggest test to date, and Coach Mike Raimbault and his charges hope to repeat their sweep of the U of S from last year.

The 1-1 Dinos are in Victoria to face the 1-1 Vikes, as two other squads with ‘big plans’ match-up on Ken and Kathy Shields Court at the Blue and Gold hued CARSA Centre.  It’s a test of the #4 ranked Dinos’ and the un-ranked Vikes’ ability to pull tgether after key line-up changes for both teams.  The match-ups in our ‘key clashes’ …

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan –  Despite their 7-0 record  this Fall, the Wesmen get no mention in the CIS Top 10 poll.  Last January they got a pair of home wins over these Huskies in Winnipeg, but this road series may prove a bit more rugged. The Ws have skill and depth at guard, with Denzel Lynch-Blair, William Sesay,  Jamar Farley, and import transfer, Sean Tarver.  It remains to be seen if Billy Yaworsky and Ryan Oirbans have enough help up front to hold off a bigger U of S squad.  The Huskies feature Shane Osayande, Trevor Severinski, and Matt Forbes , 6-5 Jaylan Morgan adding another weapon. The U of S guards have to hold their own, then the ‘Dogs may howl.  Our Call –  A split is in order, especially if Winnipeg’s full court defense can be effective.

 

The Vikes and Dinos go at it out on The Island this week.

The Vikes and Dinos go at it out on The Island this week. photo – UVic Athletics

Calgary at Victoria – Two traditionally competitive teams, both in search of a sweep this weekend.  The Dinos and the Vikes had 1 impressive win last week,  and 1 ‘not-so-much’!   Thomas Cooper is a deadly offensive threat for UC, and he has Lars Schleuter, a long range bomber, alongside. The guards are explosively quick.  David Kapinga, Jhony Verrone, and newcomers Max Eisle and Mambi Diawara can be suffocating at the defensive end. Victoria are leaning heavily on 5th year forward, Grant Sitton, for scoring, and he now has Wayne Tucker Jr. (tsf Olds College) and Jake Newman (tsf Lafayette U) for assistance.  There is new depth at the guard spot where  Scott Kellum, JJ Hamel-Carey, and Hassan Abdullahi may prove an effective combo. Our Call –  The best guess might be a split, having seen just that result for the past 2 seasons in League play.


The Original ‘Mad Viking’  … screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-1-55-23-pm

The Calgary Dinos, when they play on The Island this week, should be thankful that they will not be ‘greeted’ by the original ‘Mad Viking’ mascot.  Jim ‘Mother’ Hubbard prowled the court perimeter for Coach Ken Shields and his championship UVic teams of the ’80s.  This was not a rubber axe, and ‘Hubb’ was not a subtle fan!  Opposition players of the day couldn’t help but look over their shoulders to keep an eye on his menacing presence.

Coach Shields remembers ‘only a couple of occasions ‘ when ‘Hubb’ actually did any notable damage with his weapon! One of the great characters in Canada West history.

 


And, the remainder of the Canada West slate for week 2 –

Thurs –      Lethbridge at Mt. Royal –  This is the Cougars’ home opener, and they face a Pronghorns team that has 2 wins from last week.  U of L has some building confidence in 2 import lynch-pins, guard, Dejon Burdeaux, and wing man, Elliott Sentance. The ‘Horns seem to have all their ‘antelopes’ match-fit, and they may have the local talent to compliment the skills of Bordeaux and Sentance.  Zac Overwater and Mike Pierzchala, an LCI and Winston Churchill HS grad,  can be impact players in their own right. MRU were up and down in the pre-season, and there may be some depth concerns, especially on the forward line.  The addition of the multi-talented Josh Ross (tsf Vancouver Island U.) will help, and he should combine nicely with 2nd year all-star forward, Brett Layton.  Guards Derek Wolfe and Glen Yang will have to be sharp if the Cougars are to come out on top.  Our Call –  Lethbridge could sweep, we feel.  MRU will be fighting for a split.

Coach Gil Cheung and his Brandon Bobcats are home to the UBC-O Heat.

Coach Gil Cheung and his Brandon Bobcats are home to the UBC-O Heat.   photo – Brandon Athletics

Friday / Saturday –     UBC-O at Brandon  –  This is a true mystery.  Okanagan travels to Brandon so rarely ( well, actually just once … an 8 point loss in 2014).  The ‘Cats need these wins on home court.  The Heat have some chemistry building with Aldrich Berrios and Mitch Goodwin at guard, but they also need their big men, Ryan Morck and David Manshrek to battle the BU front line.  Those ‘Big ‘Cats’ are led by the strong efforts of Earl Thompson Jr., and the  improving  John Paul, a 6-11 ‘handful’.  Import guard Tyvon Cooper seems to be the scoring guard Brandon needs, as he averaged  17 ppg last week at Alberta.    Our Call –  Who feels comfortable down the stretch?  This is a toss-up on paper, but an edge to the home team.

Thompson Rivers at Manitoba –  The Wolf Pack have a tough task in facing the Herd out in ‘Ft. Garry’.  Manitoba has the fire-power that TRU lost to graduation.  The ‘Pack still have Volodymyr Iegorov, Micheal Rouault, and Jeff Tubbs, but they are a team in the -re-building process.  The Bisons are packed with talented veterans, like Keith Omoerah, AJ Basi, Justus Alleyn, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Jonathan Alexander.  At their best, the Herd will Stampede all over many Canada West teams.  Our Call – Two decisive Manitoba wins.

Regina at MacEwan –  This is a test for two teams with playoff potential. The Cougars have the ultimate ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ team so far.  They win by 20 vs UVic last Saturday, after dropping a 95-77 home opener to the Vikes on Friday. Brian Ofori has looked like a leader on their forward line, and they have 5th year vets Travis Sylvester and Stephen Shields in their top 9.  Guards Brandon Tull, Aaron McGowan, and Alex Igual get help from newcomer, import Johneil Johnson.  MacEwan, too, have a good core of vets, with Thadius Galvez and Denzel James, their backcourt strength.  Keith Gerdes and Harrison Lane head-up a ‘medium sized’ front court  in need of some scoring punch.   Our Call –  Regina wins at least one, but MacEwan is ‘sneakily competitive’, and may surprise us.

Matt Hayashi and his TWU teammates will be up for their 'Valley Series' with UFV.

Matt Hayashi and his TWU teammates will be up for their ‘Valley Series’ with UFV.   Spartans Athletics

Trinity Western at Fraser Valley –  Flush with their Saturday win at UBC-O, the Spartans are set to challenge for ‘Kings of the Valley’ !  UFV have won all 6 games in the past 3 seasons, and will be a tough out for TWU.  The Cascades guard corps look best in this match-up, with Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon, and 6-4 transfer (College of the Desert) Anthony Gilchrist off the bench.  The Green start 3 forwards … Nav Bains, Andrew Morris, and Mark Johnson, and they are part of a pretty effective defensive unit. Trinity have bigger, but less mobile forwards in Patrick Vandervelden and Matt Hayashi.  There is  some developing strength in import, Pogos Trunyan, along with scoring wing, Vartan Tanielian, and lead guard, Tyus Allen.   Our Call –  Has TWU turned a corner?  We don’t have the ‘faith’ of their followers yet, but they will give UFV a good challenge this week.

Alberta at UNBC –  The Bears go on the road with their 2 opening wins from last week, and the T’Wolves will hope the friendly environs of the Northern Sports Centre in Prince George will give them an edge.  Alberta comes with the ‘golden duo’ of Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke at forward; this a severe challenge for the ‘Wolves’ Vaggelis Loukas and Anthony Hokanson. Rhys Elliot and Marcus MacKay give UNBC a pair of able scoring guards, who will have to out-play U of A’s new arrivals Austin Waddoups and Andre Kelly.  Our Call –  The Golden Bears have an edge here, and will be aiming for the sweep.  A top effort from the T’Wolves will be necessary for a win.

Saturday –  Mt. Royal travels to Lethbridge for game 2.

UBC has the bye this week.


screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-12-16-50-pm

UBC Climbs to 2nd in Week 2

The UBC Thunderbirds, looking strong in the early-going this season, were voted #2 in this week’s coaches’ poll for the CIS. Calgary, who dropped their opener to Manitoba, were demoted to the #4 slot.

There are 6 OUA teams in the 12 mentioned in the poll , including the ‘Mighty Ravens’ of Carleton at #1. The Alberta Golden Bears appear as an ‘honourable mention.

 


 

Overtime –

sask-camo

Trevor Severinski (L) and Chan De Ciman model the ‘camo gear’ the Huskies will wear to observe Remembrance Day.

  •   The Saskatchewan Huskies will be wearing special ‘camo’ game jerseys when they host Winnipeg this weekend,  in tribute to those Canadians who served / serve in the military.  Coach Barry Rawlyk says, “Remembrance Day is reserved in Canada for us to honour and remember those who bravely served and scarified for our great country,” said head coach Barry Rawlyk. “We also believe it is a time to express our appreciation to all of the men and women in uniform that courageously and unselfishly serve our nation.”  From U of S Athletics
  •   TRU Coach, Scott Clark, on the new scheduling format for Canada West  , “ …  there are not two teams in the conference that play the same schedule,” Clark said. “To call it a schedule, I think, is a misnomer, in that I believe we just play some games and at the end they’re going to compare everybody.  It’s no fault of whoever makes the schedule. It’s a 17-team conference — it’s monumental.  Really, you can’t [have a schedule] with 17 teams. But my opinion was always that the conference needs to be divided.”   From Kamloops This Week.
  • We have the first of several home and home series which are part of that somewhat disjointed League schedule this season.  Mt. Royal hosts Lethbridge on Thursday, then travel South for the return bout on Saturday, while the ‘Valley Neighbours’, Trinity Western and Fraser Valley exchange home courts on Friday/Saturday. This would seem like a great way to build on regional rivalries.

 

 

Wesmen and Griffins Want ‘In’

 

 

2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

Winnipeg Wesmen and MacEwan Griffins

The two Prairie schools we preview today have a similar status in their respective communities.   The University of Winnipeg and MacEwan University are the younger, smaller ‘cousins’ to the big guy across town.  U. Manitoba boasts 25,000+ undergraduate students vs about 10,000 for UW, and the U. Alberta casts even a bigger shadow in Edmonton, with 28,000 to MacEwan’s 11,000. Despite their ‘2nd fiddle profile’, their basketball teams want in to the Canada West playoffs again this coming season.

The Wesmen are ‘chasing the recent success’ of the neighbouring Bisons, and, similarly, the Griffins are ‘newbies’ who don’t have the same CIS tradition as the Alberta Golden Bears up on the South side.  When the Griffs host the W’s in late January in Edmonton, both teams hope they are in the midst of a playoff chase.

Winnipeg  Wesmen
’15-’16 Lost 1st Round playoff  to Regina      10 wins  10 losses

Denzel Lynch-Blair (L) and Ryan Oirbans (R) - return to lead the Wesmen.

Denzel Lynch-Blair (L) and Ryan Oirbans (R) – return to lead the Wesmen.    photos-  UW- Kelly Morton        UC – David Moll

Returnees –  5th year – 6-3, Jamar Farley … 4th years – 6-10 Ryan Oirbans, 6-6 Nate Johnson … 3rd years – 6-4 Denzel Lynch-Blair, 6-4, Marcello Kambola, 5-8 Denzel Soliven, 6-6 Kahlil Lakay … 2nd year – 6-3, Will Sesay … 1st year (redshirt) 6-7 Franki Tocci
New faces – Billy Yaworsky, 2nd, 6-7 fwd, Winnipeg (Tsf, Lakehead), Narcisse Ambanza, 1st year, 6-2 guard, Toronto (E. Commerce), Josh Gandier, 1st, 6-3 guard, Winnipeg,  Louis Makot, 1st, 6-4 guard, Winnipeg, Sean Tarver, 3rd, 6-4 wing, Baltimore, MD, Roan Van Erd, 3rd, 6-5 guard, Winnipeg, Noah Simpson, 1st, 6-7 fwd, Winnipeg.

With a mostly inexperienced squad last season, Coach Mike Raimbault’s Ws squeezed into the last play-off spot, and lost a 3 game set in round 1 at Regina.  “We probably went as far as we should have”, says the 7th year Winnipeg coach.

This season’s team is still fairly young, but have some experience back at key spots.  Raimbault suggests, “We should shoot it better, and we’ll have more effective back-court leadership as the guys are 2nd and 3rd year with some more game experience.”  W wesmen

Denzel Lynch-Blair (17.5 ppg, 4 assts) was a Canada West all-star, and Will Sesay (10 ppg, 7 rebs) got the nod on the all-rookie team, while Jamar  Farley (10.3 ppg) and Marcello Kambola (8 ppg) promise to be positive contributors again.

With the exception of the  big post, Ryan Oirbans (8.6 ppg, 8 rebs), and newcomer Billy Yaworsky, who can hit from 3 point range, this UW team is on the small side.  They make up for that with exceptional team quickness, and a pressing, full-court defensive plan which saw them chart 10.2 steals/game, 2nd in CW.

The big challenges will be to improve on their 16th best rebounding margin, and 14th best field goal percentage, the combination of is usually death for the won-lost record!  Coach Raimbault tells us, “We’re looking for more inside scoring with Ryan (Oirbans) putting in some good work in the summer, and we think the rest of the guys will step-up their offensive games.”

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – vs UNBC, at Saskatchewan, vs Lethbridge, h/h vs Brandon, h/h vs Manitoba  …  Jan/Feb –  vs Trinity Western, at Thompson Rivers, at MacEwan, vs Regina, at Victoria.    Prediction –  Contending for a play-off spot


MacEwan Griffins
’15-’16 – Lost to Alberta in playoff round 1           10 wins    10 losses

Thadius Galvez (L) and Denzel James (R) will be key for the Griffs.

Thadius Galvez (L) and Denzel James (R) will be key for the Griffs.

Returnees – 5th years –  6-3  Denzel James, 6-7  Keith Gerdes, 5-10  Thomas Jereniuk, 6-8  Cole Aikens  … 4th years –  6-2 Thadius Galvez, 6-6 Ryan Coleman … 3rd years – 6-6 Harrison Lane,  6-3 Tarik Scott , 6-0 Deonte Dosov-Doctor … 2nd yr. – 6-6 Atlas St. Paul -Butler … Redshirt 1st years – 6-2 Malik Mate,  6-6 Michael Burnham
New faces – 5th year, 6-6 fwd, Tyler Wise, St. Albert (tsf Red Deer Coll.), 2nd yr, 5-9 guard, Adonis Monfort-Palomino, Calgary (tsf U. Calgary), 2nd yr. 6-5 wing, Ali Raza, Calgary (tsf St. Mary’s U. Coll) … 1st years – 6-3 wing, Jake Notice, Bath, England (Bristol Flyers), 6-4 wing, Thomas Laxdal, St. Albert (Paul Kane), 6-0 guard, Tre Ross, Sherwood Park (Strathcona Christian)

unknownThe Griffins made the playoffs in their 2nd year of Canada West play, and Coach Eric Magdanz returns 7 of his top 9 rotation players this time around. Two key losses were  Ryan May, a steady forward, and Chris Mooney, a skilled wing man.  But the scoring and rebounding of vets Denzel James (14 ppg/5.2 rebs) and Thadius Galvez (13.5 ppg/4 rebs) are a good starting point. Add in the toughness and dependability of equally experienced forwards Keith Gerdes (9.2 ppg), and Ryan Coleman (9 ppg), and Mac may snag a post-season berth once again.

Harrison Lane was a playoff stalwart last Spring, and he should provide defensive leadership.  UC transfer Adonis Monfort-Palomino, a pass-first point man, will “help  get the ball up the floor, and into the right hands”, says coach Magdanz. Ali Raza, another transfer and Calgary high school grad (Crescent Heights), has been showing well in early work-outs, along with Tyler Wise, a rebounding big man, who returns to MacEwan from Red Deer.

Where experience, determined defense, and capable shooting are pluses for the Maroon, they will need to improve their team rebounding if they are to be a factor in next February’s playoff picture.

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at Lethbridge, vs Regina, vs Victoria, at Mt. Royal, h/h vs Alberta … Jan/Feb –  at Fraser Valley, at Brandon, vs Winnipeg, vs UBC-Okanagan, at Calgary.     Prediction – In the mix for a playoff slot


 Overtime –

  • This week we have CIS teams ‘testing the water’ against CCAA Fr Valleysquads;  as UFV coach Adam Friesen said, “Our guys are happy to play against people who aren’t their teammates, and it’s a great opportunity for our young guys to get some game action.”   UQAM vs CGEP Thetford, Algoma hosting Fleming, Canadore, and Sault Colleges, and Friesen’s Cascades squad plays Capilano College Thursday  at Sardis Sr. Sec. (Chilliwack), then the Seattle Mountaineers on Saturday at UFV.
  • Next weekend sees some interesting inter-regional tournament  play –  The Victoria Vikes have their Guy Vetrie Invitational (Sept. 29 – Oct. 1), with McMaster, McGill, and Regina making it an interesting mix on the Island.  Carleton are the ‘big birds’ in Acadia’s tournament, along with the Axemen, St. FX, and Laval … UNB hosts Maine – Ft. Kent, Bishops, and  Saint Mary’s …  Nipissing are at home to Algoma, Laurentian, and Laurier. Also,  Winnipeg will visit Lakehead, and Queen’s and Ottawa are in Montreal to play Concordia and UQAM.

Both Series’ Go To Third Game

 

Outside shot is key to Griffins game 2 win

Keith Gerdes and the GMU Griffins earn a game 3 shot vs Alberta .

Keith Gerdes and the GMU Griffins earn a game 3 shot vs Alberta .

at  #8 MacEwan Griffins  77  #9 Alberta Golden Bears 62   –  The plot thickens in Edmonton, with a developing rivalry breaking into a fierce battle.  GMU go right at Alberta in the opening 10 minutes, as the lead grows to 20-9 on a late trey from Denzel James, finishing an 18-2 run.  Another great crowd at Mac, with energy transferred to the Griffs on the floor. James tallies 19 in the 1st half, as the Maroon  expand their lead to 44-27, while the defense makes it tougher on the GBs. The deep ball is McEwan’s friend in this 2nd game, as the hosts cash 13/32 (40%) from 3 point range vs 5/28 (18%) from Alberta; the Mac shooting was far better than in Friday’s loss, as they outshoot the Bears 42% to 34% from the floor. James finishes with 24 points/ 8 rebounds/ 3 assists to pace the winners, helped by 17 points / 5 assists  from Thadius Galvez, and 16 points/ 6 rebounds by forward Keith Gerdes.  Between the trio , they are 12/20 from outside the arc. The Bears have 14 from Mamadou Gueye, while Sheldon Pittman totals 13 points/ 4 rebounds coming off the bench.  The 3rd and deciding game is again at GMU – game time 2 pm Mountain.  The winner of that game faces the top seeded Calgary Dinos in a 3 game series starting next Friday night in Calgary.      Box Score

Cougars dig deep to engineer a 2nd half surge

The Cougar mascot expresses some concern early in the Saturday contest.

The Cougar mascot expresses some concern early in the Saturday contest.

at #7  Regina Cougars  67            #10   Winnipeg Wesmen  64 –  The Cougars appear to have suffered from the virus which has effected the UR campus, as they’re moving slowly, and just not able to convert offensively early on. Up by 33-32 after 20 minutes, the Wesmen go 11-0 to start the 3rd; Brian Ofori and Jonathan Tull provide Regina some energy to finish the stanza, with UW up 51-44.  Much more urgency from the home side in the fourth, and a larger Saturday crowd gets behind the come-back. Will Tallman leads Cougars’ scoring with 19 points, including 3/6 from outside, plus 9 rebounds;  18 by Jonathan Tull, and 8 rebounds, while Alex Igual also cashes 3 treys in scoring 15 points/ 7 rebounds/ 4 assists.  Winnipeg stops scoring in the 4th, and shoots just 35% for the game, with UR almost the same, at 36%. Ryan Oirbans is tops for UW, with 18 points and 10 boards / 5 assists.  Game 3 in this series goes at 7 pm on Sunday night. The winner from this series travels to Kamloops to play the #2 seeded TRU Wolf Pack, starting next Thursday.    Box Score


  More CIS Scores  –
Atlantic –  at Cape Breton 88  Saint Marys  80,  Acadia 103  UNB 92 , St. FX  87  at Memorial  71
Quebec – at #8  McGill 76  Bishop’s 46 , at UQAM 81 Laval 76
Ontario –  #1 Carleton 68 at  Nipissing 39 ,  #2 Ottawa 102 at Laurentian 79 ,                 #3 Ryerson 81 at York 72 , at Queen’s 77 Toronto  68 ,  at   #7 Brock 65 at  Guelph 62,      at Western 72  Algoma 58 ,  Laurier 104  Waterloo  82  , Lakehead  at Windsor  (late score).


 

Overtime –   

  •  On Friday, and again tonight the Regina Cougars had just nine players dressed, as Stephen Shields sat while undergoing  concussion protocol,  and   Rawane Ndiaye, who has been used very sparingly in any case, had to return to the U.S. with visa issues.  Shields has been a significant presence in the regular season, and his size would have been useful in dealing with Winnipeg’s Ryan Oirbans.  To complicate matters, the U of R campus had a ‘Norwalk Virus’ alert, and things were basically shut down, which explains the sparse crowd at Friday’s game.
  • Neither team looks to have a clear advantage in the Regina-Winnipeg clash, and the 3rd game will be a confrontation of wills, with fatigue looking like it may well be a factor. “The playoffs are always tough. This was a very close game, and our guys know we’ll need to bring a great effort tomorrow”, said Winnipeg Coach Mike Raimbault.  Cougars Coach Steve Burrows was, of course, happy with the win. “It was just a reversal of Friday’s game where they had made the big comeback; I told our guys in the locker room that I felt they had shown the character we saw from them all season long”, said Burrows.
  • Just as a reminder – in the March 3-4-5-6 QUARTER-FINALS – we have …
    Series A – GRIFFINS / BEARS winner  at #1 CALGARY
    Series D- #5  FRASER VALLEY  at  #4  MANITOBA                                                        –  ( Winner of series A  vs Winner  D at the Final 4, March 11/12)
    Series B – COUGARS/WESMEN at #2  TRU
    Series C – #6 LETHBRIDGE  at  #3  UBC                                                                    –    ( Winner- series B  vs  Winner of C at the Final 4 )
    That Final 4 runs March 11-12, Friday-Saturday,  at he home of the highest winning seed.

Our Canada West Predictions

Cda West

Canada West – Steadfast ( Foolhardy) Predictions !

After carefully assessing past team records, coaching records, scheduling eccentricities, roster experience, roster losses, notable additions … PLUS … wind direction and strength, size, reliability of defense, turnover margin  …. We have a League that’s as close as it’s been in years.  ‘On any given night … ‘  We think no one goes unbeaten!  Our top 3 are not that far away from 7-8-9. Here’s what we think might happen – (alphabetical order … we really can’t be so precise ….)

Evan Ostertag can score for the Huskies.

Evan Ostertag can score for the Huskies.

Pioneer Division –  

3 Favourites –                    Calgary Dinos– a deep, talented, and experienced Calgary team with 11 home and 9 away games; new faces in the playing roster play a key role … Saskatchewan Huskies– a Huskies squad, who have been ‘winners’ for some years now,  landed some good recruits, and they’ll  be even tougher with Matt Forbes  …                        UBC Thunderbirds – the ‘Birds, led by Morgan, Wagner, and Jensen-Whyte, are BIG, talented, and very motivated as the CIS host team.

Brandon Brine may carry the'Horns to the playoffs.

Brandon Brine may carry the’Horns to the playoffs.

A Blanket Over These 6 Squads –    Alberta Golden Bears–  young Bruins, may struggle early, but have Mamadou Gueye, tradition, defensive mind-set, size up front.  Lethbridge Pronghorns–  the ‘Horns, with great guard play, Brine has some help, but their schedule is among the toughest.  Manitoba Bisons – When, if not now ?  Anders back from beyond, good youngsters, but is the defense up to the challenge?  Regina Cougars – Tull brothers, Igual, and improved forwards. Can they get used to winning close games?  Victoria Vikes – they’re defending Champs!    2-6 has to be an aberration, now, can they can generate more offense. Winnipeg Wesmen – maybe a transition year, but Raimbault may get them in the mix. Jelane Pryce needs others to do some scoring.

(Yes, we think 7 of these 9 will be in the playoffs … Calgary, Sask., UBC, and 4 others, but which other 4 ?)

Hopeful  Spoilers –         Brandon Bobcats – this team is almost a wholesale re-make, and it will take some time.  Big man Paul may give the ‘Cats a lift.  Trinity Western Spartans – new Coach, young team, and trying to find a way to play more efficiently. Hayashi ,Jeffers, Richey, and Smith have to lead the rest.


Two 'monsters' will battle in the Explorer Division.

Two ‘monsters’ will battle in the Explorer Division.

Explorer Division –  This is King-Kong vs Godzilla, the ‘bully-boys’ … and the Wolf Pack will give the Cascades all they would want.  The race is for 3rd for the other 4 teams in this group.

Odds-On  –       Fraser Valley Cascades – they’ve been the ‘tall trees’ in this loop for a while, and have more experienced depth and talent returning.  Parchment, Dulay, and Brown are rock-solid.  Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack – Fire-power in Kamloops; Wolfram may be MVP material,  and Pribilsky is stellar. They add a ‘super-forward’ from the Ukraine, of all places?

 

Denzel James shines for the 'Griffs.

Denzel James shines for the ‘Griffs.

The Field –    MacEwan Griffins – they have solid returnees, with Denzel James as a dynamo.Their experience may carry them to the playoffs.  Mt. Royal Cougars – Very tall, all of a sudden, but the most youthful team, and may be offensively inconsistent. UBC-Okanagan Heat – They will win more than last year, with sharper guard play, but may still not be ready for ‘prime-time’. UNBC Timberwolves – Tough pre-season schedule.  The Northern ‘Wolves have experience in the back-court, but need some inside strength to compete.


CIS Regular Season Play Opens in Ontario –

Are the Badgers the #1 team in the CIS ?

Are the Badgers the #1 team in the CIS ?

The OUA get started mid-week with 4 games –

Brock at McMaster should be the feature, as both are in the ‘dare- to- be- great pool’ !

Waterloo will meet their fate at Western … no game. Clinic !

Toronto at Ryerson The ambitious Rams should protect their turf against the Blues.

Laurier at Windsor could be a close one, but an edge to the Lancers.


 

Overtime –

  • So … McGill beats Ottawa 74-70, right there in the ‘G-Gs corral !  They have 1 pre-season CIS loss … to Ryerson.  Ryerson lost to Brock, who are unbeaten in CIS games.  Saskatchewan beat Carleton … Calgary beat Saskatchewan … St. FX  ….    We go Brock at #1 !
  • Week 1 games in Canada West – Pioneers – Winnipeg at Calgary, Manitoba at Saskatchewan, Alberta at UBC, Victoria at Trinity Western, Regina at Brandon … bye Lethbridge .  And, in the ‘Junior Loop’ – UBC-Okanagan at Fraser Valley, Thompson R. at UNBC, Mt. Royal at MacEwan.
  • Ottawa is taking a shot at Indiana again this season … Tuesday at Montpetit Hall.  Just a warm-up for League games with Nipissing and Laurentian later in the week !

Play – In, or Out of Quarter-Finals

 

 Play-in Series Look Like Toss-ups 

Dinos host Bisons, with both teams searching for answers –

The Calgary Dinos  have just finished a brutally tough 2nd half schedule, which saw them fall from 1st place, at 9-2 back in December, to 12-8 and 5th in the Division (7th seed in the CW playoff grid).  Their opponents in this weekend’s ‘Play-in series’ in Calgary, the Manitoba Bisons, have lost their last 7 League games, and settled for a 9-11 season mark and 7th spot / 10th seed.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 6.31.54 AM

 

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is the Dinos 'main man'.

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is the Dinos ‘main man’.              photo  – David Moll for Dinos Athletics

So which of these teams can ‘circle the wagons’ to get on to the next round?  There isn’t much to choose, statistically speaking, other than Calgary’s ability to win some of the close games that the Herd could not.

The Dinos depend on the extraordinary abilities of 5th year Winnipeg native, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, with his team-leading 19.3 ppg, 7.3 rebs, and 5.2 assists. Calgary’s other 5th year leader, forward Phil Barndt, scores 10.5 ppg / 4.7 rebs, and hits 51% from 3 point range. 2nd year wing man, L.J. Hegwood averages 9 ppg, but can use his quickness and slashing style to pop into double figures at any time, and 6-7 German import rookie, Lars Schleuter, can get hot from the outside. Veteran guards Josh Owen -Thomas and Jhony Verrone should also be key factors if the Dinos are to advance.

Manitoba's shooting guard, Amarjit Basi.

Manitoba’s shooting guard, Amarjit Basi.

Manitoba are led by point man Stephan Walton, a speedy 5th year import, who pushes the pace and distributes for 3.8 assts while scoring 10 ppg. The leading scorer for the Herd is  4th year guard, Amarjit Basi, at 16.3 ppg, who has 2 other back-court mates in double figures – Justus Alleyn (11.7 ppg) and Andre Arruda (10.6 ppg).  5th year post, 6-9, Wyatt Anders (10 ppg/ 9.1 rebs), and 6-6, Jonathan Alexander (8.6 ppg, 5 rebs) bolster the front line. Team leader, Walton, said the recipe for a playoff victory in Calgary this weekend is straightforward. “Whenever we control the paint,” said Walton, “we’re really hard to beat.” (From the Winnipeg Free Press.

The teams split their 2 League games in Calgary back in November, and this series may well go the 3 games;  Walton is right in suggesting rebounding is a key, but  getting and making good shots is also critical, as is the ability to maintain defensive control, something that has been a challenge for both squads lately.  Too tough to call, really.  Calgary has home court, and a real ace in ‘OJ’, so that might be the edge.

Games go Fri/Sat  at 7 pm Mountain, with a 3rd at 3 pm Sunday, if necessary. The winner goes on to play the # 2 seed, the Fraser Valley Cascades, in the best of 3 Quarter-final series on Feb. 27-March 1.

 

Cross-over series as Winnipeg goes to Thompson Rivers –

The Wolf Pack's Reese Pribilsky will be tested by the Winnipeg defense.

The Wolf Pack’s Reese Pribilsky will be tested by the Winnipeg defense.                photo – A. Snucins, TRU

The 6th place team in the Pioneer Division, the Winnipeg Wesmen (12-8), will be in Kamloops this weekend to play the Explorer Division’s 3rd place team, the TRU Wolf Pack (11-9), in the 1st cross-over series in this 2-Division format. It’s hard to tell how these teams match-up, since they did not play inter-Divisional games this season.

Coach Scott Clark of Thompson Rivers says that “ … it’s good we get to have more practices and spend more time with each other, and now it’s a new season.  They (Winnipeg) could have finished as high as third or fourth down the stretch. They have some athleticism and are well coached. We are going to have to do a good job of handling their athleticism. If we can do that, we should have a good chance.” (From TRU Athletics)

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The teams both come in sporting some ‘nicks and bruises’, with TRU having had both Josh Wolfram and Tallon Milne, their big men, at less than 100%, and Winnipeg missing 5th year forward Mark McNee last week. Wesmen Coach Mike Raimbault wasn’t sure about McNee’s availability.  “We may have to contend with (Josh) Wolfram’s  offensive abilities with a thinner line-up , if Mark can’t go”, he said. The Wesmen have one of the League’s more aggressive defenses, and, with their quickness, they can limit the ‘Pack’s offense. TRU has a capable point man in Reese Pribilsky (13 ppg, 4.5 assts) with the 6-11 Wolfram (18 ppg/ 9.9 rebs) and 6-4, 5th year Brett Rouault (13.6 ppg, 4 rebs) as his main targets.

Winnipeg is blessed with strong guard play as well, with point man, Jordan Clennon, the

Winnipeg point man  Jordan Clennon leads CW in assists.

Winnipeg point man Jordan Clennon leads CW in assists.

Canada West assists leader at 6.5 asst/game, and Chris Baxter a scoring guard (13 ppg, shooting 52% from the floor).  Up front, the Ws have scoring leader Jelane Pryce, a 6-7, 16.5 ppg shooter, who also snares 6 rebs. McNee adds 11 ppg/ 5 boards when he’s fit, and 5th year guard Travis Krahn is a dangerous 3 point shooter.

If McNee can suit up, it will make a real difference to Winnipeg, and we have a hunch they will be too much for TRU to handle with the added depth.

Games are  7 pm – Pacific on Thursday and Friday … 5 pm on Saturday, if a 3rd game is needed.  The winner from this series will play at Saskatchewan against the # 1 seed Huskies in one Quarter-final.

 

 

Overtime –

  •   Because of a Special Olympics event booked for the Tournament Capital Centre, the Winnipeg-TRU games will move to the smaller TRU gym on campus in Kamloops.  It should have little advantage either way, although just the travel will be a disadvantage for the Wesmen. TRU made the CW playoffs for the 1st time in their history last season; both the ‘Pack and the Wesmen lost in the Q-Finals last year.  Winnipeg went to the Final 4 in 2013, where they finished 3rd.
  •   Calgary missed the playoffs the last 2 seasons, and were beaten in the 3rd game at Victoria in the Q-Finals of 2012.  Manitoba made the 2013 playoffs, but lost in 2 straight in the Q-Finals, and, in fact, haven’t won a playoff series since the Great Plains 1st round in 2000.
  • The AUS playoff teams include UNB and UPEI , who get 1st round tournament byes Unknownas the top 2 teams, along with St. Mary’s, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, and Memorial in that order, at present. Memorial clinched the 6th spot with points difference the deciding factor over Acadia.
  • The Canada West Women’s playoffs this week – 2 play-in series –  #10 Calgary at # 7 Victoria and #9 Regina at #8 Fraser Valley.  The # 3 Saskatchewan vs # 6 Winnipeg quarter-final goes a week early as well (gym availability at Sask.).  All are Fri/Sat/Sun. best of 3 series.