Cougars Aiming Higher


Change for MRU  – hunting a play-off berth

As with many Canada West teams this season, the MRU Cougars have undergone significant changes.  Gone is ace big man, Brett Layton, with his 16 ppg/ 9.5 rebounds.  And graduated is solid combo guard, Derek Wolf.

Longtime Assistant Coach Tyler McVicar has also moved on. Coach Marc Dobell, now in his 14th year as the Cougs head man, moved MRU from a National Championship in the CCAA (2009) and eventually into Canada West in 2012.  The program has been competitive, but never quite made the playoff grid in 5 seasons. Dobell suggests that he is looking at changes in a positive light this Fall. “We’ve tried things one way for some time, and I think we can embrace new ideas this season.”

Floor leader, Josh Ross, in his 5th year. photo – MRU Athletics

The Cougars do have 7 players back who were in the rotation last year, including leading scorer, 6-5, 5th year import Josh Ross (16.6 ppg/ 9.9 rebs/3.6 assists/ 1.9 steals) , a ‘point forward’ kind of talent, with multiple skills and a competitive drive.  Glen Yang (Calgary) a 6-3 combo guard who should be a double- digit scorer this year, and 5th year wing, Ryan Cunningham (Calgary), looks ready to up his offensive out-put as well.  Noah Lewis (6-4, guard, Comox, BC) is another 5th year who will be expected to step into a bigger role. Wiande Kher (Calgary), a 6-6 wing man, has also been frustrated with injuries, but, “He is physically sound, and is moving very well”, according to Dobell.  6-7 3rd year, Nick Tancon (Comox, BC) will be  ready to share the load up front.

There is enthusiasm for several new faces, including 4th year wing man, LJ Hegwood, who moves from SAIT, and, at 6-6, has the skill and size to be an impact player for Mt. Royal.  Ben Kapinga, younger brother of David at UC,  is a 5-10 guard who comes in ‘under the radar’. “We are impressed with Ben’s play”, says Dobell. “He is quick, and he makes good decisions with the ball.”   3rd year guard, Quinn Taylor, can shoot the ball, and Coach Dobell is pleased to see his progress after he red-shirted with an injury last year. Kristian Zjak is a skilled and eager Australian import who is expected to get time at the forward spot.

Cougars Last year – 8-12  … fall short in too many close games. Prognosis – the roster turnover brings fresh hope, and they should be right in the play-off hunt.

“This is the Year”, vows Lewis

Noah Lewis is now in his 6th year attending Mt. Royal University, and, in his 5th season of eligibility, he and his teammates are determined to make this a play-off year for the Cougars. “We are not content”, says the Vancouver Island ‘import’. “The team dynamic this Fall is really good; we want to make it to the play-offs together.”

5th year guard Noah Lewis. All-in for team break-through.

Lewis wants to help this team as a senior leader, and suggests, “I’ll do what it takes to contribute to the team success,  My role may change within the system, but that’s good with me, and I think we are togther as a team in wanting to move forward.”  The consistent hard work, and the acceptance of change are something Noah embraces in this final year on this team. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time.  I love being a part of the team, and I know I’m going to miss it when it’s over”, he says.

Lewis will leave Mt. Royal with a Health / Phys Ed Degree, and says he wants to ‘work with athletes’.  That may be in strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, or even Sports Medicine. ” It’s been such an amazing time in Calgary, and it’s come to feel more like home. I’ve had so many different teammates and forged long-term relationships with some great people”, he declares. “I’ve loved competing at such a high level, and to associate with such a great bunch of teammates and coaches.”

Noah Lewis will likely not be among the top scorers in Canada West.  But, if the desire he shows for team success in this his final season is any indication, one can expect his Cougars to have a very positive run at a play-off spot come February. “I’m excited for this season with this group of guys”, he says.  Go Cougars !



Overtime –

at McMaster 72  UBC-Okanagan 68 OT … break out game for transfer Aloysius Callaghan (Calgary) who hangs up 25 points in a good team effort on the road.

at Saskatchewan 105  Briercrest 49  … Lawrence Moore and Emmanuel Akintunde score 20 apiece for the Huskies

at Lakehead 90  Winnipeg 83  … Billy Yaworsky scores 18 pts / 12 rebs for the Wesmen, with Narcisse Ambanza chipping in 15 points.

Friday games – 

Guy Vetrie Memorial  at Victoria … Carleton – Concordia, Vikes vs Guelph

All games on Canada West TV

Winnipeg at Lakehead – on OUA TV

UBC-O at Toronto

UNBC at Mt. Royal

In the East – at McMaster   Laval, Queens at Bishops, Seneca Coll at Nipissing, Memorial at Brock, and in the Eric Garland Tourney in New Brunswick … Cape Breton – UQAM , and Saint Marys – New Brunswick

Bisons Rebound for Win Over UQAM


Manitoba Bounces Back for Big Win


The Manitoba Bisons, who dropped game 1 vs Holland College at the Naismith Classic at Waterloo, turned their fortunes around on Friday.  The Herd topped the previously unbeaten UQAM Citadins  85  – 78 . also   Humber College  76 Waterloo  74

(Many of these pre-season games are without box scores)

Other Friday Game Results – 

at the UBC-O  Heat Tournament – Saskatchewan 68  UBC-Okanagan 56 , MacEwan 80 Thompson Rivers 74 OT

Conor Morgan is red hot for UBC against the visiting Pronghorns.

Conor Morgan is red hot for UBC against the visiting Pronghorns.  Photo Rich Lam – UBC

at UBC  94  Lethbridge 71- The Birds, behind a big 32 point/ 8 rebound night for Conor Morgan, were too much for the visiting ‘Horns. UBC has a 44-33 rebounding edge, shoots 49% to 40% FG,  and hits 24/34 FTs vs 17/23 for U of L.  Lethbridge get 14 from Scott Mazutinec in 15 minutes off the bench, as he goes 5/6 from the floor.   Box Score 


 Regina 92  at Brandon 78 –  In a pretty wild affair, the Cougars force 31 Brandon turnovers and outshoot the ‘Cats 46% to 37% from the floor. 6 Regina players in double figures in a balanced team effort, with 13 points/ 10 rebounds from Brian Ofori, and 14 points/ 5 assists by Alex Igual.  Brandon gets 19 points from Tyvon Cooper and 15 bu Chris Stanhope.    Box Score 


In the East –

at the Carleton Ravens Tournament in Ottawa –  Carleton 106 Victoria  52 – Yikes ! No game … clinic ! No mercy from the Blackbirds, as they cash 13/27 attempts from outside, and Connor Wood scores 28, including 6 treys . 52% shooting for Carleton, while the shell-shocked Vikes are a cool 36%, and the home side grab 49 boards to UVic’s 26.  Victoria are led by 19 pts. from Grant Sitton, the only one in double figures.  Box Score  also Western Ontario 72 Laval  66

at the Queen’s Golden Gaels Tournament in Kingston –                                      Ottawa 73 Alberta 63 –  A slow start puts the Bears down 40-26 at the half, and the Gee-Gees are never threatened.  37% from the floor for Alberta vs 47% from Ottawa.  Caleb Agada scores 18 and has 8 boards for the ‘Ponies’.  Austin Waddoups with 13 pts and Andre Kelly with 12 are tops for U of A.  Box Score    also  Queens 87 Memorial  67

at the UPEI, ‘Mickey Place’ Tournament – Dalhousie 90  UPEI 78,  Concordia  73  Maine- Ft. Kent 70

at the St. FX Tournament in Antigonish, NS –   St. FX 83  Holland Coll. 76  ,  St. Mary’s  84  Cape Breton  74


Overtime –

  •  In CW League play,  each school has the option of home and home scheduling with their ‘traditional rivals’, who may be relatively close by, geographically.  It’s nice to see with the 3 Southern Alberta schools, that fans will see  Lethbridge, Mt. Royal, and Calgary.  The Dinos are also 1 game in Edmonton and the other in Calgary vs the Golden Bears.  We think it’s a shame when it could be done, but the schools decide not to give the home fans a look at more visitors, especially regional rivals.  Why not UBC -Trinity, Saskatchewan-Regina, Victoria-UFV , for example?
  • In  the pre-season there are many games which are broadcast by the host  school, either on Canada West TV, or, if the games are in the East, perhaps on OUA TV or AUS TV.   If you’re keen on catching CIS action in October, just check these links for scheduled games.  (Every Canada West , OUA, and AUS League game must be broadcast, but the pre-season is a bit unpredictable.)
  • Quinn Taylor, a 3rd year transfer from St. Mary’s (Calgary) U. of the ACAC, will not play for MRU this season.  Taylor a promising guard and Calgary HS grad, has ACL surgery last week in Banff, and will take the year to recover, and hope to play in the ’17-’18 season.