CIS Final 8 Tips Off Thursday !

 

Connor Wood and the Carleton Ravens still have 'The Cup' until someone wrestles it away ! photo - Ravens Athletics

Connor Wood and the Carleton Ravens still have ‘The Cup’ until someone wrestles it away ! photo – Valerie Wutti, Ravens Athletics

1 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #1 –  Ravens on the way to another championship ?

#2 Carleton Ravens (OUA finalists) – The Ravens are  CIS champs for 11 of the past 15 years !  As such, there are many expert observers who suggest they are the team to beat again, here in Vancouver.  They lost a tight one to Ryerson, but that was at the Rams’ Carleton RMattamy Centre, and, if they were to see each other again in Sunday’s final this week, it’s on a neutral floor.
Meanwhile, they face another strong team in TRU, and it’s almost home turf for the ‘Pack, playing only a few hours drive from Kamloops.  With Interim Coach Rob Smart Jr. going 10 deep regularly, CU has experience, size, and the offensive pace and defensive intensity to take charge of a game very quickly.

Kaza Kajami-Keane is their floor leader at 6-1, and he’s a dynamic 2-way player, and a 1st team OUA all-star.
Guillaume Boucard, a 6-5 swing man, is  2nd team all-OUA, and 14.6 ppg / 5.5 rebs.
6-2 Gavin Resch, a senior leader, is a sharp-shooting guard,  with 10 ppg/ 45% from 3 pt range , while 4th year, Connor Wood is a big  6-4 guard, who has found  his shooting range of late, and can hit the open trey.
Carleton doesn’t figure to lose in the opening round, and should be considered a serious threat to ring up their 6th straight CIS title.

#7  Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack (Canada West finalists) – The Orange are breathing the rarified air this March, with their 1st appearance in a Canada West Final 4 and a trip to Nationals in their home province.  So, do they just ‘enjoy the trip’, or are they strong enough to stay with a team like the Ravens?

Coach Scott Clark had a veteran team, then added the muscular Ukrainian, Volodymyr TRU 'PackIegorov, to an already impressive set of forwards. Clark believes in this team, and has them playing extremely well, with a League record of 16-4, and win over UBC in  last week’s  CW Final 4. The Wolves are big, they shoot it well, and they have great court leadership from 5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, and 6-11 ‘small-forward’ Josh Wolfram.

6-6 Gerard Gore has shown that he is ready to step up and fight it out inside with bigger opponents, and Iegorov has the size and strength to rebound and defend, but also the shooting touch from any range.
TRU will also need ‘best games’ from the likes of 6-5 Luke Morris and 6-2 rookie guard, Jeff Tubbs, if they are to keep it close.  Not an impossibility, but betting against the ‘Blackbirds’ is a ‘bum’s game’.


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Mike L’Africain, U. Ottawa’s OUA Player of the Year

3 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #2 –  Gee-Gees have the experience and the star-power

#3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (Wildcard team, 3rd in OUA) – The Gee-Gees have been vying with Carleton for Ottawa, OUA, and CIS honours for a few years now, and they’ve come up just short on many notable occasions. Coach James Derouin has one of the more experienced teams here, and will try and get the Ponies over that last hurdle with some outstanding seniors. Mike L’Africain was chosen the OUA player of the year,  can trigger a potent offense, and will hit the big shot.Ott G-Gs
Caleb Agada, the Gee-Gees’ all-Canadian forward,  missed 3-4 wks with an ankle injury, but has returned to form, and gives OU a cagey, tough, talented 2-way presence inside.  Agada is the top defender for Ottawa and the OUA defensive player of the year.
6-8, 4th year forward, Nathan McCarthy,  and 6-7, 2nd year, Brody Maracle   are ‘solid low post contributors’ (according to our Ottawa expert!) . Matt Plunkett is a 6-6 shooting wing man, who compliments L’Africain.

All three OUA teams are possible winners in this 2016 Final 8 Tourney, and they couldn’t be blamed for looking ahead to facing each other. Ottawa and Carleton, as they’ve done so many times recently, are on a collision course, with wins in the Q-finals, and we would flip a coin for that one.  But let’s give Dalhousie their due as AUS Champs, and don’t overlook them as a respectable opponent for the G-Gs.

Dalhousie Tigers (Atlantic Champions) – Dalhousie (according to our inside source in the Atlantic ) is a  … “tough,  quick, physical , and relentless squad. Nothing seems to phase them, and they seem to have been winning every close game in the AUS over the last season and a half .” Dal Tigers

Their Coach, Rick Plato, the AUS Coach of the Year, is in his 3rd season,  and took the Tigers to the Nationals  last year.  He was a CCAA Coach at Mount Saint Vincent for 25 years,  prior to joining Dal.

The Tigers change their defensive stripes throughout the game, with changeable alignments “ … including   3-2 and 2-3 zone,  full court 2-2-1 pressure , and a ‘kamakazie’ , denying, switching and trapping man defense they employ to disrupt and create turnovers in crunch -time.

Key players –  “ #22,  Kash Lawrence  is the  back to back AUS Tournament MVP , at 6’3”, he plays in the  paint with the shoulders of Dwight Howard ; he’s a great rebounder and finisher and tough as nails.”
“ #11 – Ritchie Kanza-Mata –  First Team AUS All Star,  and 2015 AUS Defensive Player of the Year; he  organizes his team and leads their pressure defense.”

“#7 – Sven Stammberger –  He is the most – improved player in the AUS this season, for sure;  had a 42 point game this year, and is their best 3 point threat from the ‘small-forward spot. “

“#12 – Jordan Acquino-Serjue, was the CEGEP MVP in 2015, and is AUS Rookie of the Year  this season. He is a solid defender and a  good pull- up jump shooter.”

The Tigers have had the ‘magic’ for the past 2 years in the Atlantic, but can they carry that into this tough match-up with an Ottawa team that was top-ranked going into the season last Fall, and who still look like contenders for the Championship here in March ?


 

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos, Canada West's Most Outstanding Player photo- David Moll, UC

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos, Canada West’s Most Outstanding Player photo- David Moll, UC

 

6 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #3 –  Two League champs with contrasting styles

#5 McGill Redmen  (Quebec League Champions) – Both Coach Dave Deaveiro, Cadet National Team Head Coach,  and RSEQ Coach of the Year, and some of his team have had experience in this Tournament. The Redmen played in the Final 8 in 2013 and 2014.
McGill is one of the best defensive teams in the country, employing a ‘grind- it- out’  style, McGill Redwith switching defences being a main weapon.  Our Eastern scout tells us , “ They’ll  do whatever they can to make opponents feel uncomfortable, including a 2-2-1 (full-court press) back to match-up 2-3 zone or man.”  Coach Deaveiro says, “It’s probably the deepest team I’ve had at McGill and probably the most athletic team, so we’re able to do a few things we haven’t done in the past.  It gives you some options for doing things, so you’re not as predictable.”
Key players –  #23, 6-4, 5th year, Vincent Dufort – RSEQ 1st Team All Star, “ … he’s their ‘point forward’, and can do everything.”  – 10ppg, 8rpg, 2nd on the team in assists – Team MVP !
#4 – Jenning Leung, 6-1, 3rd year – the point guard is the leading scorer , at 12 ppg, a solid 3pt. shooter.
#3 – Dele Ogundokun, 6-2, – RSEQ Defensive Player of the Year, he scores 10.5 ppg
#21 – Tychon Carter-Newman, a 6-3 guard, in his 5th year – A former Laurentian University stand out , he’s a strong presence on the wing.
#12 – Noah Daoust, 6-7, 230 – “Originally committed to the USA now a super-sub – 6’9″ and their best 3 point shooter – He finishes most games and is an X-factor for McGill.”

#4  Calgary Dinos  (Canada West Champions) –  Having won their last 16 CIS games, the Dinos have a lot  of momentum and confidence entering this Tournament.  Calgary has not played McGill, but had losses to Ottawa and UNB at Christmas, while the Redmen beat the Ponies and the Reds in October.

That lapse in time has seen Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren solidify a substitution pattern Dinos14which has the Dinos going 10-11-12 deep in every game, with more players taking on significant roles week after week. UC has a ‘starting 5’  of  point, David Kapinga, combo guard, Josh Owen-Thomas, swing-man, Thomas Cooper, forward, Lars Schleuter, and post man Matt Letkeman.
From there, it’s a steady flow off the bench for, combo guard, Johnny Verrone,  guard/forward Jasdeep Gill, rookie guard, Torrez McKoy, forward, Dallas Karch, and post men, Mitch Ligertwood, Matt Ellis, and Connor Foreman.
Key players –  The 4th year import transfer, Cooper, leaps up, with his Canada West best scoring – 25.8 ppg, to go with 7.5 rebounds, and several timely assists each game. Schleuter , the Canada West Rookie of the Year in 2015, is a 3 point sniper (44.2%) who scores 12.5 ppg, and has become a solid defender inside, and an aggressive rebounder.   Kapinga, who grew up in Calgary then moved to Kentucky for part go high school, ‘walked-on’ last Fall, and has been a prime factor in the Dinos run, with his quickness and strength.
Calgary can score in bunches , and will test the vaunted McGill defense.  Two League champs teeing off, and we expect a very close, hard-fought quarter-final.


 

 

5th year wing man, Aaron Best, is a driving force for the OUA champion, Rams.

5th year wing man, Aaron Best, is a driving force for the OUA champion, Rams.                         photo – Ryerson Athletics

8 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #4 –  Can the host T-Birds knock off #1 Rams?

UBC Thunderbirds (Host, 16-4 in Canada West regular season) – The T-Birds last held this Tournament in 1972, when they won the Championship under Coach Peter Mullins, at War Memorial Gym.  In the 4 team event, the ‘Birds beat Acadia 87-80 in the final.  More recently, they have appeared in 2013, 2011, and lost in the Final in both 2010 (Saskatchewan), and 2009 (Carleton).  (You could say Coach Kevin Hanson is hungry for a title, after having knocked loudly on the door!)  UBC will be tough at home, although this is a ‘new arena’ setting, and not their cozy old War Memorial.UBC T-Bird
Key Players –  Jordan Jensen-Whyte is a 4th year wing man, who has ‘bulked-up’ from his days at the point. Leads ‘Birds scorers at 15 ppg (3.1 assts) with his attack -the -hoop style.
6-8, Conor Morgan, is a potential game breaker, who can score from anywhere … 14.8 ppg, he leads the rebounding at 7.3 rpg.
6-4 point man, Phil Jalalpoor, has stepped in this season and is the leading 3 point shooter (42.1%), and very efficient in running the offense.
6-8 post man, David Wagner, is a potent inside scorer, averaging 12.5 ppg / 5.5 rebs
The Thunderbirds key will be to make it a ‘ground game’ vs the speedier Rams, and to control the boards, allowing their attack to dictate the pace.

#1 Ryerson Rams (OUA Champions) –  In winning the Ontario Wilson Cup for the 1st time in their history, the Rams beat an extremely deep field of competitors, including the 5 -time defending CIS champs, Carleton, in the final . With their gaudy 89.3 ppg scoring average (tops in the OUA), the Rams will happily engage UBC in an offensive fireworks display!  The Rams have won 16 of 17 games (Guelph ?!) since the holiday break, and have played a very tough schedule in doing that. Unknown
Coach Patrick Tatham, the Ontario Coach of the Year,  goes 10-11 deep, with 5 players averaging in double figures, and they limit opposition teams to a 37% FG average at the defensive end.
Aaron Best leads the Rams’ scoring at 17.8 ppg plus 7.4 rebounds, and is an OUA 1st team all-star
Anika Peter-McNeilly is a 6-3 guard, who scores 15 ppg / 5.5 rebs, and is also a 1st team OUA all-star.
Ammanuel Diressa – a tough, 6-4  competitor at the guard spot, he’s a 2nd team All-OUA … averaging 14.9 ppg, 5.3 rebs, 3 assists.
Kadeem Green , at 6-8, is a defensive stopper in the middle … 7 rebs and 2 blocks a game
Their confidence is way up there, and they are primed to go deep in this year’s Final 8 Tournament.


Overtime –

 

  • UBC Thunderbirds’ Head Coach, Kevin Hanson, on the impact of hosting the CIS Nationals at UBC,  “When you think about it, it’s absolutely amazing that the last time the event was held at UBC was over four decades ago,” said Hanson, whose team sat at No. 6 in the national rankings this week. “That is a phenomonal amount of time to pass when you are trying to build a brand for CIS basketball in this country.  So we have to share our love of basketball … and the Final 8 is a tournament that needs to be shared.”  Nice story from Howard Tsumura in The Province. 
  • Ryerson Rams star, Aaron Best, after they win the OUA championship for the 1st time in school history.  ”It’s big for the university, it’s big for all of us, it’s big for the alumni, the players who’ve played here, it’s a testament to all the work that everybody’s put in,” said Best standing on the court post-game with the OUA banner draped around him. “Just to see this come to Ryerson and to win it this way
    Ryerson Coach, Patrick Tatham

    Ryerson Coach, Patrick Tatham

    is a really good feeling.”  From the ‘Eh Game’ – Yahoo Sports 

  • J-u-u-u-s-t in case there’s any confusion as to the goals / expectations of the #1 ranked Ryerson Rams going into this week’s CIS Championship, here’s Coach Patrick Tatham’s take on it, “I think the guys want a different colour medal, something other than the bronze medal we got last year at CIS finals,” said the interim head coach “The guys are hungry and they’re definitely ready to go.”  From The Star, Toronto
  • Torrez McKoy , Dinos rookie point guard, on the experience of playing in Nationals early in his career, “Just getting the opportunity to play as a rookie is really special and I don’t take it for granted either,” said McKoy. “It’s awesome how we have a group of guys where everyone can come off the bench and contribute. We don’t just have six or seven guys deep; we usually have 10, 11 guys. It’s hard not to feel the pressure because it’s everyone’s first time. But after that first couple of minutes from the first game, it’ll be easy from there.”  From Rita Mingo, The Calgary Herald

Dinos Claim Canada West Crown

 

 

First half scoring out-burst gives Calgary control

Calgary Dinos' Jasdeep Gill raises the Canada West Championship trophy as his teammates look on.

Calgary Dinos’ Jasdeep Gill raises the Canada West Championship trophy  as his teammates look on during post -game celebrations on Saturday..

Calgary Dinos  91  Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  84 –  In 2008, as were reminding ourselves recently, the Calgary Dinos lost both games as the host of that year’s Final 4, and did not qualify for the CIS Nationals.  It was a crusher, but, that was then, and this young, deep, and determined Dinos crew of 2015-16  didn’t carry that baggage into this weekend’s Canada West Championship Tournament.

 

Winning their 16th straight game and capturing their 6th Canada West crown was no simple task, however; once again spotting their worthy opponents, the TRU Wolf Pack, an early 10 point lead, Calgary played from behind.
But, as they had done last night, that turnaround was fairly quick, and UC led by a 25-21 count after 1st quarter. By that time, Coach Dan Vanhooren had employed 11 players, and he kept coming with fresh troops for much of the 30 minutes to follow. The ‘Pack, who Dinos14were the 16-4 Explorer Division winners, closed the gap later in the game, and took it to the home team with 48% field goal shooting, including 10/16  (63%) from 3 points range.
Thomas Cooper wove some magic in the 2nd quarter to help put Calgary up 53-40 at the break, with a series of nifty mid-range jumpers, and some angled kisses off the glass in traffic; the CW Player of the Year totals 24 for the game and has 4 rebounds/ 5 assists/ 2 steals.  Lars Schleuter did a lot of the heavy defensive work on Wolfram, and still shot it well, with 14 points including 4/7 from 3 point range, plus 6 rebounds. Mitch Ligertwood scored 12 points / 6 boards off the bench, and both Jasdeep Gill (3 steals) and Josh Owen-Thomas counted 11 points apiece.  David Kapinga was clutch for Calgary once more with his 9 points/ 7 assists/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals.
Gerard Gore, a solid 6-6 forward worked his way into the interior of the Calgary defense for many of his 22 points for the Orange, and he claimed 10 rebounds. Volodymyr Iegorov hit for 17 points , with 3/5 from outside, and Reese Pribilsky was 4/5 on his long bombs to score 14 plus 6 rebounds. Josh Wolfram was somewhat held in check by some good Dinos defending, as the 6-11, 5th year all-star counted 15 points and had 8 rebounds.
Calgary forced 17 TRU turnovers to 13 of their own, and they shot 13/15 from the line, with 9/9 by Cooper.
This is the 3rd Canada West win for UC under Coach Vanhooren, and, in a post game interview, Cooper credited the coach for ” …  having the confidence in me and my team.  This win means everything.  This is what we worked for, and we all played our part to get this done.”    Box Score

 


In the ‘3rd place game …

UBC Thunderbirds  101  Manitoba Bisons 72 –  The air was out of the Bisons’ tires as soon as they tipped this one off … 30-10 after 1 quarter.  UBC shoots 50% for the game vs 32% for the Herd.  It was a tough game to get the motivation meter beyond 3/10 for Manitoba, and UBC knew they were prepping for a big CIS Final 8 back home next week.
Conor Morgan scored 28 for the ‘Birds on a red-hot 7/8 from beyond the arc, while rookie guard, Taylor Browne kicked in 15, with 4/5 deep balls. 16/29 as a team from 3 point range will usually put you in good shape !
Keith Omoerah hit 13 points for Manitoba, and both A.J. Bas and Joseph Medrano tallied 12.  Box Score


More CIS Play-off action, Saturday –
Quebec Final – McGill Redmen 78  UQAM Citadins  67
Ontario , Wilson Cup Final – Ryerson Rams  73 Carleton Ravens  68   … and in the 3rd place game there, it was the Ottawa Gee-Gees  90  Windsor  Lancers 77.


 

Overtime –

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  •  So we have our field of 8 teams for the CIS Nationals in Vancouver, March 17-20.  It’s Calgary, Thompson Rivers, and UBC from Canada West … Ryerson, Carleton, and Ottawa representing Ontario … the Quebec champs, McGill, plus the Atlantic Tournament winners, Dalhousie.
  • The CIS selection / seeding committee will make the wildcard selection (Ottawa) official on Sunday, and they will seed the field within a few prescribed guidelines –
    • Conference champions (Calgary, Ryerson, McGill, Dalhousie) must be seeded in the top 6 spots.
    • Trying not to match-up teams from the same conference on the 1st round.
    • The team’s record against all other teams in the championship.
    • Strength of schedule.
    • Playoff performance.
  • How about this, considering all those factors?
    •  1.  Ryerson  vs  8.  UBC
    • 2.  Carleton  vs  7. Thompson Rivers
    • 3.  Calgary  vs  6. Dalhousie
    • 4.  McGill  vs  5. Ottawa

TRU and Calgary to Meet in CW Final

 

Dinos blow by Bisons in a decisive win in semi-final #2

Johnny Verrone plays a key defensive role as UC beats Manitoba in the CW semi-final.

Johnny Verrone plays a key defensive role as UC beats Manitoba in the CW semi-final.

Calgary Dinos  100  Manitoba Bisons  74 – For a slow starting team over the course of the last several games, the Dinos have managed to pull together for key wins on each opportunity.  Friday’s CW semi-final was easily the biggest of those to date, as the confident Manitoba Bisons came to town talking of a slot in Nationals and time for a Canada West title.  But David Kapinga refused to bend to the pressure, with his blend of tenacious darting defense and speedy drives to the glass at the other end. Ditto Thomas Cooper, whose scoring seems like an inevitable diet of delicate in-the – lane jumpers, sprinkled with a few treys for good measure.

27 points / 8 rebounds for Cooper, and 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists for Kapinga, as Calgary came from down 14-4 after 4 minutes to up 25-20 at the end of the 1st quarter. Everyone played and hit the score-sheet for UC, with Jasdeep Gill adding a change of pace early on to shift the momentum; both Gill and Johnny Verrone finished with 11 points apiece.

Manitoba came out with A.J. Basi making some tough shots, and Justus Alleyn and Brett Jewell getting to the rim early on.  But the defense let the Herd down, as Calgary scored often in transition, and had established a 9 point lead at the half. The Dinos forced 22 Bisons turnovers, and hit 8 treys to 5 for Manitoba. Basi led UM with 17, Jewell with 12, but Manitoba shot just 37% from the floor to Calgary’s 50%, and the flood-gates opened.

The Dinos advance to the Canada West Final at 8 pm Saturday vs Thompson Rivers in a battle of the two divisional winners; they will both be joining the hosts, UBC, at the Nationals next week in Vancouver.  Manitoba will play the T-Birds Saturday in the 6 pm game for third place, with no other significance than seeding for UBC in the Final 8.      Box Score

 

The Orange prevail in the battle of B.C.

Reese Pribilsky guided his TRU Wolf Pack to the Canada West Final and a spot at Nationals.

Reese Pribilsky guided his TRU Wolf Pack to the Canada West Final and a spot at Nationals with a win over UBC on Friday in Calgary.

Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  72   UBC Thunderbirds  69 –  In this  semifinal # 1, it was the ‘new guys on the  block’, the Wolf Pack, surprising the UBC T-Birds , with a slick passing offense and some very sharp-shooting in a masterful 2nd half. As advertised, the ‘Pack had superior point – guard play from 5th year Reese Pribilsky, who hit the shots and TRU Wolf Pack copymade the decisive passes as TRU pulled by UBC with a 23-17 3rd quarter, then kept coming in a tense final frame. Neither team established an inside game, with some solid interior defense forcing deeper tries. Josh Wolfram led the ‘Pack with his soft touch producing 23 points and he grabbed 14 rebounds for the stellar double-double.  Pribilsky  scored 17 including 3/5 from long range, and he had 4 assists/ 2 steals.
The Thunderbirds seemed to lose their offensive rhythm in the final 20 minutes, and often settled for the long ball, where they were only 6/26 (23%) for the game . Jordan Jensen – Whyte provided some highlights for the ‘Birds with his slashing moves at the hoop, as he tallied 19 points on 9/18 from the floor plus 5 boards. David Wagner scored 15 / 9 rebounds, and Conor Morgan had 14 and 6 boards. But when the chips were down, the Wolf Pack got the clutch scores from Wolfram and Volodymyr Iegorov, while UBC were frustrated by a zone defense from TRU.

Thompson Rivers grabs a spot in the CIS Nationals with the win, and have a shot at their 1st – ever Canada West title on Saturday. UBC, of course, are the hosts of next week’s Nationals, and have their spot in the tournament.  Box Score


 In Eastern Canada … more CIS Play-off action –
Quebec Semi-Finals in Montreal –  UQAM Citadins 70  Concordia Stingers 63 ,  McGill Redmen 76 Laval Rouge et Or 69
Ontario , Wilson Cup Semis, at Ryerson U. in Toronto –  Carleton Ravens 82  Ottawa Gee-Gees 74 ,  Ryerson Rams  96  Windsor Lancers 77


 

Overtime –

  • Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren after the Friday win over Manitoba, “Our team Dinos14has worked very hard for this (spot at Nationals); guys have bought- in to the roles they are playing and everyone is contributing. Our game is dependent on our defense, and we are generating points from that with efforts like we got tonight from Johnny Verrone, David Kapinga, and Mitch Ligertwood.”
  • One remarkable detail from this year’s OUA Wilson Cup Final 4 is that 3 of the 4 teams have an interim head coach.  Carleton, of course, has the legendary Dave Smart taking a year away and Rob Smart, an Assistant since 2005, taking his place.   Ryerson’s Roy Rana is also on a year’s leave, and his replacement, Patrick Tatham, was named OUA Coach of the Year earlier this week . Former Lancers star point man, Ryan Steer, is the interim head man for Windsor, as he fills in for Chris Oliver.
  • Speaking of coaches on the move, Matt Skinn has resigned as the coach at
    Matt Skinn, rejoining family in Western Canada.

    Matt Skinn, rejoining family in Western Canada.

    Cape Breton; the head man with the Capers for 4 seasons, Matt also was Head Coach of the St. FX Women’s team for 4 seasons, and prior to that was an Assistant with the Calgary Dinos under Dan Vanhooren. Skinn decided to make a move back to Calgary to rejoin his fiancé , Karmen Brown, who has started a career with the Calgary Police Service. Calgary is Karmen’s home town, and Matt has his brother, mother, stepfather and grandparents living in British Columbia. “That’s just where I knew I had to be”, said Skinn.  More details in this article in the Cape Breton Post.

  • Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos 4th year Canada West All-star and the CW Player of the Year, on his drive to excel,  “I set the bar high for myself. I want to win everything, team, individual, everything.  I’d rather have the team goals over the individual ones any day. At the end of the day, I want the Canada West championship and hopefully the national championship.”  From story by Rita Mingo in the Calgary Herald.
  • On a stormy Thursday West of the Rockies, a travel crisis faced the two B.C. Unknownschools playing in this weekend’s Canada West Final 4 .  The Thompson Rivers ‘Pack were forced to ‘grab a bus’ after a vicious storm shut down flights out of the Kamloops airport, and the UBC T-Birds waited (presumably somewhat nervously) until this morning, and boarded an early flight to Calgary.  Not the best for prep, but the forces of nature are fickle, and will mess with our plans on occasion !  (At least they’re playing against each other.)

 

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.

 

Huskies Clip ‘Horns in OT

 

Huskies and ‘Horns go down to the wire in Saskatoon –

Huskies' Shawn Lathan connects on a game-winning OT trey.

Huskies’ Shawn Lathan connects on a game-winning OT trey.  photo – Huskies Athletics

 at Saskatchewan 90  Lethbridge  89  –   The Huskies (4-8) catch Lethbridge (6-4) late in the 4th quarter, with some ‘Horns turnovers leading to hoops from Chan DeCiman and Shane Osayande, but the ‘Horns get it to OT with a last second 3 point shot from Rob Olsen.  Shawn Lathan returned the favour at the end of OT, with a winning trey at the 20 second mark, then Shane Osayande blocks a shot to preserve the win for U of S. 5 Sask. players in double figures with 18 each from Lathan and Osayande, who also adds 8 rebounds. The Huskies get  26/35 free throws vs just 12/15 for the visitors, as Lethbridge shoots 50% from the floor to 35% for the Dogs, and still lose !. UL are led by 22 points from Rob Olsen, who is 4/6 from outside,  19 points/8 boards by Dejon Burdeaux, and 17 / 9 rebs by Brandon Brine.  21 Lethbridge turnovers hurt their cause, and they lose the rebound battle 41-34.   Box Score

 UBC 76  at Manitoba 66 –  The 2nd game to UBC, and a split for the series (prophetic on Coach Hanson’s part ….) The T-Birds get off to a sprint start at 20-9 after 10 minutes, and their defense squeezes Manitoba enough that the Herd hit only 31% on the night. UBC (9-3) hits 8 treys vs 3 for UM, and the ‘Birds scoop 50 rebounds against 44 for the Bisons. Phil Jalalpoor leads the visitors with 19 points/ 5 rebs/4 assts, while Jordan Jensen-Whyte scores 18 / 5 assts, and Conor Morgan hits 14 and snares 10 boards. Manitoba (8-4 )  have 4 players in double digits, led by 18 from Justus Alleyn, 17 by A.J. Basi, and 10 points / 11 boards from Keith Omoerah. Box Score

  Victoria 66  at   Alberta  60 –   Another split of competitive teams, as the Vikes (7-5) capitalize on a 48-36 rebounding margin and very careful ball-handling with just 4 turnovers. poor Cold shooting from the floor with good defensive efforts from both teams (35%-34%) , but, with no D at the free throw line, the Bears are 12/14 and UVic goes13/15. Victoria got 16 apiece from Grant Sitton and Jordan Charles, along with 15 points/ 8 rebounds by Mack Roth.  Alberta (5-6) were led by 16 points and 9 boards from Mamadou Gueye, and 13 / 6 rebs by Brody Clarke.   Box Score

Thomas Cooper's 28 points vs Brandon keeps Calgary atop the Pioneer.

Thomas Cooper’s 28 points vs Brandon keeps Calgary atop the Pioneer.   photo – David Moll, UC

Calgary 85  at  Brandon 79  –   The Dinos trail for much of the game, in fact through until the 5 minute mark of the 4th, as the ‘Cats, led by D.J. Jordan looked ready for the upset.  Calgary (10-3) went on a 14-6 run to finish the game, with key defensive stops, and some clutch play by Jasdeep Gill, Josh Owen -Thomas, and Thomas Cooper.  Cooper, who had only 11 on Friday, buried 28 tonight, and added 5 boards and 6 assists. Owen-Thomas and Lars Schleuter each scored 11, as UC hit 44% FG and 19/26 free throws. BU’s Jordan filled it up for 3/4s, and netted 29 for the night , while Troy Grant hit for 22/ 6 rebs/ 3 assts/ 5 steals, but Brandon loses their 10th straight. Box Score


 

TRU pulls out a tight win at MacEwan

Thompson Rivers 71  at  MacEwan 69  –    The Wolf Pack (12-2) have to overcome a 5 point deficit after 3/4s, and they get key hoops from both Volodymyr Iegorov and Reese Pribilsky to do just that.  MacEwan (5-7) had their chances, but cooled off in the last 5 minutes to slide back to 5-9 on the season. Josh Wolfram was the high scorer for TRU with 21 points / 8 rebounds, while Iegorov counted 15 points / 10 boards, and Pribilsky hit 17 pts/ 7 assists. The Griffs got 16 points / 10 rebounds from Thadius Galvez, and 17 points / 7 boards / 3 steals by Denzel James. Box Score

at Mt Royal  79  UBC- Okanagan 57  –   The home-standing Cougars go up 42-22 at  the half, and that’s virtually the match, as MRU   get a weekend sweep and a share of 3rd place in the Explorer with the Heat and MacEwan at 5-7.  Okanagan hit a paltry 28% from the field, and commit 19 costly turnovers in the loss.  Brett Layton scores 19 and rips 12 rebounds for MRU , and he gets help from his post partner, James Lefebvre, with 17 plus 5 boards. Mitch Goodwin was the game’s high scorer for UBC-O at 22 points, but no other Heat player approaches 10.   Box Score  

at Fraser Valley 62  UNBC  47  –  Strong defensive play by the Cascades to win convincingly for the sweep, and move up to 8-4 for the season. UNBC is flirting with a non-playoff season at 3-9, having dropped 3 straight, as they shoot only 32% vs 46% for UFV. 16 points each from Kevon Parchment and Nate Brown, and 11 rebounds from Parchment for his 2nd double-double of the weekend. 10 points from Austin Chandler was the highlight for Timberwolves.  Box Score


CIS Scores on Saturday –
Atlantic-  at UPEI 92 Acadia  90 , UNB 86  Dalhousie 71, Memorial 109  at                 Saint Marys 105  ,    St. FX at Cape Breton  ppd, weather
Quebec –  Concordia  71  UQAM  66, Laval 73  McGill 52
Ontario –  Ottawa 75  Carleton 73 , Ryerson 97  Queen’s 81,  Windsor 87  Algoma 80,  McMaster 105  Laurier 81, Brock 81  Waterloo 69 , Nipissing 84  Laurentian 73


Overtime – 

  •  A.J Holloway, the T-Birds 4th year guard from Tacoma, WA (Bellevue C.Coll) is starting to live up to the promise he showed as a Jr. College star in Washington.  “Over the holiday, on our California trip, A.J. really played well, and we see him as a bigger contributor in the 2nd half of the year”, said Coach Kevin Hanson.
  • In a conversation prior to the weekend’s play, Coach Hanson suggested that
    UBC bench boss, Kevin Hanson.

    UBC bench boss, Kevin Hanson.

    these double-header weekend series are not his favourite scheduling method.  Says the 16 year Thunderbirds head man, “It’s tough for 2 teams who are fairly evenly matched to play a repeat game the next night. If you win the 1st game, you feel you’ve accomplished your goal,  and it’s hard for the players to come back with the same intensity.”  Hanson says he much prefers the ‘split-weekends’, for example, playing 1 vs Manitoba , then 1 against Winnipeg.  Better for the fans and the teams. Coach Hanson points out, “We’re the only League in the CIS that does this consistently, and it hurts us, even in the National rankings.”  He adds, “Do you think Carleton and Ottawa would want to play on back-to-back nights?”   (More on CW scheduling later in the season).

Cougars Welcome ‘Pops’ to Regina

 

‘Pops’ Takes it On the Road to Regina

Rawane ‘Pops’ Ndiaye has had an eventful last few weeks;  the 25 year old former University of Tennessee player finished his requirements for a Psychology degree from UT in mid-December, and, late in the month, traveled to Phoenix, AZ to meet his new teammates and coaches with the Regina Cougars, who played 3 games just prior to New Years.

Rawane 'Pops' Ndiaye has starting workouts with the Regina Cougars this week.

Rawane ‘Pops’ Ndiaye has starting workouts with the Regina Cougars this week.

The young man returned to his family home in Raleigh, North Carolina, to pack his things for his trip to, hopefully, a new chapter in his basketball and academic life in Regina, Saskatchewan. Feeling he needs his car to get around in his new town, ‘Pops’ decides to drive from N.C. to Southern Saskatchewan.  Cougars teammate, Brian Ofori, obviously with the right team attitude and adventuresome spirit, volunteers to fly to Raleigh from Phoenix, and accompany ‘Pops’ on the highway journey North.  They pull into Regina on January 4, and Ndiaye is practicing with the team, and getting classes organized this week.

Coach Steve Burrows is counting on ‘Pops’ to “ adapt to a new team, a new group of guys, and a new style of play.”  Burrows says, “He is a great young man; very friendly, confident, and a knowledgeble, and capable player.”  “It’s certainly a risk to bring in someone in January, and we’ll have to see how he progresses (Ndiaye was forced to quit at Tennessee after an ACL knee injury in 2014; UR is hoping he can return to playing form).  But, as Coach Burrows says, “‘Pops’ didn’t get any shorter when he crossed the border!”  He’s 6-10, 270, with skills and the experience of playing in the NCAA Tournament.

With the benefit of a home date this Saturday and Sunday vs Trinity Western, then a bye week following, the big man will get some time to become acclimatized to his new surroundings. Rawane will, everything going as it should, play in his 1st game as a Regina Cougar on February 2 in Vancouver against the UBC Thunderbirds.

Now, about the block heater for his car ….


Cda West

Canada West Resumes Play This Week –

After a month-long hiatus, Canada West teams will re-engage in regular season games this week. There may be some rust this early in January, but most squads played in tournaments, exhibition games, scrimmages, and/or team practices over that Holiday break.

 

Series of the week – Pioneer Division –

Can UBC's Jordan Jensen-Whyte drive the T-Birds to wins over the visting UL Pronghorns?

Can UBC’s Jordan Jensen-Whyte drive the T-Birds to wins over the visiting UL Pronghorns?      photo – UBC Athletics

Lethbridge Pronghorns 5-1 vs UBC Thunderbirds 6-2 – The ‘Horns start their onerous 2nd semester schedule ‘in the belly of the beast’, at venerable War Memorial Gym on Point Grey, where they are they are 0-12 since the turn of the century.  But, there is fresh hope for ’Horns Nation’, as they shoot it well, rebound it consistently, apply defensive pressure, and have a deep bench.  On the flip side, they are troubled by turnovers, and give up more treys than they make. Brandon Brine up front and Dejon Burdeaux in the back-court are 2 very valuable imports. Local 2nd year wing man,  6-7 Zac Overwater is stepping up his game, and becoming a force on offense.
The Thunderbirds are reputed to have the deepest well of talent in the League, and may be tough to beat, at their very best;  but Coach Kevin Hanson has had moments where he hasn’t been totally convinced.  Conor Morgan can be all-star material on one night ( the 6-9 wing man scored 34 vs Hope Int’l last week in California), then not so much the next.  David Wagner inside and Jordan Jensen-Whyte on the perimeter have been the driving forces for the ‘Birds.  Home court will be big this week, and UBC figures to sweep if they win the  rebounding, and can slow down the U of L attack.

Games Spread from Thursday to Sunday this week –

Thursday –

Winnipeg 3-5  at Brandon 0-6  in game 1 of their home and home –  The Bobcats quite clearly are desperate for a win, but they’re 1-10 vs the Wesmen in the past several years. Winnipeg haven’t yet found their rhythm yet, however, and Brandon’s Earl Thompson Jr., with his tireless rebounding, and the shooting of D.J. Jordan may get the ‘Cats off the schneid.

Friday –

Jasdeep Gill, 4th year wing, and his UC Dinos teammates face the U of S Huskies in Calgary this weekend.

Jasdeep Gill, 4th year wing, and his UC Dinos teammates face the U of S Huskies in Calgary this weekend.                        photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

Saskatchewan 3-5 at Calgary 6-3 – The Huskies are 9-2 over the Dinos in the past 4 seasons, and Calgary has to find the key to beating a scrappy Saskatchewan team that may be under-manned in the post. Both teams are blessed with talented and quick guards, with Thomas Cooper of Calgary leading Canada West scorers (26.7 ppg), and The Dogs scoring more by committee, with Evan Ostertag (15.9 ppg), Chan DeCiman (14.5), and Jacquin Bennett-Boire (13.3).  Rebounding will be key, along with the ability to get more shared scoring by the Dinos.

 Manitoba 6-2 at Victoria  5-3 – In the last 4 seasons, the Vikes are 6-1 over Manitoba, and home court helps UVic here; the  Bisons are as good as they’ve been for many years, however, and they are on a bit of a roll.  Victoria must find a way to gel on offense, and depend on aggressive D to curb the prolific scoring of the Herd (85 ppg).

 And, in the Explorer Division –

Aldrich Berrios leads the Okanagan Heat in a home series vs the TRU 'Pack. photo - Greystoke Photography for UBC-O

2nd year point guard, Aldrich Berrios, leads the Okanagan Heat in a home series vs the 1st place TRU Wolf Pack.                                   photo – Grestoke Photography for UBC-O Athletics

Thompson Rivers  7-1 at UBC-Okanagan 4-4 – The Wolf Pack won 3 of 4 games last season, and they look stronger this time around with Josh Wolfram joined by Ukrainian import, Volodymyr Iegorov, in a heavyweight 1-2 punch in the front court.  Okanagan has improved over past seasons as well, with Heat point man Aldrich Berrios set to give TRU’s Reese Pribilsky a tussle.

Mt. Royal 2-6 at Fraser Valley 5-3 – The Cascades have beaten MRU 4 of the last 5 times they’ve met, and they will not want to give up any more ground to the Wolf Pack in the race for top spot. Kevon Parchment is relentless for UFV, and Vijay Dhillon is now a go-to shooter.  The Cougars need big men James Lefebvre and Brett Layton to win the war inside if they are to stay close.

MacEwan 3-5 at UNBC 3-5 –  The Timberwolves won 3 of 4 from Mac in the Griffins opening season in Canada West, and in the friendly confines of the Northern Sports Centre, the Wolves are hard to handle.  Guards Rhys Elliott and Billy Cheng lead UNBC, so Denzel James and Thadius Galvez will have to respond for the Griffs.

Saturday – 

Trinity Western 0-8 at Regina 5-3 –  The Cougars have won 3 of the last 4 vs the Spartans, and, with the home court advantage, there is little reason that should change this week. Jonathan Tull and company should give the Trinity defense a real test, and TWU has allowed 86 ppg, while scoring just 68 ppg.

Brandon travels to Winnipeg for game 2, Saskatchewan at Calgary, TRU at UBC-O, MRU at UFV, Manitoba at UVic, Mac at UNBC, and Lethbridge at UBC.

Sunday –  Trinity W. at Regina


Overtime –

  • Gil Cheung, Brandon Coach, on leadership (by Robin Wark in the Westman Journal) , “They always say that you can choose your captains, but you can’t choose your leaders,” While captains are chosen for leadership roles, other players often emerge as important leaders as well. For example, Cheung said that first-year player Tyler Anderson has led this season. The 6-foot-7 forward from Langley, B.C. has done so by putting in the extra work, competing, and being one of the team’s hardest workers”, his coach explained.
  • The Calgary Dinos , as one of the fortunate hosts for the Bell NBA All Star NBASplashChallenge, may sell-out Saturday’s Dinos-Huskies  game! The NBA Challenge  is crossing the country as part of the 65th NBA All-Star celebrations to be held in Toronto on Sunday, Feb. 14 at the Air Canada Centre.   On Saturday, January 9, at the Jack Simpson Gym starting at 12 noon, any local b’baller 14 or over can compete (no charge to enter) in skills competitions, 3 point shooting, and/or a dunk contest. Top performers will advance to UC – U of S game time competition for various prizes, including a trip to the game in Toronto and a chance to compete with other winners from across Canada. More details at the Go Dinos website.
  •  Positive comments from  “Pops’  Ndiaye, the 6-10 U. Tennessee transfer,  upon his arrival in Regina for the  Cougars 2nd half of their season in Canada West. “The guys are really friendly, so we’re just kind of building our relationship and getting to know each other,” said Ndiaye,  “Hopefully I’ll be a good fit for them.” From a story in the Regina Leader-Post by Ian Hamilton.

 

Final Week – Pre-Season

 

Coach Scott Clark instructs his 'Pack during a time-out vs SFU on Saturday in Kamloops. photo - S. Krolow

Coach Scott Clark instructs his ‘Pack during a time-out vs SFU on Saturday in Kamloops.         photo – Stacey Krolow – TRU

 

Wolf Pack Maul SFUTRU Wolf Pack copy

Thompson Rivers 74  Simon Fraser  56   – (late Saturday) the Wolf Pack are 5-0 in pre-season;  they handle the Clan,  as Josh Wolfram hits for a double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. Reese Pribilsky has 19 points,  while Volodymyr Iegorov  had 18 . (From Larry Read, TRU)  … ( Ed. note … We take great satisfaction in this result, childish as it may seem.  Coach Clark left Burnaby Mtn. for TRU, and we’re glad he stayed in Canada West.)

Sunday Games in CIS –

Big Game ! –  at Brock 94 Windsor 92  – The Badgers, unbeaten in 7 CIS games, get a close home win, and Windsor makes them earn it.  Two strong teams.

Queen’s 83  at MacEwan 75, at McMaster 83 St. Mary’s 69,  Ryerson  82 Concordia 74,  Lakehead 77  Waterloo 60, UQAM 63 York 56, Dalhousie 73 Toronto 72


 

Canada West  This Week –

Tuesday – at UBC   Simon Fraser  –  We call UBC by 10 1/2 pts. in this regional rivalry game. The ‘Birds have been inconsistent, but should deal with the Clan.

Friday – at  Alberta   MacEwan , Evergreen St. (WA)  at Trinity W.,

Montana Western at Lethbridge, Mt. Royal at UBC, Victoria at College of Idaho

Saturday – Mt. Royal  at  Trinity W., Thompson R. at Northwest U. (WA), Montana W. at Lethbridge, Evergreen St. at UBC, Victoria at E. Oregon

 


 

Overtime –

  •   If I were UBC, I wouldn’t bother with Simon Fraser; the Clan decided to play in a U.S. League, so let them go.  A Canadian school playing in a U.S. League ?  Ridiculous!   In possibly unrelated news, UBC Coach Kevin Hanson’s wife, Theresa, has just been announced as the new Athletic Director at Simon Fraser !
  •   We are less than 2 weeks away from the start of Canada West League play, and later this week, we will try and sort out the favourites and the hopefuls … the potential all-stars … best looking rookies … and schedule highlights.
  •   Fraser Valley, UBC-O, UNBC, Calgary, Manitoba, Regina, Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg  are taking the week off before next week’s League start;   Alberta and MacEwan play a ‘City Game’,  TRU is in WA state for 1, Brandon has 1 at home, UVic is in Oregon for 2, Lethbridge hosts 2 vs Mont. W., TWU hosts MRU and the Fighting Geoducks of Evergreen St. (WA),  and UBC has the 3 at home (SFU, MRU, Evergreen).