Dinos and Wolf Pack – Top Playoff Seeds

 

Dinos Sweep Bears … Regina gets big home win

Speedy guard, David Kapinga, and the Calgary Dinos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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


 

Overtime –   

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

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

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

10 ‘X-Factor’ Players in Canada West

 

 

10  X-Factor Players to Watch This Week –

Saskatchewan's 2nd year forward, Mack Burns. photo - Huskies Athletics

Saskatchewan’s 2nd year forward, Mack Burns.                      photo – Huskies Athletics

The leading scorers and rebounders have their names bandied about each and every week, but it is very often left to some lesser known team members to step up at opportune times, and make the difference.  Games turn on things like ‘points off the bench’, or a timely hoop, or key defensive play from a substitute.  Who are the ‘X-factor’ players we might see make the plays that turn a game around ?

Randall Mosca, UBC-O

Randall Mosca, UBC-O

> Brett Jewell, Manitoba –  A  6-7, 4th year forward, who is starting to assert himself on the inside for the Herd.  Averaging 7 ppg/2.8 rebounds, his numbers will likely go up as his self-belief increases week by week.
> Mack Burns, Saskatchewan – The 6-6, 2nd year forward from  Regina is showing flashes of his older brother, Connor, who was a rugged rebounding forward at U. Regina, then U of S.  Mack shoots it well, at 47% FG, and averages 6 points and 6.4 rebounds a game.
> Chris Maughn, Lethbridge  –  Averaging 7.3 ppg and 4.4 rebs, he shoots 54% from the floor. The 6-9, 3rd year post, can provide a lift in the heavy traffic zones, where the Pronghorns aren’t as deep as they may wish.
> David Kapinga, Calgary –  This 5-11 guard, who played his Jr. High and started HS in  Calgary,  uses his quickness to put max pressure on opponents ball handlers. His acceleration gets him into the lane on offense, as he tallies 8 ppg/ 3 rebounds.
>  Patrick Simon, UBC – The 6-8, 240 lb , 2nd year from Port Coquitlam, scores 7.2 ppg plus 5 rebounds in just under 20 minutes a game.  He has a nose for the ball, and the size to bump effectively on the inside.
>  Reiner Theil, Victoria –  This veteran does the ‘blue-collar’ work so essential to a team’s success.  He uses his 6-5 muscle to grab 7.5 rebounds a game, and can score from outside with a smooth 3 point stroke. The 5th year captain is a defensive stopper, and has the experience to lead his team.

MRU Cougars' Glen Yang

MRU Cougars’ Glen Yang

> Glen Yang, Mt. Royal –  The 2nd year guard from Calgary has a steady, all-round game, with the potential to raise his scoring numbers. He scores 9.5 ppg/ 3.5 assists/ 2.5 rebounds, and has the quickness to be a good perimeter defender.
> Gerard Gore, Thompson Rivers – This  6-5 wing from Antigua is a veteran player who flies ‘under the radar’  as a forward on this team.  But his 4.5 rebounds, and 5.5 ppg, while shooting 50% from the floor give an indication of his ability to contribute at key times.
> Randall Mosca, Okanagan –  A straight-up ‘gunslinger’, the slender 5-11, Mosca, a Calgary product, may average 10.4 ppg, but may go for 25 when he is on a roll.  On a team which has some challenge scoring-wise on occasion , the 3rd year guard can be ‘instant offense’.
> Tyler Anderson, Brandon –  This rookie forward is ‘learning on the job’, and he has made great progress according to his Coach Gil Cheung. The 6-7 Langley, B.C. native,  shoots 52% FG, scores 5 ppg/3 rebounds in 14 minutes a game .


 6  Games on the Prairies this week –  Canada West League Schedule

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 7.19.07 AMFeature Match-up –  UBC  (8-2)  at Manitoba  (7-3) –  The Bisons get a chance to take on the Division leading T-Birds in Winnipeg in  a match-up of the League’s 2 highest scoring teams.   The Bisons big men look poised to do battle with a strong group of T-Birds’ forwards.  Anders-Alexander-Jewell-Omoerah  vs  Wagner-Morgan-Simon-Ondrik.  Heavy-weights!

 

 Lethbridge  (5-3)  at Saskatchewan  (3-7) – The Huskies are not comfortable with their current record, and they need to get wins to jump back into the pack.  This is a pivotal series for both teams, and may be one that would be too close to call.  The ‘Dogs and ‘Horns are 3-3 over their last 6 games, having split 3 series in a row.

Victoria  (6-4)   Alberta  (4-5) –  Two traditional contenders in Canada West, the Bears and the Vikes are in a mass of teams gathered in a big scrum from 5th to 9th place.  Vic won all 4 games between these two teams last year, in regular season then the 1st round of the playoffs.  This is another ‘pick-em’ affair, with home court a U of A advantage, and the GB’s post depth a challenge for the Vikes.

Lars Schleuter, Calgary Dinos sharp-shooting 2nd year wing man. photo - David Moll, UC Athletics

Lars Schleuter, Calgary Dinos sharp-shooting 2nd year wing man.                                                    photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

Calgary  (8-3)   Brandon (0-8) – The last 11 meetings between the Bobcats and the Dinos have Calgary with a slim 6-5 advantage.  This is a prototypical ‘trap series’, with the Dinos among the leaders, and Brandon having their struggles to date.  Every road game, every game, period, is a big one in Canada West.

Thompson Rivers  (8-2)  at  MacEwan (5-5) –  One of the ‘Pack’s 2 League losses was in Kamloops at the claws of the Griffins, and TRU will be looking for some retribution in Edmonton this week.  The Explorer leaders are coming of their other loss, last weekend in Kelowna to the other 3rd place team, UBC-O.  Mac on a 3 game win streak.

Mitch Goodwin, Okanagan's veteran guard.

Mitch Goodwin, Okanagan’s veteran guard.             photo –  Greystoke- for UBC-O Athletics

at Mt Royal (3-7)   UBC- Okanagan (5-5) –  Home floor for MRU, in a battle of hopefuls for the 3rd playoff spot;  the Heat swept the Cougars in their November League games in Kelowna.  The MRU post men can be a load, as UFV discovered last week, but UBC-O have some increased confidence led by Berrios and Goodwin.  Expect low scoring, defensive clashes .

In B.C. –  at Fraser Valley (6-4)  UNBC (3-7) – the lone series West of the Rockies this weekend, and the Cascades and T’Wolves split their November set in Prince George.  UFV hopes to have a longer bench with guys recovering from illness and injury.  The ‘Wolves have never won in Abbotsford, and need to break this 3 game slide.

>  Regina, Winnipeg, and Trinity Western all get a bye this week. <


 
Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 5.11.42 PMA Scramble in the OUA ?

With every passing week, it appears more likely that the weekly rankings will be one of the ways in which a 3rd Ontario team gets selected to the CIS Nationals.   The wildcard spot won’t put 4 Canada West teams in play, and neither Quebec nor the Atlantic have had enough juice in this coaches’ poll to get more than one representative.  Ergo ….

 


CIS Scores from Wednesday  –
Ontario –  McMaster 93 at Waterloo 66 , at Ryerson 104 York 69 , Brock 91 at Laurier 67


 

Overtime –

Coach Eric Magdanz, MacEwan Griffins

Coach Eric Magdanz, MacEwan Griffins

  • Coach Eric Magdanz, MacEwan Griffins,  whose team is tied for 3rd spot in the Explorer Division, “ We think we can hang-in there with some of the ‘strong teams’.  We’ve been a bit slow in coming together, with some roster changes this season, then a few injuries.  I really feel the Wesmen (Holiday) Tournament allowed us to gel as a team, and we had a good weekend at UNBC.  This League, both our Division and the Pioneer, are so tight, and you have to be ready every series”, says Magdanz.   (The Griffs beat Manitoba in the fall, beat Brandon at Christmas, and had close losses to both Acadia and Lethbridge.

‘Birds Fly Away From ‘Horns

 

Thunderbirds Claim Top Spot With Sharp Offensive Display

at UBC  95  Lethbridge 73 –   UBC flew past the visiting Pronghorns with a 31 point 2nd  quarter, and scored 50 in the 2nd half to ice a key win to tip off the 2nd half of the schedule. The Thunderbirds sit on top of the Pioneer Division with a 7-2 mark going into Saturday’s 2nd game of this series.  Once they got the offense rolling, it was all T-Birds, with 4 players in double digits, led by Phil Jalalpour’s 19 points, 16 plus 8 boards from Patrick Simon, and 15 points each by David Wagner and Conor Morgan. Jalalpour, the import guard, hit 5/7 beyond the arc as UBC shot 51% from the floor vs 40% for Lethbridge.  Zac Overwater scored 14 for the ‘Horns (5-2), with Rob Olsen adding 12.   Box Score

at Calgary 73 Saskatchewan 68 – An excruciating game for the first 3/4s , then the Dinos finally found a hot hand in 5th year guard, Josh Owen-Thomas, who hit some clutch shots, including 2 treys to keep Calgary close to a game Saskatchewan crew. Neither team shot it at all well for the game, with UC at 35% and the ‘Dogs with 36%.  The 4th had most of the fire -works, as Calgary’s Thomas Cooper scored 12 of his game high 22 points, and Owen-Thomas chipped in with 13. The Dinos benefited from a cleaner ball-handling game than the Huskies, with just 8 turnovers to a cruel 22 for U of S.  Shane Osayande, the 6-7 post man, who had missed the first half of the season with injury, was strong for the visitors, scoring 20 points and hauling in14 big rebounds. Jauquin Bennett-Boire and Evan Ostertag scored 11 each, but they, like their ‘mates had a cold shooting night.  Box Score  

at Victoria 85  Manitoba  77 –   After leading 41-34 at the half, he Vikes allow the Herd to catch them in the 4th, but Manitoba has nothing in OT, as UVic cruises 10-2 there .  A very solid effort at home for Victoria (6-3) , as they shoot 48% FG and 20/23 (87%) from the line, while turning it over just 9 times. 28 points from Grant Sitton to go with 11 rebounds sparks the Vikes, who also get 20 points from Mack Roth, and 11 pts/ 12 rebounds by Reiner Theil. Manitoba, also now 6-3,  are led by 17 apiece from Brett Jewell and A. J. Basi. Box Score

Thursday, in game 1 of their home and home series,  Winnipeg 83 at Brandon 72    Despite 30 points from the Bobcats Earl Thompson Jr.,  the Wesmen get a road win to move to 4-5 on the season.  Denzel Lynch-Blair was the offensive leader for the Ws, with 25 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals, while big post man, Ryan Oirbans posted a strong double-double of 13 points/14 rebounds. The game breakers were the Winnipeg advantage of 21/28 free throws vs the Bobcats slim 4/8 from the line, and the messy 30 turnovers by Brandon, leading to 27 Wesmen points.  Game 2 goes Saturday in Winnipeg. —  Box Score


 

Explorer Division

Cascades Open Smartly at Home vs Cougars

UFV's Kevon Parchment's complete game leads the Cascades.

UFV’s Kevon Parchment’s complete game leads the Cascades.

at Fraser Valley  89   Mt. Royal  75 –  The combination of a hot-shooting Fraser Valley team (51% from the field), and 24 Mt. Royal turnovers spelled disaster for the visiting Cougars. Kevon Parchment had another stellar night with 28 points and 14 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 steals.  The ‘Swiss-Army knife’ of CW basketball!  Manny Dulay adds 19 for the Cascades  (6-3) on 5/10 from 3 point range. MRU (2-7) got 19 points and 11 rebounds from their impressive rookie post, Brett Layton. Box Score 

Thompson Rivers 69 at UBC-Okanagan 57 –  Not a particularly compelling win by the ‘Pack, but they don’t all have to be ‘Rembrandts’!  TRU shoots 45% from the floor to just 32% for the Heat.  Volodymyr Iegorov leads the Wolves with 23 points and 11 boards, and Josh Wolfram, in a relatively quiet effort, adds 13 and 6 rebs.  Aldrich Berrios, characteristically, is a stand-out for UBC-O with 19 points, 5 rebs/ 2 assts, but no other Heat player hit 10 points or more.  Box Score
MacEwan  74  at UNBC  59 –   The Griffins (4-5) grab some attention with this impressive road win, as they jump all over UNBC defensively, limiting the T’Wolves to 33% shooting on the night.  Mac, on the other hand is warm, with 49% FG, led by Thadius Galvez with 19 points/ 5 rebs, and Denzel James’ 18 plus 7 boards.  Rhys Elliott scores 22 for UNBC (3-6), and Colin Plumb hits for 16 plus 7 rebounds, but no one else really made a dent for the home team. Box Score


 

Other CIS Scores –
Atlantic – Saint Marys 80  Dalhousie 64, Dalhousie  82  St. FX  67 ,  UNB  84              Cape  Breton  83,
Quebec –  Montreal 70  Bishops  44, Laval  68  Concordia  60 … and, on Friday          Laval 71 Concordia 62
Ontario –  Toronto 72  York 70


Overtime –

  • Scott Clark, TRU Head Coach, on his club’s 1st place, 7-1 record,  “What you did before Christmas is just posturing for the most part. The league championship isn’t won before Christmas. It could be lost depending on how terrible your pre-Christmas was. We can’t sit and pat ourselves on the back.”  From The Kamloops News
  • UBC’s Conor Morgan, a potential all-star who admittedly struggled at times
    UBC's Conor Morgan

    UBC’s Conor Morgan

    in the opening half of the season, had a mini training camp with his former high school coach, his Dad, Dave Morgan, in Victoria over Christmas. “I had to hit the re-set button,” Morgan said. “Sometimes, back in Grade 12, my dad and I would clash on the bench. But over Christmas, I listened to everything he had to say. I felt like I had nothing to lose.”  Howard Tsumura of the Vancouver Province gives us more details in this story.

  •  U of M’s, Wyatt Anders, asked in a Q & A by The Manitoban’s Mike Still,  ‘How important is it to the Bisons to have guard Ilarion Bonhomme, and the return of Keith Omoerah ?’ –  Anders replies – “Having Keith back is a real blessing. The years off, maturity-wise, really helped him.  … since he was able to mature as a person, he’s shown his true potential and kept it on lock. As for Ilarion, the little dude is tough! I’ve never seen a guy get hit and hammered so much and still get up and ready to fight – he doesn’t back down from anyone and offensively he’s a firecracker that can blow by you really quickly.” More at ‘The Manitoban – Questions and Anders’.

Vikes – Huskies in Feature Series

 

CW … Series of the Week –

Likes Brandon Dunlop drives against Huskies' Chan De Ciman (#1) and Trevor Severinski (#13) in October U of S win.

Vikes Brandon Dunlop drives against Huskies’ Chan De Ciman (#1) and Trevor Severinski (#13) in October U of S win.          photo – UVic Athletics

#9 Saskatchewan Huskies (1-1) at  Victoria Vikes (2-0) – The Victoria Vikes

Mack Roth , Vikes

Mack Roth , Vikes

are having yet another ‘Official Home Opener’ for the their bright new, yellow -themed CARSA Centre, as the Saskatchewan Huskies return for this week’s League series. Fans will remember the October opening for the Guy Vetrie Tournament, when the Sled Dogs won 3 games over ‘heavy-weights’, Fraser Valley, Carleton, and the Vikes … that one was 95-72 !

But … this is now.  UVic is 2-0, and ‘finding a different way to get things done on the court’.  A shaky pre-season brought some doubt, but Mack Roth, Reiner Theil, and Grant Sitton are hoping to lead a quick resurgence for the defending Canada West champs.  They, like the Huskies, will be playing a more guard-oriented game, even though both teams pride themselves in getting the ball into the paint.  It’s just not your classic back to the hoop , Chris McLaughlin – type attack.

  • Key Huskies –  Evan Ostertag, Jauquin Bennett -Boire, Shawn Lathan, Trevor Severinski
  • Key Vikes –  Grant Sitton, Brandon Dunlop, Mack Roth, Reiner Theil.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 5.20.34 PM

One notable match-up is the grizzled  5th year vet, point man Brandon Dunlop (left, above), in his 3rd ‘Tour of Duty’ on the Viking ship, going up against ‘raw rookie’, Jauquin Bennett-Boire (right), the Huskies QB on offense. JB-B is more likely to be a scoring threat, but Dunlop is a cagey and tireless worker, who will give all he has for a Vikes win in both these games.

Dinos rookie guard, Torrez McCoy, returns to Winnipeg with the Dinos.

Dinos rookie guard, Torrez McCoy, returns to Winnipeg with the Dinos.  photo – David Moll – UC

#6 Calgary Dinos (2-0) at Manitoba Bisons (1-1) – Home-opener for the Bisons, who have big dreams, but they’ve dropped 5 of their past 6 meetings with the Dinos, and need to find a way to control the diverse Calgary attack.  The trio  of Wyatt Anders on the boards (#1 in CW at 12.5 rpg), AJ Basi (21 ppg) with the deep treys, and point guard Justus Alleyn (4.5 assts, 9 ppg) are central to the Bisons game plan.  Calgary has a 10-11 deep rotation, led by 4th year import wing, Thomas Cooper, averaging a double/double of 25 ppg/10 rebounds. Dallas Karch (11 ppg, 5 rebs) and Lars Schleuter (10 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) are a pair of 6-7 forwards who got off to a good start in week 1.  Both these games should be nip and tuck, and won in the final few minutes.

Winnipeg Wesmen (0-2) at Alberta Golden Bears (1-1) –  Second prize for the Ws is another weekend in Sunny Alberta !  Tough scheduling start for the Wesmen, who need a bigger dose of offensive flow against a Bears team intent on leading with their aggressive defense. UW’s Jelane Pryce is expected to produce 15+ ppg, and needs a better shooting performance this week. Jamar Farlay (14.5 ppg) looks to be a big cog in the offense, but the Wesmen need more ‘hands on deck’. Alberta are good at home, and had Mamadou Gueye, Sebastian Denault, and 1st year import guard, Colby Jackson, score in double figures vs UBC last week.

Brandon Brine leads the Pronghorns into their home opener vs Brandon.

Brandon Brine leads the Pronghorns into their home opener vs Brandon.

Brandon Bobcats (0-2)  at Lethbridge Pronghorns (0-0) – Opening night for the ‘Horns, who have one of the longer returnee lists in the League.  Guards, Jared Baker, and Rob Olsen, along with forward, Brandon Brine, are ‘prime-time players’, and import guard Dejon Burdeaux (Fresno CC) is a potent back-court addition for U of L . For the revamped Bobcats, DJ Jordan scored19 ppg in Brandon’s 2 losses vs Regina last weekend, and he  gets help from Chris Stanhope (17 ppg) and Earl Thompson Jr., a beast on the boards (10 rpg) who scored 11 ppg .

Trinity Western Spartans (0-2) at UBC Thunderbirds (1-1) – Trinity may encounter  a flock of angry T-Birds this week, after UBC dropped their home opener to Alberta last Friday. Conor Morgan, David Wagner, and Jordan Jensen -Whyte and company figure to do some damage to a TWU squad trying to establish some team cohesion;  Dean Richey (import guard, Spokane, WA) looks like a leader, and Kelvin Smith has the tools; team shooting and rebounding need to pick up.  We note the Spartans improved turnover ratio, as new Coach Aaron Muhic works for a more efficient style.

The 2-0 Regina Cougars get the bye this week.


 

Explorer Division – 

Nate Brown is a strong presence inside for the Cascades.

Nate Brown is a strong presence inside for the Cascades.

MacEwan Griffins (1-1) at  Fraser Valley Cascades  (2-0) –  Another test for the defending Division champions, as they host a veteran-laden Mac team.  UFV may not overwhelm, but they get the job done, with their experience and toughness. Mark Johnson (3rd year tsf from Coll. of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA), is obviously a great addition, and he joins battle-tested vets, like Kevon Parchment and Nate Brown to form another strong Cascades squad. The Griffins will have to earn everything they get; Denzel James and newcomer Thadius Galvez look like a dynamic pair for the Griffs.

5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, leads a potent 'Pack attack.

5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, leads a potent ‘Pack attack.  – photo – TRU

Thompson R. WolfPack (2-0) at Mt. Royal Cougars (1-1) –  The ‘Pack come in with an 8-0 record over the pre-season and opening week.  Josh Wolfram, Reese Pribilsky, and  Vololodymyr Iegorov are a ‘wrecking crew’ on offense.  The Cougars respond with new-found size and scoring by 1st year post Brett Layton, a 6-8 returned Mormon missionary, who retained and refined some of his hoops skills last summer. James Lefebvre and Derek Wolfe are seniors that MRU will rely on, if they are to get a win vs the ‘Pack.

UNBC Timberwolves (0-2)  at UBC-Okanagan Heat (0-2) –  Here are 2 teams looking for their first victory of the young season.  Both coaches see these as ‘winnable games’, and a split is a necessity, even on this 2nd weekend. The T-Wolves ride the scoring touch of Aussie guard, Rhys Elliot, and an increasingly confident Billy Cheng, who scored 32 in the first of 2 strong team efforts against TRU last week. Okanagan also came to play on the road at Fraser Valley, and they showed more offensive depth, with Dean Johnston, Mitch Goodwin, Aldrich Berrios, and newcomer, Randall Mosca all averaging double figures.


 

Overtime –

Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU's new 'secret weapon' !

Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU’s new ‘secret weapon’ !  photo – TRU Athletics

  • TRU’s Coach Scott Clark appreciates the impact that  Vololodymyr Iegorov  the 6-7, 3rd year  forward, from Donetsk, Ukraine is making on his WolfPack team.  “He scores in a variety of ways, “ Clark explains. “He doesn’t score in your face. He got to the line, he scores in transition. He scores a three or two. He got a couple from the post some from the back cut. He is like a ‘silent assassin.’ He is a good player and that is the way good players go about their business.”  (From News Kamloops ).  Iegorov scored 29 ppg on opening weekend, and he is a huge addition, playing beside TRU’s other ace big man, Josh Wolfram.
  • You are Thompson Rivers, at 8-0 vs CIS and U.S. Colleges, but do you get even a sniff from the CIS Top 10 voters ?  Ah-h-h, NO!  Why you say? Well, it’s obvious that the Canada West Explorer Division is considered a ‘B League’ .  Any team in the Explorer, even the consistently competitive Fraser Valley Cascades, are passed over by this perception. These teams may have to live with that until 2016-17, when Canada West again merges the teams into one almost unfathomable 17 team League.

Carleton – Ottawa in CIS Final

 

Phil Scrubb was hot again, as Carleton beats Victoria for a shot at 5 straight CIS Championships.

Phil Scrubb was hot again (29 points) , as Carleton beats Victoria for a shot at 5 straight CIS Championships.    Photo – Greg Campbell

 

 

 Championship Semifinal # 1 –  Carleton 83  Victoria 74  –   The result was not unexpected, but the Vistoria Vikes could be excused for taking some satisfaction in how they played in coming back in the 4th quarter after falling behind by 27 points early in the 3rd quarter.  The Vikes were 40-22 from that point on, as their shots started to fall, and they had far more luck against the Ravens defense.

Rebounding totals had Carleton way out front 46-30, and that hurt the Vikes, plus the defending champs hit 46% from the floor/ 44% from 12 made 3s.  The Ravens had 29 pts, 8 rebs/ 13 assists from Phil Scrubb, as the Vancouver native, in his 5th year, has had 2 stellar games in trying to help his team to a 5th straight CIS title.  Victoria got a great effort from point man, Marcus Tibbs, who scored 27 points and added 9 assists, while Chris McLaughlin scored 14 plus grabbing 10 rebounds, and Reiner Theil went 4/5 from 3 point range for 16 points.

The Vikes head to a 3rd place game on  Sunday at 12:00 noon Eastern vs  the hosts, Ryerson Rams, while Carleton has Ottawa in the 3:00 pm Final.  Box Score

 

Championship Semifinal # 2:   Ottawa  84  Ryerson 75  –   In an exciting and see-

Ottawa heads to another championship game with Carleton.

Ottawa heads to another championship game with Carleton.

saw affair in a jammed Mattamy Centre, the Gee-Gees  make a strong 2nd half comeback for a berth in the Championship Final. It was 45-36 Rams at the half, but the Ponies erupted for 48 in the 2nd as Ryerson went cold. A 25-12 3rd quarter set the Rams back on their heels, and the Gee-Gees finsihed strong after Ryerson made a late run.

It was a strong game from Vikas Gill with 18 points / 5 rebs, and a big 2nd half for CIS MVP, Johnny Berhanemeskel ( 20 points/ 4 rebs/ 3 assts)  which put Ottawa over the top. The Gee-Gees hit 22/37 free throws to 11/15 for the Rams, and that spelled the eventual difference in this one. Adika Peter-McNeilly was tops for Ryerson with 17 points, and Jordan Gauthier scored 14.  Ryerson’s all-star guard  Jahmal Jones (2 pts)  could not get anything going, and that hurt the Rams’ attack.  So it’s 3rd/4th for the home team, and another All-Ottawa fInal, as the Gee-Gees get a crack at ending Carleton’s stranglehold on the Cup.   Box Score

 

Dadrian Collins  (27 points) leads Saskatchewan to a 5th place win over Windsor.

Dadrian Collins (29 points) leads Saskatchewan to a 5th place win over Windsor.

5th-place game –  Saskatchewan 99  Windsor 94 –  Putting a tough 1st round loss behind them,  Saskatchewan  got the flow going on offense, and, led by 29 points from Dadrian Collins they won their 2nd straight in the 5th place game victory over the Windsor Lancers.  A nice 32 point explosion in the 2nd quarter staked the Huskies to a 46-34 edge at the  break, which they surrendered to a furious 34 point Windsor response in the 3rd.  Free throws were big in the win, as the Dogs hit 23/29 vs 17/25 for the Lancers.  Ben Baker finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists in his final game for the U of S. The Lancers were paced by 21 from Khalid Abdel-Gabar and 18 plus 10 rebounds by Rotimi Osuntola.  Box Score

 

Sunday, March 15 – the 3rd Place game  goes at 11:30 and the Championship Final at 3 pm  (Eastern time) both are on TV  – Sportsnet 360 & ONE / and on streaming video, which is pay per view ?   www.CIS-SIC.tv   (So why not watch TV ?)

 

 

In the Friday, March 13 – Consolation Semis

Big 32 point game for Evan Ostertag as the Huskies move on to the Consolation final.

Big 32 point game for Evan Ostertag as the Huskies move on to the Consolation final.              photo – U of S Athletics

 game 5 – Saskatchewan 90 Dalhousie  79  –  Evan Ostertag hit for 32 points. 4 assts/ 4 steals, leading the Dogs, who shot 52% from the floor, and doubled Dal 49-25 on the boards.  dadrian Collins matched Ostertag’s 5/11 from 3 pt range, as he scored 21 for the Huskies.    Sven Stammberger was magic for Dalhousie, as the 2nd year post was 13/16, 5/6 from 3, and 34 points. U of S plays Windsor on Saturday ‘s  Consolation Final for 5th place.   Box Score

 game 6 –  Windsor  91  Bishop’s  80  –  Both teams were near 50% from the floor, as offense seemed more fun at this stage!  6 Lancers in double figures, with Alex Campbell and Rotini Osuntola hitting 13 each. Bishop’s had a 29 point/ 8 rebound effort from big Mike Andrews.  Box Score 

 

Overtime –

  •   Coach Roy Rana, Ryerson Rams, on his feelings about his team reaching the Nationals as the host. “ For myself, I have a vested interest in the tournament just as much as I have vested interest in our team performing. I want to see this be a real success for Toronto, it’s something I take great pride in. It’s a little taxing but I’m going to work hard on both ends. I’m not complaining. “  “This has been a very, very special season for this team. It’s a special, incredible group of young men that have matured nicely and I loved every minute of it. I’m glad that the vision I had, the possibilities, it’s finally come together.” From a story in North Pole Hoops by Ray Bala.
  •   Saskatchewan Coach, Barry Rawlyk, understandably disappointed after Thursday’s 1st round loss to Carleton,  “It’s very disappointing because I don’t think we put our best foot forward,” said Rawlyk. “Carleton’s a very strong team  … we didn’t do ourselves any favours.  Now we’ve got to reload and get prepared to play (Friday in the Consolation semi) and hopefully we play a little better.”  (Editor’s note … the Huskies did just taht with 2 wins and a 5th place finish … good season for Coach Rawlyk and his team).

 

 

CIS Tourney – 1/4 Final Previews

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Carleton and Ottawa Look Like Odds-on Favourites

 

Thursday, March 12 – 
11 am  – game 1-   # 1 Carleton Ravens  vs # 8 Saskatchewan Huskies –

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The Ravens are, as has been the case for over 12 seasons, the team to beat.  They’ve won the CIS title for the past 4 years, and won 10 with Coach Smart since their 2003 win.  Carleton limits opponents to 56 ppg against, while scoring 91 ppg themselves.  Death !

They have the Scrubb brothers, Thomas, a 6-6 whirlwind, who has become their most

Huskies Ben Baker- Canada West Defensive Player of the Year

Huskies Ben Baker– Canada West Defensive Player of the Year

consistent offensive threat, and Philip, the 6-3 guard, who controls a fast paced attack, and, when on, can be a deadly outside shooter. Guard Connor Wood is a dangerous shooter as well, helping CU hit 50% from the floor and 46% from 3 point range, and they are +14 on their rebound margin.  This 26-2 team is battle – ready and more than prepared to take a very good run at their 5th straight McGee Trophy.

Saskatchewan is in tough here, to put it mildly.  The Huskies have size, with 6-6 Matt Forbes, 6-8 Conner Burns, and the multi-talented team catalyst, 6-4 Ben Baker at guard.  But they give up 20 points more per game than the Ravens, while scoring 8 points less. They rebound well as a team, but not like Carleton. Their pace can give them open court baskets in stretches, but, again, not nearly as relentless as the ‘Birds’. If their 3 point shooters, like Dadrian Collins, Evan Osterberg,  Baker, and Trevor Severinski can get ridiculously hot, maybe … but, they still suffer 7-8 more turnovers per game, and, clearly, Carleton are a runaway favourite.

 

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1 pm –   game 2 –  # 4 Victoria Vikes vs. # 5 Dalhousie Tigers –  Two League champions square off in this one, with the Vikes having more experience in this event by far, having played in the last 2 Nationals.  UVic were 23-8 vs CIS teams this season , while Dalhousie were 13-14.  The Vikes are a  notably stingy defensive team, giving up just over 70 ppg, which is 7 less than Dal.

Marcus Tibbs,  point guard for Victoria.

Marcus Tibbs, point guard for Victoria.

This game features Vic’s Canada West player of the year, Chris McLaughlin, who, at 6-10, scores 19.8 ppg / 10 rebounds; Dalhousie has ridden their 1st team AUS all-star, Kashrell Lawrence, who averaged 23 ppg / 12 rebounds  in the Tigers’ 3 game odyssey in winning the Atlantic title.  The point guard match-up will be fun to watch, with Victoria’s Marcus Tibbs  more of a scorer (17 ppg / 5 assists), and Dal’s Richie Kanza Mata  a set-up man (7 assists, 9 ppg), with both very adept at turning the other team over on the defensive end.

The supporting cast for UVic has ace defender, 6-4, Reiner Theil, who can also knock down the trey, and 6-6 Mack Roth, who has been a more prominent factor in recent games. Dalhousie has  strong  rebounding from Sven Stammberger (5.2 rebs/ 9 ppg) and Devon Stedman (5.2 rebs/ 8 ppg), and a smooth 2-way guard in James Reid (13.5 ppg / 2.5 assts/ 2 steals).

Unless they can control the inside presence of McLaughlin, and manage to score against the rugged UVic D, the Tigers playoff magic may disappear quickly.

 

Ryerson's Aaron Best will be a floor leader for the Rams.

Ryerson’s Aaron Best will be a floor leader for the Rams vs Windsor.

6 pm – game 3 –  # 7 Ryerson vs. # 2 Windsor –  Let’s try to put aside the seeding arguments, and, if you’re Ryerson, be very happy that you have home court against a potent Windsor team in the 1st round.  The Rams bounced the Lancers 98-78 in their league game on this Mattamy Centre court in November, and they will try and get momentum back after 2 losses (Carleton and Ottawa) in the OUA Final 4. Prior to last weekend the Rams had won 14 straight.

Windsor beat ‘mighty Carleton’ in the OUA regular season, and Ottawa in the Final 4, so they are ‘big game treacherous’, with a 24-6 CIS record, led by guards, Rotimi Osuntola Jr. (20 ppg/ 11.5 rebs ) and  Mitch Farrell (13 ppg )  This should be a fast-paced, high scoring affair, with the Lancers averaging 87 ppg and Ryerson over 89 ppg. The Rams shoot it better from 3 pt range (38% to 33%), and are + 12 in rebounds vs  + 7 for Windsor.

Ryerson has 4 players in double figure scoring, led by veteran guards, Jahmal Jones  (17 ppg/5.5 assts/ 4.3 rebs) , and Aaron Best (15 ppg/ 5.5 rebs/ 46% from 3).  They get strong rebounding through their line-up, with 6-9 Kadeem Green averaging 7 rpg plus 12 ppg on 58% FG shooting.  It won’t be a surprise or an upset if Ryerson beats the # 2 seed;  it might, however, be quite traumatic for the home folks if Windsor were to come up big, yet again.

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6-11 Majid Naji will try and control the paint for Bishop’s vs Ottawa.

 

8 pm – game 4 –  # 6 Bishop’s vs. # 3 Ottawa – In the last Q-final of the night, we may see ‘Ponies running wild in the streets’ .  The Gaiters can play defense (65.5 ppg against), but not necessarily vs ‘Johnny B’  and his ‘back-up singers’.  Bishops was just 10-15 vs CIS teams, and lost 80-66 to Ottawa early in the season. The Gee-Gees score  94.5 ppg and surrender only 69 ppg, and boast a 29-2 overall record.

Ottawa has J. Berhanemeskel , the OUA’s 5th year MVP,  at 23 ppg/ 56% FG/ 45% from 3/ 4.5 assts,  and wing man Caleb Agada (16 ppg/ 8 rebs), plus shooting and floor leadership from Mike L’Africain (46% from 3/ 12 ppg/ 5 assts).  They have 6 players 40% or better from beyond the arc, and are 51% from the floor as a team.

Bishop’s counters with far more conservative numbers … with a 69 ppg scoring average, the Gaiters shoot only 39% from the floor, and 28% from 3 pt range. They do have some solid veterans, and lots of size – Kyle Desmarais is a 5th year transfer guard (Concordia) (14.5 ppg / 3 assts ), Mike Andrews, a 6-10 forward (12 ppg /5.5 rebs.) , Majid Naji, a 6-11 post ( 10 ppg/ 8 rebs) , and Matt McLean, a 6-9 fwd ( 7 ppg / 6.3 rebs).

The Gaiters have a way of hanging in against tough opponents, but it’s doubtful they have the fire-power to get past as explosive a unit as Ottawa, who come at you with so many weapons.

 

Overtime –

  •   Correction … Waterloo has 1 CIS title (1975), and the other is Waterloo-Lutheran (1968) , which became Wilfred Laurier.  Our local Kitchener-Waterloo historian, Martin Timmerman, sets us straight !  Go to Martin’s cishoops.ca for stats, records, draws, results, team info, and much more .
  •   Saskatchewan Coach Barry Rawlyk, obviously disappointed, but understanding of the draw seeding for the Nationals, “Anyway you try and dice it and slice it, there’s going to be a tough first-round game at nationals,” said Rawlyk, adding there are some artificial rules in place that put conference champions in certain spots.  (The 4 League champs cannot be ranked lower than 6th.  So 7 is Ryerson, and 8 is Saskatchewan.)  From Darren Zary in the Star-Phoenix.

    John Traboulsi, Dalhousie

    John Traboulsi, Dalhousie

  • There are 2 Calgary high school grads playing for the Atlantic champions, the Dalhousie Tigers. John Traboulsi, a 4th year, 6-3  guard, played at Western Canada HS in Calgary for Coach Steve Wiebe. He is averaging about 10 minutes /game in the late season and playoffs.  Ross Crichton , a 6-7 rookie from E. Manning HS in Calgary, may be on the travel roster, but is unlikely to get any floor time at the Nationals.

 

 

  • Just in case we’re confused about the ‘pecking order’ in the Tournament, the
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    Dave Smart, Carleton

    Ravens’ Coach Dave Smart fills us in, “We’ve got a long way to go. It’s going to be tough. The team with the best record in the country, Ottawa, just came off a disappointing loss at home at the OUA Final Four, so they’re highly motivated. The second or third best team in the country is playing at home this week, so they’re going to be highly motivated as well. For us, we’ve got to keep going in the same direction we’ve been going and play the games. “ CIS press release.

Canada West Final 4 – Preview

 

The Final 4 coaches - Top left, Adam Friesen, UFV, right, UVic's Craig Beaucamp, bottom left UBC's Kevin Hanson, right Saskatchewan's Barry Rawlyk.

The Final 4 coaches – Top left, Adam Friesen, UFV, right, UVic’s Craig Beaucamp, bottom left UBC’s Kevin Hanson, right Saskatchewan’s Barry Rawlyk.

 

Top 4 Seeds Contest Canada West Championship in Saskatoon –

All four top seeds advanced to the Canada West Final 4 this past weekend, some with more drama than others;  UNBC lost 2 straight , but handled themselves very well in a tough match-up against the T-Birds.  Thompson Rivers ‘scared the chicken soup’ out of the # 1 Saskatchewan Huskies, before the ‘Dogs prevailed late in the 3rd game.  The other two series showed more domination by the home team, as both UVic (vs Alberta) and UFV (against Calgary) demonstrated a decided edge in 2 game sweeps.

The defending champs, Alberta, are out, but all four of the qualifiers have plenty of recent experience in this Tournament finale. The ‘Birds have 2 titles in the past 5 seasons, and Saskatchewan 1, while Fraser Valley has been knocking on the door the past 3 seasons, and UVic the last 2.  No advantage there, except the obvious ‘home court / home pressure’ for the Huskies.

Now, let’s take a quick look at several key players on each team, and the team statistics  –

Canada West Final 4 – Facts and Figures – at U. Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

Semi-Finals, Friday, March 6 –

UFV's Jasper Moedt, and the Vikes' Chris McLaughlin will have a critical match-up in the 1st  Semi-final

UFV’s Jasper Moedt, and the Vikes’ Chris McLaughlin will have a critical match-up in the 1st Semi-final on Friday.

 

# 3 seed – Victoria Vikes  vs # 2 seed – Fraser Valley Cascades   6 pm Central

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The Vikes – Cascades Match-up –

  • Victoria is 6-0 against Fraser Valley in the last 3 seasons, the last time was in pre-season play in October 2014 at Victoria.
  • The Vikes have played in the last 2 Canada West Finals, and gone on to the CIS Nationals. UFV played in Nationals in both 2012 and 2013.
  • Both teams are strong defensively, and both are among the best rebounding units in Canada West.
  • UVic has been the more consistent shooting team, but UVF has 6 players averaging double figures.
  • UVic’s McLaughlin, the CW Most Outstanding Player, has been dominant, but can he do that against Jasper Moedt ? 6-10 vs 6-7 ….
  • Is Marcus Tibb’s quickness negated by the defense of UFV’s Dom Brooks?

    Nate Brown can tip the scales in UFV's favour.

    Nate Brown can tip the scales in UFV’s favour.

  • Is Reiner Theil the defensive stopper that the Vikes need against Kevon Parchment?  Nate Brown? Maybe Mack Roth has the size / quickness? ‘Big Nate’ has both, and is tough to handle.
  • Who’s hot from outside ? Manny Dulay or Brooks for UFV ?  Tibbs or Theil for UVic?  Maybe the X-factor is the ‘Cades’ Vijay Dhillon!  The 2nd yr. guard from Richmond, B.C., transferred from Victoria to Fraser Valley, and he may be hitting his stride just in time for a key playoff role.
  • This should be the lower scoring Semi-Final, and it really is too hard to pick.

 

# 4 seed – UBC Thunderbirds  vs  # 1 seed – Saskatchewan Huskies 8 pm  “

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The Huskies – Thunderbirds  Match-up –

  • UBC has won 7 straight vs U of S, including a sweep in League play in Vancouver in November.
  • The T-Birds missed out on the Final 4  last season, while the Huskies beat UFV for 3rd, and went to Nationals.
  • This game will be high scoring, we would guess.  Lots of foul shooting. Physical. The paint will not be for the faint of heart ….
  • Saskatchewan has been better from 3 pt. range – Collins, Trevor Severinski, Evan Ostertag, Mike Scott.  UBC has Nixon,  and Conor Morgan, bur Andrew McGuinness isn’t shooting as many ….
  • UBC’s Tommy Nixon is the key to their fortunes – if he gets it rolling, gets it in the paint, and gets to the line, the T’Birds offense will fly high. He opens it up for everyone else.

    5th year post, Tonner Jackson, has been solid for the 'Birds.

    5th year post, Tonner Jackson, has been solid for the ‘Birds.

  • Saskatchewan will count on winning the rebound battle – Ben Baker, Connor Burns, Dadrian Collins, Matt Forbes, and crew need to beat UBC’s Nixon, Morgan, David Wagner, Tonner Jackson, and maybe even Brylle Kamen.
  •  Big test for UBC’s Jordan Jensen-Whyte; how will he respond to the ‘all-the-chips-on-the-table’ pressure against the Huskies’ import gunslinger, Scott.
  • Both teams in the 80s … 90s ?  Again, it’s too hard to pick, although many insiders (certainly not lowly outside observers like us) are leaning towards the Thunderbirds.

 

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  • For those basketball fans in the Calgary area, make sure you’re at the Fighting Tacos 15th Annual NCAA March Madness Party, in support of the Mt. Royal Cougars Team. The Tacos, a notable aggregation of ‘former greats‘ toil in the Calgary Sr. Men’s League. The team has 3 former Cougars, 2 former Dinos, a Huskie and even a Mount Allison guy!  There’s usually a great turn-out, and a lot of fun watching / betting games, eating, drinking, and visiting. All the basics ! Tickets at the door – Richmond Pub – 3919- Richmond Rd. SW  … Come as early as 11 am … evening festivities begin around 4 pm.
  • UNBC copy  Reflections from UNBC Coach, Todd Jordan, a few days after his T’Wolves were eliminated from the play-offs in 2 straight at UBC … “Looking at the season as a whole, the program took a pretty big step moving forward. It was the most successful season to date (in the CIS) and to make the playoffs and a quarterfinal is a pretty big accomplishment. UBC’s program, they were hot coming down the stretch. They have some very talented athletes and it was a good measuring stick for us. We gave them a good run and at the same time, going into War Memorial Gym, it was tough going in on their own turf. But we got the playoff experience.”

Vikes’ Theil is Rock-Steady 

 

Under the watchful eye of Coach Craig Beaucamp,  Reiner Theil leads at the defensive end for the Vikes.                           Photo - UVic Athletics

Under the watchful eye of Coach Craig Beaucamp, Reiner Theil leads at the defensive end for the Vikes.                                                                                                                      Photo – UVic Athletics

Vike’s Defensive Stopper is a Special Player

By now Canada West Basketball observers are well aware that Victoria Coach Craig Beaucamp has a bit of a passion for team defense.  So, in the summer of 2011, when  grade 12 grad, Reiner Theil, came over to the Island for an informal visit, Beaucamp was excited at the prospect of landing a high school star who looked like he knew how to ‘D-up’.

Reiner’s Vancouver College team had reached the final of the B.C. 3 A Provincials that Spring of his senior year, where he was chosen a 1st team all-star (losing to R.C. Palmer, with MVP, Vijay Dhillon).  Reiner was interested in a Business program, and had been looking at several other schools, mostly in the East, but was impressed with UVic’s Co-op degree offering, and with the chance to be close to his Vancouver home.

“UVic seemed like the place to be … close, with a strong, successful  basketball tradition,” says Theil. “My parents get over on the ferry for all our home games, so it’s nice for me and them”, says the 4th year wing man.  As for Coach Beaucamp, he is at least Theil’s 2nd biggest fan, and gushes with praise for the 6-4 stopper,  “ Reiner is a special talent.  He leads by example, and can always be relied upon to do the tough tasks.  He guards the opponents’ top scorers, and is really our defensive mainstay, as well as a diligent rebounder.”  Statistics would back up the coach – Theil averages 32 minutes a game, 6.2 rebounds, and most often limits another team’s top offensive threat.

Not a natural scorer himself, Theil has worked on that part of his game, and is shooting

photo - UVic Athletics

photo – UVic Athletics

41% from 3 point range, hitting clutch shots, and averaging 9 ppg.  He seems to save his best for the big games, and for Reiner, any games at UBC get him extra motivated.  “I was happy with the series against the T-Birds in November”, he says, “I managed to hit some big shots, and we won both games on their floor.”  He scored 33 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in those 2 games, on a floor where, he admits, “I feel pretty comfortable, because I’ve played there way back through high school”.

After having been a key figure on the Victoria teams which have played in the last 2 CIS Nationals, Theil is keen on getting back there again. “We’ve had lots of ups and downs with so many new faces on this year’s team.  We had a very tough weekend against Winnipeg, but we really made some big gains as a team.”  Theil relishes his role as a veteran leader for the Vikes, but says, “I’m really not the rah-rah guy … I try to let my actions speak for me.”  His actions, as their acknowledged defensive floor leader,  play a large part in UVic’s annual defensive prowess –  61 points against last season, easily the best in Canada West, the Vikes are again #1 defensively this year, and have been 1 or 2 for much of Beaucamp’s tenure.

Reiner Theil is also an Academic All-Canadian student athlete, and a bit of a ‘throw-back’ kind of guy at that. He has usually carried a full load of classes, and is on course to complete his Business degree at the end of the summer this year. That’s 4 years, when many others are taking 3 classes a term, and needing 5 or 6 years to complete their studies. “ I have a year of eligibility left after this season, and I may take a Master’s program or a minor in something else. I’m just not sure right now what will happen next Fall”,  says the 22 year old Theil.

The UVic co-op program has given him a chance to do some career exploration. “I worked with a local soccer club in my most recent co-op term. It’s interesting to be able to check out different types of work”, he says.  Whatever he may choose to pursue, you can be assured he will give it the same dedicated effort he has given for all his time with the Vikes, on and off the court.

“Our team is really coming on, we feel, and, with each game coming up being a big game for us, we want to compete to be the best in Canada West”,  Theil exclaims.  The UVic legacy is in good hands with Reiner Theil, who may be somewhat of an unsung hero, but whose skills and leadership are greatly appreciated  by his coaches  his teammates, and his many fans.

 

New Rankings Keep OUA Schools On Top

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There’s no moving the 5 OUA schools off their perch at the top of the CIS rankings, as Windsor moves back up to 5 after a brief burp the previous week.  UVic drops a spot with their 1 loss to Winnipeg, while Calgary loses favour in a hurry, as they are beaten by un-ranked Lethbridge.

Fraser Valley survives a scare at MacEwan and are steady at #7, with Saskatchewan up 1 spot at #8 with their 2 wins over Regina. UNB are bumped up to #9, and we still have no Quebec team in the Top 10, or even in the ‘also – mentioned ‘ category.