Cougars Aiming Higher


Change for MRU  – hunting a play-off berth

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

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

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

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

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

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

“This is the Year”, vows Lewis

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

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

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

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

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



Overtime –

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

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

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

Friday games – 

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

All games on Canada West TV

Winnipeg at Lakehead – on OUA TV

UBC-O at Toronto

UNBC at Mt. Royal

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

Big 2nd Half Leads to Dinos Road Win


Calgary defense creates havoc in the Lethbridge back-court


 #3 Calgary 95  at Lethbridge 71 –  This is an odd one from the outset, with neither team looking sharp in the opening 10 minutes.  A messy ball-handling effort, especially by Lethbridge (22 turnovers), as they face relentless  Calgary pressure.  After the 10-7 cold start, the Dinos (4-1) wind up 10/20 from 3 pt range, and 46% from the floor to only 37% for UL (4-3) . With just 1 point at the half, Thomas Cooper comes through with 18 in the 2nd to pace the  57 point, 2nd half outburst.      Dinos – Thomas Cooper 19 pts/ 5 rebs/ 4 asst/ 3 steals, Lars Schleuter 16 pts/ 4 of 6 from 3, Mambi Diawara 15 pts/ 8 rebs.  Pronghorns –  Elliott Sentance 21 pts/ 10 rebs,,  Dejon Burdeaux 7 pts/ 9 rebs/ 8 asst/ 4 steals      Box Score 

Ryan Cunningham is hot for the Cougars.

Ryan Cunningham is hot for the Cougars.

at Mt. Royal 90  MacEwan  66 –  Another strong offensive effort from the Cougars, who are 53.7% from the floor, including 9/18 from 3 point range. 4 MRU players in double figures, with a career night for Ryan Cunningham with 22 points.   Mt. Royal now 4-1 on the season, while Mac slips to 2-5.     Cougars –  Cunningham 22 pts/ 4 rebs, Josh Ross 12 pts/ 10 rebs/ 6 asst, Glen Yang 15 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 asst   Griffins – Thadius Galvez  21 pts/ 3 rebs,  Adonis Monfort-Palomino 10 pts.  Box Score  

Winnipeg  93  Brandon 83 – The Bobcats (2-5) trail by as many as 24 points earlier on as Winnipeg start a smaller, quick line-up . BU come back to within 5, but , with 5 players in double figures, the Wesmen (5-2) hold on in the final minutes . Wesmen – Narcisse Ambanza 23 pts/ 6 rebs/ 4 asst,  Denzel Lynch-Blair 19 pts/ 6 rebs, Sean Tarver  18 pts/ 6 rebs     Bobcats – Earl Thompson Jr.  28 pts/ 10 rebs, Tyvon Cooper, 27 points/ 4 rebs/ 8 asst   Box Score


The Eccentric Canada West Schedule (Part 3)

  • Editor’s note –  Yes, we do carry on about this schedule, but it such an obvious target.  We understand that the League office is receiving unsolicited alternate scheduling ideas for future seasons.  What a surprise!

Following are the number of home and away games for Canada West teams this season. A bit of a ‘mish-mash’, you’ll notice …

Alberta – 10-10     Brandon 11-9, Calgary 11-9,  UFV 11-9,  Lethbridge 10-10, Mac 9-11, Manitoba 9-11, MRU 10-10,  UBC-Okanagan  10-10, Regina 10-10, Saskatchewan 10-10, TRU  10-10, Trinity  9-11, UBC 11-9, UNBC 10-10, UVic 9-11, Winnipeg 10-10

No, this is not equitable, but some of these differences could be fixed with a little more home and home activity. Here … UBC and Trinity Western play one at War Memorial and the next at Langley.  Shazam!  They’re both 10 home and 10 away.  And … Calgary does the same with MacEwan, evening out both to 10-10. Manitoba and Brandon should play a home and home , and they both go to 10-10. Now for the Vikes and the Cascades … home and home makes them even at 10-10.

You’re welcome ….  Oh, is that whining I hear about how ‘They owe us from last season?”  Let’s get past that, especially if we want a workable schedule.  Besides, the home and home arrangement is far better from the fan’s perspective.  The doubleheader is not a good format; we know that travel costs pretty well favours these, but the more we can do home and homes, the better for marketing the product.  It builds rivalries, and makes it more interesting for everyone  involved.

We can’t get everyone into home and home games and still maintain 10-10 for everyone with this 17 team League alignment.  Regina and Saskatchewan should definitely play one at each other’s gym every year, but who else can they combine with?  Brandon, maybe.  Yes, Brandon has 4 home and homes, and Sask and Regina 2 each.


Wednesday / Thursday scores from the East –

#6 McMaster 92  Guelph 77,   Laurier  90  Western Ont. 84   OT,  St. FX  1-2  Cape Breton 91    …      #9  McGill 96 Concordia 56,  #7 Dalhousie 75 at Acadia 71