New RPI Formula for Canada West

 

 

What Impact From RPI, Schedule Changes ?

Canada West recently announced the 2017-18 playing schedule, which still has 17 schools each playing a different slate of games.  This unequal 20 game set-up has schools playing a pair of contests with 4 ‘traditional rivals’ each year, but  they change 6 teams on alternate years.

So, for example,  Saskatchewan, who have Alberta, Calgary Regina, and Brandon as ‘rivals’  will reverse home and way with those schools this coming season;  the Huskies played Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, UBC, Lethbridge, Mt. Royal, and UNBC in 2016-17, but will meet the other 6 ‘non-rival’ schools … Manitoba, Thompson Rivers, Victoria, MacEwan, UBC-O, and Trinity Western in the 2017-18 schedule.

Conor Morgan and his T-Birds ‘mates will be gunning for another big winning year, and hoping for a higher seeding this time around.                    photo – UBC Athletics

Each school has different rivals, and a different slate of 6 ‘non-rivals’, and, in another twist of scheduling, each school determines if they will play any ‘home and home series’.  Example – Calgary has all three of Alberta, Mt. Royal, and Lethbridge home and away.  Saskatchewan,  Regina, TRU, UBC-O, and UNBC have none.  Other schools have 1 or 2 ‘home and homes’ with geographically close rivals.  All this leads to some differences in number of home and away games for some teams.

With all that, the League governors chose to continue using an adjusted RPI index to ‘even -up’ the standings between ‘unequally scheduled’ teams.  Last year, as fans might remember, this led to the juggling of final seeding spots for play-offs, putting 19-1 UBC in the 4th seed behind 16-4 Calgary #1, 14-6 Saskatchewan #2, and 14-6 Alberta #3.

The effect of these RPI results prompted schools to ask for a modification in those statistical manouvres.  Canada West now has a new RPI formula  –

The formula used in 2016-17 was as follows:

RPI = 25% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.2 away win + 0.8 home win, 50% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The new formula for 2017-18, with changes in bold, is as follows:

RPI = 35% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.1 away win + 0.9 home win, 40% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The League is hoping that this will bend the final standings a little less, and keep teams with a higher winning percentage in higher seeding spots.  We still, however, have the unequal schedule.  How unequal is it?

Alberta, defending Canada West champs, have Mamadou Gueye leading a solid corps of returnees. photo –                  Bears Athletics

Well, we have done a somewhat subjective analysis of each team’s schedule, and we’ve assigned points based on a) Last year’s finish, b) team losses from graduation or other (as announced) c) recruiting news as we’ve followed it.  We give UBC a 16, Calgary and Alberta both at 14, Lethbridge and Saskatchewan are 12, Manitoba, UVic, Winnipeg are 10, with Brandon, Regina and UFV 9. TRU is 7, MRU 6, MacEwan 6, UNBC 5, and TWU and UBC-O  are both at 4 in this ranking scale. Certainly subjective, but it can generate some ‘informed guesses’ for what lies ahead in the coming year.

Who has the ‘toughest’ schedule?  Who might have the ‘easiest’ … we add up the teams’ opponents’ ranking scores, and here’s what we have, with toughest at the top, and ‘easier’ at the bottom –

The Okanagan Heat, who were 2-18 last season, hardly need this rugged path … at UVic, UFV, UNBC (the only non-playoff squad from 2016-17), Calgary, Winnipeg.  Home to TRU, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and UBC !  Ouch!

Trinity Western were 3-17, but it’s all uphill with the likes of the Bears, UVic, UBC, Calgary, and Saskatchewan on their schedule as well.  They play just 2 non-play-off teams from last year.

Interestingly, UBC has what looks like one of the ‘lighter’ schedules once again.

If we look at Thompson Rivers, by contrast, we see the ‘Pack facing only Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, and Victoria from last year’s top seeds. The Orange play all 5 of last season’s non-playoff teams.  Fraser Valley gets 4 of those 5 who missed the 2016-17 playoffs.

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Overtime – 

  •  The play-off schedule has changed for this coming season, with CW deciding to scrap the Final 4 Tournament in favour of a single game for the championship. The first round has the top four seeds with  byes, and the next eight playing single-elimination games (12 @ 5, 11 @ 6, 10 @ 7, and 9 @ 8) . Feb 8 -11.  Best of 3 quarter-finals  are   February 15-18, and the Semis (best-of-three) February 22-25.  The Canada West Final is March 2 or 3.  ( CW may play a 3rd place game, if it is necessary for wildcard chances at U-Sport Nationals (Halifax, March 8-11).

 

  • Alberta Golden Bears have reportedly added Montreal native, Nolan Woodward, a 6-4, 220 lb wing man, who will enter his 4th year after stops at NCAA Div 2 schools, Gannon University  (Pennsylvania), and American International U. (Massachusetts) .

 

  • Josh Wolfram, former TRU Wolf Pack Canada West all-star, moves from Sweden to the Czech Republic in signing a contract with Sluneta – Usti Nad Labem (USTI)  for his 2nd pro experience in Europe.  More details in this story from TRU Athletics.

 

 

 

 

Hanson and Vanhooren Lead FISU Team

 

UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson, will be the head man for the FISU Games team this summer.
(PHOTO: Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography)

Canada West Coaches Guide Universiade Squad

The two longest- tenured Canada West head coaches (17 years each) will team-up to lead this summer’s Canadian team to compete in the FISU Games in Taipei, Taiwan from August 19-30.  The team’s Head Coach will be Kevin Hanson, UBC, and Assistant coaches are Dan Vanhooren, U. Calgary, along with Jacques Paiment Jr., Laval U. (Quebec City).

The Universiade  is staged every two years , and consists of 14 compulsory sports and up to 3 optional sports chosen by the host country.  After a Silver medal in Men’s Basketball in 2011, Canada has been 4th in both 2013 and 2015, qualifying for the medal round in each of these last 3 Universiades.

Coach Hanson will be coaching his 4th FISU Games team, having won a bronze in 2003, fifth-place  in 2005 and that silver with the 2011 squad.  “It’s a real honor to be able to represent Canada at the FISU games. It’s absolutely an incredible experience and a life-long memory for the players and the coaching staff”, says the T-Birds mentor.  This is Coach Vanhooren’s 1st assignment for a Canada team, and he says, “ … to be part of a games that size is a wonderful experience and any time you get a chance to represent your country, it’s something you have to do. I’m looking forward it.”

 

‘Local Heroes’  Highlight Recent Signings

Thompson Rivers –  Coach Scott Clark has inked 3 B.C. high school stand-outs for the

Tyus De Vries and father, Greg.    photo- Nelson Star

coming season, and one name stands out as being very familiar to long-time Canada West followers.  Tyus De Vries is a 6’4” shooting guard from Sardis Sr. Secondary (Chilliwack, BC), and the son of Greg De Vries, who won 2 CIS Nationals with the Alberta Golden Bears (1991-96).

With his Dad coaching him from youth basketball through to his 30 ppg senior year at Sardis, Tyus learned from a 2-time CIS All-star, and he has skills beyond his scoring.  Dad says, “Tyus is taller and stronger than I was at his age … he is a better rebounder … he played against tougher competition than I had (at L.V. Rogers, Nelson, BC).

Coincidentally, Coach Clark has also signed 6-8 Jon Steele (GW Graham Sec, Chilliwack), who was a teammate of De Vries’ withe the Trans-Canada Club team.  “He is quite a mobile kid, good frame on him with good skills and play with his back to the basket,” says Clark, who also cautions, of course, that , “ All of those things need to be refined, but he has the potential of being a good player.”

The Wolf Pack also welcome their previously announced local star, Devin Halcrow (Nor-Kam Sr Sec, Kamloops) , who at 6-7 + , looks like a mobile big man with speed and 3-4 skills.  When Coach Clark calls him “ … a good basketball player”,  it means the veteran mentor is excited about Halcrow’s future with the Pack!

Update –  TRU has also added a ‘pass-first point guard’ in Nolan Willett, who, although a Canadian citizen, played his high school (Junipero Serra HS, San Juan Capistrano, CA)  and 1 college year ( Hancock Coll., Santa Maria, CA)  in the U.S.  After having checked out several othe U-Sports and Canada West schools, the 6-1 Willett was most impressed with TRU, the city, and futire Wolf Pack team members.  Says Coach Clark,  “He wants to get his teammates involved. He has played a high level—both in high school and the junior college. His background is good.”

 

Matt (12) and Nick Bernhard (14) are the latest local high school stars to sign with the Regina Cougars.

Regina –  The 6-6 Bernhard brothers, Nick and Matt, (LeBoldus HS, Regina) have been a big part of the Golden Suns’ 4 City and 3 Provincial championships.  Their all-round games have UR Cougars’ Coach, Steve Burrows, “ … excited about their potential.”   Burrows likes their veratility, with both scoring 15+ ppg and being consistent rebounders. Nick and Matt join 4 other Le Boldus grads who are on the current Cougars roster … Benjamin and Samuel Hillis, Carter Millar, and Brayden Kuski.

Trinity Western –  The Spartans sign 6-4 Abbotsford, BC product, Levi Leyenhorst (Credo Christian HS) ,  who was a B.C. ‘A’ Tournament all-star the past 2 seasons.  Coach Aaron Muhic also lands a couple of experienced transfers;  Ethan DeSilva is a multi-talented ‘buzz-saw’ guard, who played for 2 seasons at Briercrest, where he posted 7.4 assts/game, which was 2nd in the whole CCAA.  The Calgary (W. Aberhart HS) product can score in the double digits and is a noted ball-hawk.

Steve Sesink, at 6-8, 240 lb, has an obvious appeal, but will have to get back into playing mode following an 8 year hiatus from competition, after he had 1 season at King’s Univ., Edmonton. Coach Muhic has confidence, however, as he suggests “ “Steve will be a joy to coach and will provide toughness, hustle and rebounding.”

More signings – 

Ben Kornelson is a key transfer at a forward spot for the Heat.      photo – Briercrest Athletics

UBC-Okanagan –  Another 2 year star transferring from Briercrest is 6-7 Ben Kornelson, who returns to the Okanagan, where he lived in Armstrong , BC, and played with the Heat JR Program while in high school.  Kornelson was the team MVP at Briercrest this past season.  Coach Peter Guarasci had previously announced 6-10 Owen Keyes (Kelowna Sec.) and 6-4 Jake Stokker from Penticton Sr. Sec.

UNBC – Coach Todd Jordan added a seaoned BC Colleges transfer in 6-6 Jesse Mushiana, a 4th year coming from 2 seaons at Langara College and one at Capilano.  The self-described “big-bodied’ player is a welcome addition to the T-Wolves, who are looking for added height/size to win more battles on the inside this coming season.

Winnipeg –  Wesmen signee, Don Dayrit, is a proven scorer as a 6-0 guard at Sisler HS (Winnipeg), and was the MVP as his team won the 2016 Wesmen Classic Tournament.  He was ranked as one of top 5 high school grads in Manitoba this year.

 

These 7 Teams Look to Move Up in Canada West

 

 

Brandon Tull will be a senior leader for the Regina Cougars.      photo – Arthur Ward

 Regina – The Cougars go 9-11 and are good at their best, but are troubled by injuries in the 2nd semester.  Coach Steve Burrows will enter his 5th year at the helm, and faces the task of ‘renewing’ a roster which loses 3 veteran mainstays.  Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, and Matt Augustine graduate, and more size will be crucial in the recruiting project.  The Cougs have dependable vets returning in Brandon Tull, Alex Igual, and Brian Ofori.  Burrows looks to the younger Hillis bothers, Ben and Samuel, and rookie star, Johneil Johnson to pick up some of the slack.  An infusion of talent, especially in the bigs, will be necessary if UR is to move up.

Thompson Rivers –   Coach Scott Clark loses a ‘franchise player’ in import forward, Volodymyr Iegorov, who graduates this Spring.  Clark could anticipate that challenge, but the veteran bench boss also has his rookie stand-out, Trent Monkman,  transferring to Victoria. The Wolf Pack, 8-12,  have been a play-off team in recent years, and Clark has worked successfully to develop his young talent. This coming season will test his resolve once more.  The Orange returnees include import guard, Derek Rhodes, strong forward, Luke Morris, guard, Michael Rouault, and scrappy point man, Madhu McConnell.  TRU will also be looking for some size in the recruiting process, and certainly more depth for this young group.

MRU’s import star, Josh Ross,  returns for his 5th year        Photo – Cougars Athletics

Mt. Royal –  The ‘Blue Cougars’ face a familiar challenge, as Coach Marc Dobell sees 2 big post men, Brett Layton, and Ray Goff leaving the roster along with 5th year guard, Derek Wolf .  Layton is wanting to start Law School, and Goff has had very tough nagging leg injuries, and is graduating early next year.  MRU does return guards Glen Yang, Noah Lewis, and Craig Martin along with import  scoring leader, Josh Ross, Ryan Cunningham, and forward, Nick Tancon.  Coach Dobell is waiting to announce his signees, and has not quite finished the process.  We do understand that L.J. Hegwood is looking to transfer in from SAIT, and that McNally HS (Calgary) star, 6-7 Diew Moses, may be headed to the Cougars as well.

MacEwan –  There will be significant change with the Griffins, as they say goodbye to Denzel James, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens, Keith Gerdes, and Tyler Wise as 5th year grads.  Thadius Galvez, their outstanding lead guard, is also on the move, and Coach Eric Magdanz is left with a major recruiting task.  Returnees Ryan Coleman, Harrison Lane, Adonis Montfort -Palomino, Ali Raza, and Atlas St. Paul-Butler will be counted on next Fall. The Griffs have younger players like British import, Jake Notice, along with 3rd year guard,  Tarik Scott, coming off an injury rehab, and a local red-shirt freshman, Deonte Doslov-Doctor.  Recent signees include Lincoln Anderson, a 6-3 guard from Cardston, AB, who comes off a 2 year Mormon  church mission, and 6-8, Ben Niles, from Kamloops (Valleyview Sr Sec).  Coach Magdanz is also excited about Dustin Gatski  (Westlock, AB), a 6-4 transfer after  1 year of Junior College in Wyoming, and Moreau Amadou  a 6-4 wing from   Sir Winston Churchill, Calgary.

Marcus MacKay will carry a big scoring load for the Timberwolves.

UNBC –  Starting last season at 4-4 last Fall, The T’Wolves struggled through 12 straight losses to finish at 4-16, well out of play-off contention.  They lose their slick guard, Rhys Elliot, along with Elliott Rowe, and Sam Zhang to graduation. Coach Todd Jordan will be looking to add some size and more punch to his roster this Spring and Summer.  The UNBC returnees should include big shooting guard, Marcus MacKay, lead guard, James Agyeman, Vaggelis Loukas, an active forward, and Anthony Hokanson, who is a skilled wing man.   Adam Pahl, a  6-6 wing from Okotoks (Foothills HS) , AB was announced in January, and he comes with high hopes.  Volodymyr Pluzhnikov, is a ‘tough-minded’ guard coming off the red-shirt list, and Jordan has a few more prospects he hopes to sign in the next few weeks.  “We need to get bigger, and to make big improvements in our rebounding”, says the 5th year Head man.

Trinity Western –  The Spartans, 3-17 last season, do not graduate any 5th years, and Coach Aaron Muhic suggests that his returnee list should include all of his current roster players. We have mentioned veteran guard, Tyus Allen, who is rehabbing his injured knee, but who will not be ready until at least the Fall of 2018.  The Spartans will return  import guard, Pogos Trunyan, their high scorer (15 ppg), along with 6-10 post Patrick Vandervelden (13 ppg/7.2 rebs), and Vartan Tanielian, a 12 ppg scorer at wing. Among his younger contributors will be guards Max Viitala, and Josiah Meppelink.  TWU have not announced any new signees or transfers.

UBC-Okanagan –  After an 8-12 record in 2015-16, the Heat cooled off to just 2-18 last season.  Coach Peter Guarasci, in his 5th year, loses guard Mitch Goodwin to graduation.  But, he also has 7 other roster players (Cam Friesen, Randy Jernidier, Ryan Morck, Austin Penrose, Buster Truss, David Manshreck, and Davide Ciancio) who will not return, which obviouly leaves a daunting task of recuiting this Spring. Aldrich Berrios, his high-scoring (17.6 ppg) guard is back for his 4th year, along with back-court rookies, Matt Lafontaine, and Tristan Matthews.  Noma Obeseki, an athletic small forward,  will be entering his 3rd year.  Owen Keyes, a 6’9” Kelowna Sr Sec. stand-out has already signed, and looks like a strong prospect. Jake Stokker, Penticton Sr. Sec  is another big man signee , details in this story from Kelowna Capital News 

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Overtime –

  • Mason Foreman, a 6-7 forward from Winnipeg, who most recently attended Athlete Institute Prep just outside Toronto, has signed with the Calgary Dinos for next Fall.  Mason’s father is Jeff Foreman, who was a 3-time CIS All-Canadian with the Winnipeg Wesmen (Great Plains Athletic Conference)  in 1992, ’93, and ’94. ( In 1994, Jeff was CIS Player of the Year, and he was also a member of the Canadian national team.)
  •  UVic will, later this week, induct two former basketball stars into their Vikes Hall of Fame. Spencer McKay , was a dominating post man for Vikes teams of the late 1980s – early 1990s, and Carol Turney-Loos, was a key to their 1980 National title.   More details in this Oak Bay News article   

Bisons, Dinos, Huskies – All on to Final 4

The Herd are full value for a sweep of #2 UBC

Ilarion Bonhomme’s big night propels the Bisons past the ‘Birds.   photo – Rich Lam, UBC

Manitoba  98   #2  UBC  96   OT –  Kudos to Coach Kirby Schepp and his Bisons , as they go into War Memorial and out-play the #2 ranked team in the country on consecutive nights.  The Herd have the Thunderbirds barely hanging on again Friday, and UBC are fortunate to tie it up and send it to extra time. A. J. Basi’s 3 point shot off an offensive  rebound gave UM the lead with 6 seconds left, and the ‘Birds try at the buzzer bounced off the iron.

5th year transfer point man, Ilarion Bonhomme had a defining effort for the Bisons tonight, with his 28 points/ 10 rebounds/ 9 assists.  Justus Alleyn scores 18, with 4 treys before he fouled out, while Keith Omoerah had a double of 14 pts/ 11 boards.  UBC were led by team captain , Jordan Jensen-Whyte’s 33 point / 10 rebound effort in his final outing for the T’Birds. Patrick Simon scored 21 coming off the bench, and added 5 rebounds.

This was a shocking result to many, but a tribute to the depth of talent on Manitoba, and in all of Canada West, where we saw several visiting squads equit themselves very impressively.   Box Score  

#6  Calgary   76  Thompson Rivers 68 –  For the 2nd night running, the Wolf Pack hold the Dinos feet to the fire, with timely shooting and a stifling zone defense.  It’s tied at the half, then TRU get a lead midway through the 3rd quarter, which they don’t relinquish until the 3 minute mark of the 4th frame.

Dinos full court pressure finally wore down the ‘Pack. 6 points by Calgary’s 4th year post man, Mitch Ligertwood, in the last 1:40 were the crucial ones in this series winner.  The UC defense limited Thompson Rivers to just 12 points in the last 10 minutes.  Calgary won the rebounding 47-34, and hit 12/18 free throws to just 2 of 5 for the visitors.   UC’s Thomas Cooper had another sparkling effort, with 26 points and 9 rebounds, and Jhony Verrone was solid with his 13 points/ 11 rebounds, and superb defensive effort. Mambi Diawara was sharp, especially late in the game, with defensive pressure, and he tallies 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 5 steals.

Volodymyr Iegorov plays his final game for the Wolf Pack, hitting 20 points and claiming 11 rebounds. Derek Rhodes scored 11 and Mike Rouault 10 for TRU, who gave a very brave effort on both nights.    Box Score  

#9  Saskatchewan  88  Winnipeg 77  –  The Huskies storm out of the gates early, and grab a huge 31-8 lead after 10 minutes. But the Wesmen win the middle frames 46-29, to get to within 6.  Saskatchewan’s offense clicks for 28 points in the 4th, and they sweep the series.

Shane Osayande is strong again with a 21 point/ 19 rebound  crusher, while Alex Unruh has a nice game for U of S, with 20 points on 8/10 FG shooting. Trevor Severinski cashes 4/8 from outside for the Dogs for 16 points and he doubles with 10 boards. Narcisse Ambanza scores 18 pts / 5 asst for the Ws, and Denzel Lynch-Blair returns for 14 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 steals.  Box Score

31 pts from their captain, paces the U of L past Alberta in game 2

 Lethbridge 112    #8  Alberta   111  OT –  As much as the ‘Horns were limited by U of Adefense on Thursday, the U of L shooters responded with confidence on this night. The visitors shoot 49% from the floor, hit 15 treys, and convert 25/29 free throws. Alberta betters the Pronghorns with 51% shooting, the same 15 treys, but get fewer free throws (20/22) in a most efficient offensive display by both clubs .

Before fouling out with 10 seconds left in regulation, Dejon Burdeaux scored a team-high 31 points/ 8 rebs/ 5 assists for Lethbridge, who force a game 3, to be played at 7 pm Saturday night.  Zac Overwater is big for the ‘Horns with 26 points/ 12 rebounds, and Elliott Sentance contribute’s 16 pts to the winning cause.   Box Score  

 

 

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In the Atlantic –  Friday Night –   UNB 85 at St. FX 74, at #10 Dalhousie  90 UPEI 75, Saint Mary’s 94  at  Cape Breton 78, at Acadia 97 Memorial  82

 

Sat. OUA Quarter Finals –  at #1 Carleton  McMaster , at #3 Ryerson  Nipissing, at #4 Ottawa Laurentian,  at #5 Brock  Toronto   (On OUA TV)

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Overtime –

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals –  at  #3 Regina 57  Trinity W 41 (Win series 2-0) ,  at #6  Victoria 74 Winnipeg  69  (series tied 1-1),   Fraser V. 74  at # 8 Saskatchewan  62  (series tied 1-1),  at Alberta 60   UBC 52   (wins series 2-0) … 3rd games on Saturday for Vikes – Wesmen, and Cascades – Huskies.
  • TRU’s Luke Morris

    TRU forward, Luke Morris, is providing scoring and leadership to his young Wolf Pack team.  Coach Scott Clark comments in this article from Morris’ hometown Mission City Record.  “He’s a bigger guy [6-5] and can score in a variety of ways,” said Clark. “He can step out and hit a three, score in the post, score in the cut and offensive rebound.”   “There has been increased expectations from our coaching staff and he’s shown more leadership and a lot of growth this season,” Clark said.

 

  •   We learn that Denzel Lynch-Blair of Winnipeg misses last night’s game at Saskatchewan due to accumulating 5 technical fouls over the course of the season.  League Directors review reports on technical fouls, and may suspend players, depending on the details of the offense (s).

 

Road Teams Look Good In Opening Games

 

 

Bisons shock UBC,  ‘Pack play Dinos tough, and Winnipeg scares the Huskies

3 of the 4 Canada West  1/4 Finals see the visiting underdogs play inspired games on the opening night.  The Manitoba Bisons go and hand the #2 UBC Thunderbirds their only home loss so far this season.  The ‘road warrior’ TRU Wolves gave as much as they could before bowing by a slim margin to UC. #9  Saskatchewan needed some last minute heroics to subdue a fired up Winnipeg team by the single point.

  Manitoba 79   #2 UBC  75 –   The Bisons plant the seed of doubt, with some good clutch shooting and very strong team rebounding (42-38 over UBC) .  Faced with a looming comeback bid from the home side, and seeing their 10 point lead disappear with 3 minutes left, the Herd circle and hold their ground.  The last of 4 treys from A. J. Basi and 5 free throws from Ilarion Bonhomme seal the deal.

UBC may have lost this for a number of reasons, but their free throw average of 52% (13/25)  wasn’t nearly up to the 22/30 = 73% for Manitoba. Basi leads the Brown with 22 points, while Keith Omoerah adds a nifty double of 17 pts/ 15 boards.  Bonhomme controls the attack at key times , as he counts 12 points/ 6 rebs/ 3 assists.

The T-Birds appear poised in the 4th, but just did not have their rhythm in the last 2 minutes, with shot opportunities falling off the rim. Jordan Jensen-Whyte 22 points led UBC, with Will Ondrik adding 16 / 5 rebs. Conor Morgan was not his usual self, tallying just 12 points on 5/16 from the floor.   Box Score     Game 2 on Friday is at 7 pm Pacific.

 

David Kapinga is the Calgary Dinos’ defensive ace   photo – David Moll

#6  Calgary  75  Thompson Rivers 71 –  A tale of 2 halves, as the Wolf Pack recover from a 19 point 1st half deficit, and win the 3rd quarter 24 – 9, finishing the 2nd half with 47.  Calgary shoot 44% to start the game, but go ice cold in the 2nd half, finishing at 35%. TRU are 34% after 20 minutes, but hit 53% in the last 20 minutes.

Volodymyr Iegorov has a monster game for the Orange, scoring 27 and grabbing 15 rebounds, and dealing out 6 assists.  Derek Rhodes with 14 pts and Trent Monkman on 10 help the Thompson Rivers cause.  The Dinos secured the win with a stronger 4th quarter, with key hoops from guards Jhony Verrone and David Kapinga down the stretch.

Thomas Cooper with 21 points/ 10 rebounds/7 assists led the UC attack, backed by Kapinga’s 19 pts/ 6 rebounds/ 6 steals.  The Dinos get all they could have expected from a Thompson Rivers squad whose busy play-off travel schedule  we have chronicled.  The Wolves fought extremely hard to get back in, and came close to tying it up in the last minutes. Box Score    Game time for the 2nd in the best of 3 is 7 pm Friday.

 

#9  Saskatchewan 85  Winnipeg 84 –  The Huskies pull out the win, as they come off the ropes in the final 2 minutes, courtesy of a clutch trey from Trevor Severinski to tie it at 81, then a dunk and a highlight reel shot block from Shane Osayande. The teams are back and forth in this one, with multiple lead changes in the final 20 minutes. U of S shooters hit 51%, as Osayande has another huge night as their leader;  the 6-6 post man scores 26 points / 15 rebounds/ and 5 big blocks. Lawrence Moore with 15 pts/ 7 rebs, and Trevor Severinski hitting 13 pts on 4 of 8 from 3 point range are also key to this win.

The Ws looked like winners  at times in the final 10 minutes, but could not quite get the horses in the corral. Their impressive rookie, Narcisse Ambanza, leads the Wesmen with 24 pts, aided by Jamar Farley’s 16 on 4/6 from outside. Sean Tarver plays his 6th man role nicely, scoring 18 points/ 4 rebounds.   Denzel Lynch-Blair, their high scoring guard is absent for Winnipeg in this game, and not sure why?

 Box Score    Game 2 is at 8:30 again on Friday.

 

#8 Alberta 80  Lethbridge 59 –  Not close in this one, as the Bears’ defense make the

Mamadou Gueye leads the Bears over UL  photo – Bears Athletics

Pronghorns attack largely ineffective.  Lethbridge are a woeful 27% FG on the night, and their floor leader, Dejon Burdeaux leaves the game mid-way in the final frame with just 7 points.

Alberta are led by wing man, Mamadou Gueye, with a solid double-double of 20 points/ 10 rebounds. Geoff Pippus hits 4/6 from outside for 14 points, and Dwan Williams adds 12 pts/ 5 rebs.   Box Score     Game 2 is Friday at 8 pm Mountain.

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In the East –  Wednesday

Ontario Play-offs – Round 1 –  Nipissing 77 Queens 74 ,  Laurentian 88  Laurier 72 ,  Toronto 82  Lakehead 61,  McMaster 71  Windsor  63

Saturday’s Quarter Finals –  at #1 Carleton  McMaster , at #3 Ryerson  Nipissing, at #4 Ottawa Laurentian,  at #5 Brock  Toronto

 Quebec –  Concordia 79  Bishops 76, and on Thursday, it was McGill 62  Laval 45

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Overtime –

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals –  at  #3 Regina 82 Trinity W 59,  at #6 Winnipeg 82  Victoria 70, at # 8 Saskatchewan 78 Fraser V. 55 ,  at Alberta 62  UBC 58  … all the home sides come out on top.
  • “We’re not celebrating yet”, said Manitoba Bisons Coach Kirby Schepp  after his team’s big game 1 win at UBC.  “This was a physical game, and our guys hung in there when it counted.”
  • It was a last second desperation heave by Winnipeg’s Jamar Farley that closed the score to just 1 point at the buzzer, but it was a sobering sight to see what might have been in this very tight game.

4 Strong Favourites – Canada West Final 8

 

Dinos, Huskies, Bears, and Thunderbirds are odds-on favourites

We look at these match-ups, and we definitely see 4 clear favourites in these quarter-final series, which tip-off Thursday night in Calgary, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Vancouver. If the series’ go as predicted, we will be re-convening in Calgary on March 3 -4 with our 4 top seeds in the Championship Tournament –   Calgary vs UBC, and Saskatchewan against Alberta.

But first … let’s take a look at this weekend’s draw.  We’re pretty sure Thompson Rivers, Winnipeg, Lethbridge, and Manitoba would like to prove us wrong by upsetting one of the home clubs!

 

5th Year TRU all-star, Volodymyr Iegorov.

Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack  at Calgary Dinos –  Calgary has home court, and, with some fortuitous circumstances, the #1 seed.  The Dinos are deep, while TRU are relatively ‘shallow’, and, quite likely, a bit ‘road -weary’ .

This could, however,  get very interesting, if we consider TRU’s 95 ppg average last week vs Brandon, which indicates a willingness to open it up, offensively.  The Dinos will be only too willing to oblige that possibility.   Keys –  TRU – Control the pace.  Stop the Dinos’ Thomas Cooper.  Play their season’s best team defense.  Get good team shooting, and ball control.  Calgary Play their fast pace, and help that along by turning the Wolf Pack over.  Throw multiple defenders at Volodymyr Iegorov.  Limit the 3 point shooting from the Orange. Run some consistent half-court offense.             7 pm games Thurs, Fri, and Sat (if necessary)

Matt Forbes, Huskies  Post man  – photo – Huskies Athletics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnipeg Wesmen at Saskatchewan Huskies – These teams split their November series in Saskatoon, but this is a bolstered line-up for the Huskies in February, as they now have Matt Forbes at full throttle, and guards Jaylan Morgan and Lawrence Moore in the back-court.  The Wesmen have a team that may be able to harass the Sled Dogs ball-handlers, but can they neutralize the U of S bigs?  If the Ws can generate offense vs a stingy Huskies D, they have a shot.  Keys – Winnipeg – Spread the scoring.  Apply full-court defensive pressure.  Get a stand-off in the post. Play a fast pace.  Saskatchewan –  Execute their offense, and hit open shots.  Limit turnovers.  Pound it inside, and force their own pace of play.              8:30 Thurs and Fri , and 4 pm Sat (if necessary).

 

Lethbridge Pronghorns at Alberta Golden Bears –  Very familiar opponents, with

Brody Clarke, U of A –         photo – Bears Athletics

Alberta enjoying home court, and a more experienced , deeper roster.  The Bears should be healthy and rested, while the ‘Horns had some intense action last weekend vs Victoria.  The Austin Waddoups – Dejon Burdeaux match-up should be worth the price of admission, and Elliott Sentance vs the den of U of A outside shooters will be a highlight as well.  Keys – Lethbridge – As always , try and keep Burdeaux on the floor, healthy.  Push the pace on offense without turning it over.  Get ‘secondary -scoring’ from other than Burdeaux and Sentance.  Stop U of A from getting it inside.  Win the rebounding battle. Alberta – Use their depth, and wear down the ‘Horns starters.  Fill it up with 3 pointers (tops in Canada West in % treys and # scored per game).  Attack with Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke.  Concentrate defense on the 2 Lethbridge king-pins.             8 pm Thur, Fri and 7 pm Sat (if a 3rd)

 

Jordan Jensen-Whyte, UBC’s 5th year guard  – photo –  T’Birds Athletics – Richie Lam

Manitoba Bisons  at UBC Thunderbirds –  Manitoba’s Coach, Kirby Schepp, reminds us that the Herd lost by 8 in game 1 at UBC back in November, then ” … could, and maybe should have won game 2.”  That went 75-72, and was tight down the stretch.  Yes, but … the ‘Birds did go 19-1, which is a measure of their consistency and quality.

They are at War Memorial, a notorious ‘burial ground’ for visiting teams, and UBC has had some time to rest injured stars, Conor Morgan and Phil Jalalpoor.  Manitoba is a match for UBC in terms of experience in their line-up, and they have won 15 of 17 to finish the season.  On the flip side, the Bisons have won only once vs the T’Birds in 23 games since January of 2001.  Keys – Manitoba – Disrupt the UBC offense; they cannot allow the ‘Birds to get too much momentum.  Take care of the ball.  Go after Morgan at both ends.  Do a ‘shut-down ‘ job on Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Share the load on offense, and use the bench.  UBC-  Establish their defensive style, and limit fouls.  Just do what they do on offense.  Whyte is a key catalyst for the rest of the squad.  Keep Morgan healthy.                              7 pm Thur, Fri and Sat ( if 3 are necessary).

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In the East –

The OUA first round games are getting underway tonight – Queens at Nipissing , Laurier at Laurentian , Lakehead at Toronto, and McMaster at Windsor  .  These are  ‘sudden victory’, and you move on to play the top seeds Carleton, Ryerson, Ottawa, Brock on Saturday.

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Strong rookie prospects throughout Canada West

Canada West Hoops’ ‘Co- Rookies of the Year’ , Winnipeg’s Narcisse Ambanza, and Victoria’s Scott Kellum.

We have a large field of rookie to choose our All-Rookie Team from, and we think we can say that this is an exceptional class.  Without the playing minutes, and resulting scoring, and other stats, we can whittle down our list of honourees.  Our suspicion is that we may have some exceptional players in the following group, and they aren’t on our Team !   (reverse alpha order – just a quirk)

Jeff Rodehutskors,  Fwd, Calgary …  Trent Monkman, Wing, Thompson R. … Josaiah Meppelink, G, Trinity W … Madhu  McConnell, G, TRU … Scott Mazutinec,  W,  Lethbridge …  Triston Matthews, G, UBC-O … Craig Martin , G, Mt. Royal …  Tyrell Laing, G, UNBC … Cole Knudsen, F, Alberta … Kobyn Jopp, F, Brandon … Graeme Hyde-Lay, G, Victoria …  J.J. Hamel-Carey , G, Victoria … Benjamin Hillis, W, Regina …  Riley Braich, G  , Fraser V. … Emmanuel Akintunde, F, Saskatchewan.

 

 

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Overtime – 

  • UBC Coach Kevin Hanson, commenting on star forward Conor Morgan’s readiness for play vs Manitoba this weekend, “He won’t be 100 per cent on Thursday night, but he’ll be healthy enough to contribute in some way.”  More on the T’Birds – Bisons in this story from Steve Ewan in The Province  

 

 

 

 

Quarter-Finals Set for Thursday Tip-offs

 

 

Quick turnaround for quarter-finals tip-offs

If you’re the TRU Wolf Pack, you will feel like visitors on your own campus, as you leave again on Wednesday for Calgary,  your 3rd road destination in as many weeks.  TRU were in Regina to finish League play, then last week a 3 game set in Brandon, finishing Sunday …  Monday a.m. on the road to Winnipeg, connecting flight through Calgary, and finally home to Kamloops.

TRU’s Scott Clark leads his ‘Pack to another play-off showdown with the Calgary Dinos.

The Wolf Pack face the #1 seeded Dinos starting Thursday in Calgary, a team they lost to in the Canada West Final last March.  Coach Scott Clark, speaking from the Calgary airport on Sunday afternoon, allowed, “This schedule is beyond our control, so we just deal with it. We are very proud of our young team, who responded very well to a tough atmosphere in Brandon, and fought off a very athletic Bobcats team.  Now we’ll go back and rest, do laundry, and look at some film.  We hope the guys will be just as fired up to face the Dinos, and we know it will be a challenge.”

The Manitoba Bisons were busy making last minute plane reservations as well, as the Herd head out to Vancouver to meet the UBC Thunderbirds.  Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp tells us, “It’s hard to arrange the flights .  You don’t know if you have 2 or 3 games … we may have to wait until Monday to get back home.  It’s expensive!  Meanwhile UM is prepping to play what Schepp calls ” … the best team in our League right now.”

Lethbridge are chartering a bus to return to Edmonton, where they just finished League play against the same Alberta Golden Bears 2 weeks ago.  Well, not exactly the same Bears; we’re pretty sure the starters for both teams will be more prominent in this 1/4 Final than in their last regular season encounter.

The Winnipeg Wesmen will also board a highway cruiser for their series in Saskatoon against the U of S Huskies.  The Ws took 3 games to subdue the UFV Cascades, but looked sharp in the Saturday 84-59 clincher, as their deep perimeter talent ran away from Fraser Valley.  Saskatchewan awaits with their vaunted pair of posts, and a deeper back-court than they’ve had in past seasons.

Our detailed series previews on Wednesday.

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These are our choices, as we wait for the official list from the coaches voting.  Our 1st teamers are the ‘game changers’, and are most consistent at putting their stamp on the game.  Dejon Burdeaux does it all for the ‘Horns, while Thomas Cooper is a clutch scorer and rebounder for the Dinos.  Volodymyr Iegorov is the engine for TRU, with all the skills to turn pro. UBC’s Conor Morgan won the scoring title, and is having an amazing season.  Shane Osayande is a double-double almost every time he suits up for the Huskies.

Our 2nd team features U-Sports’ top 3 point shooter in Fraser Valley’s Manny Dulay, and the all-round value delivered by UBC vet, Jordan Jensen-Whyte.  Canada West’s top defensive disruptor and leading 3 pt % shooter is Calgary’s David Kapinga, while Manitoba’s Keith Omoerah fills a stat sheet with points / rebounds / assists. Josh Ross arrived as a transfer to MRU after an All-Canadian College career, and he gave the Cougars scoring, passing, and great rebounding.

Our 3rd team has the incredible ‘cross-over king’ Thadius Galvez of the Griffins, along with the Wesmen’s dynamic scoring guard, Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Grant Sitton stood tall for the Vikes during one of their tougher seasons, and Brandon Tull finished his career at Regina as a record setter for that school.  Austin Waddoups is one of 3 Bears who could be on our list, but his energy, creativity, and timely scoring have launched Alberta to greater heights.

There are certainly others worthy of recognition, but we have 15.  You may wish to mention more of your favourites.  Feel free to share them with us.                                 (All-rookies Wednesday)

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Julian Spear Chief – Morris, playing  for the Pronghorns. photo – UL Sports

Overtime –

  • Former Lethbridge Pronghorns star,  Julien Spear Chief – Morris was recently elected as the President of Harvard University’s Law School Legal Aid Bureau.  This  article from Harvard  explains the significance of this election.       Thanks to Manitoba Coach Kirby Schepp for passing this on to us.
  • The Victoria  Vikes made it to the CIS Nationals in 2012-13,  2013-14 and 2014-15, and were in the semi-finals in March of ’14 and ’15.  But 2 straight years with a 9-11 League record, missing play-offs last year, then bowing out in round 1 this campaign has Vikes supporters ‘concerned’.   14 year Head Coach, Craig Beaucamp, who has a 70% winning average in Canada West play, and is a 5 – time CW Coach of the Year is determined to get UVic back on top.  ““There are no quick fixes,” said Beaucamp. “It is going to take time. You can’t panic. You can’t just blow it up . Our current group has to get better.  We have a good core and I like it, but we need help. We are small up front. To be honest, we need to add to the mix.”    More on the Vikes’ plans this Times – Colonist  article by Cleve Dheensaw 

 

Wolf Pack Survive Late Bobcats Rally

 

Morris and Iegorov  get Wolves to the next round

A happy ‘Pack of Wolves get the clinching win over Brandon

Thompson Rivers  94   Brandon  81  –  Both teams had moments of great momentum, with TRU blasting out of the gates in the 1st half to take a huge 20 point lead.  The Bobcats, however, refused to fold their tents, and hung up 36 points in the 3rd  quarter to get right back in touch.

The Wolf Pack worked against the current in the final 10 minutes, as Brandon came back to within 3 points on a couple of tense sequences.  The Bobcats full-court pressure  could have turned the game right around, but the young TRU squad stuck together, with the leadership of 5th year star Volodymyr Iegorov.  The big forward fouled out with about 2 minutes left, but not before he had been instrumental in steadying the troops, as he finishes with 21 pts/ 11 rebounds/ 4 assists.  Luke Morris picked a good night for scoring 25, with 5 of 10 from the outside, and Derek Rhodes was good again, helping the Wolves take their 2nd straight, and shoot 48% from the floor.

The ‘Cats had their big home crowd on their feet in the exciting 2nd half, and played  inspired ‘ball to climb that far back.  Tyvon Cooper had a game-high 28 points/ 10 boards, and Earl Thompson Jr added 17 pts/ 10 rebs.    Box Score  … The Wolf Pack move on to the Q-finals, where they will meet the #1 seeded Calgary Dinos starting on Thursday.

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In the East –  Sunday    

Atlantic –   at UPEI 86  Cape Breton 82

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Overtime –

  • In Canada West Women’s play-offs –     Fraser Valley  69  Calgary 60  –     The Cascades move on to the Q-finals vs #1  Saskatchewan .
  • The Trinity Western women won the first playoff series in team history with their 67-60 win over Brandon in Game 3 on Saturday in Langley.
  • “Gravy Baby !  The call from the Brandon colour man for a Bobcats hoop vs TRU on Sunday.  Signature ….
  • Volodymyr Iegorov has to be one of the best passers out of the post, as he hits TRU shooters for open 3s on many chances.  He stays into the game until the last 2 minutes, with 4 fouls, then 5.

 

Wesmen, Horns Both Move On

 

Wesmen up the pace, and run past UFV

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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In the East –  Saturday 

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

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

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

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

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Overtime –

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

 

 

Cascades Ride Dulay to Game 3

 

 

‘If Manny Dulay crosses centre, is he in shooting range ? ‘

 Fraser Valley 78  at Winnipeg  71 –    “Magic Manny’ Dulay has given us the 3 game series we suspected we would have with these 2 evenly- matched teams.  In an extremely well-played game (only 14 total turnovers between the teams), it was the killer shooting

Precision shooting by UFV’s Manny Dulay takes the teams to game 3. photo – UFV Athletics

display by the 5th year guard from Surrey that fuelled the Cascades win in game 2.

In this virtuoso matinee performance, Dulay was an incredible 7 of 7 from way outside, as he scored 29 points/ 6 rebs/ 5 asst/ 3 steals.  Mark Johnson stepped up for 14 points, as he was 2/3 from 3 pt range, as well as claiming 7 rebounds.  The middle of the game saw the visitors tallying 49 points, and today they were able to limit Winnipeg in any small 4th quarter surge.

The Ws get 22 points from the highest scoring non-starter in Canada West, import guard  Sean Tarver. Winnipeg’s Ryan Oirbans is effective again with 16 pts /10 rebs, but the difference was the 12/22 (55%) UFV shooting from beyond the arc.  The Wesmen hit just 5 treys, and thats a 21 point spread !  14/15 from the line helped Winnipeg, but that was not enough to have the home side threaten in the end.   Box  Score    The 3rd and deciding game is Saturday at the same 3 pm Central time.        This and the other play off games available   On Canada West TV

Justus Alleyn leads Manitoba to a series sweep over Regina.   photo- Jeff Miller – Bisons Sports

at Manitoba 88  Regina   80  –  The Bisons claim a spot in the quarter-finals, with a strong opening half, where they open up a 13 point advantage, looking more relaxed and ready than on Friday.  The Herd expand that lead in the 3rd quarter, then hold off a late Regina flurry for the sweep of this series.

Once again tonight, it’s guard Justus Alleyn leading the way for UM with 20 points/ 3 steals, while back-court mate A.J. Basi hits 18 points.  There are 5 Bisons in double digits, as they shoot 48% from the floor, and 41% from 3 pt range ( Alleyn is 4/8 outside and Malik Irwin 2/2 and 10 pts) . Turnovers played a role, with Regina committing 19 and Manitoba 17, while the home side wins the rebound battle 45-36.

Brandon Tull leads the Cougars in their final game of the season, with 19 points/ 4 steals.  UR got 13 points apiece from Johneil Johnson and Travis Sylvestre.   Box  Score    Manitoba earns a date in the Q-finals with the UBC Thunderbirds out in Vancouver starting next Thursday.

Tyvon Cooper scores 30 as the ‘cats win game 1 over TRU. photo- BU sports

at Brandon  101  Thompson Rivers 95  –  Break up the Bobcats !   Finding a  new team confidence, the ‘Cats send their fans home smiling, as they hit 55% from the floor and join the visiting T’Wolves in a  53-55 track-meet in the final 20 minutes.  No one blinked as both teams let it rip, with Brandon hitting 2 more treys (and 52% from 3 pt range)  for the difference.

Tyvon Cooper had a slick 30 points/ 8 rebounds for the Bobcats, while Earl Thompson Jr ‘hit for the cycle’ with 20 pts/ 6 rebs/ 6 assts/ 3 steals.  All 5 BU starters were in double figures, with big John Paul registering a double of 11 pts/ 10 boards, and Pookie Saunders  posting 14 pts/ 5 rebs/ 7 assists/ 5 steals.

TRU responded to a 48-40 half-time deficit with a big offensive eruption in the 3rd and 4th quarters.  Volodymyr Iegorov displayed his play-off mettle with 29 pts/ 5 rebs/ 3 steals, and Joe Davis had one of his finer nights, cashing 24 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.     Box  Score        Game 2 is at 7 pm Central on Saturday.

Mike Pierzchala has a big 31 pt night in the ‘Horns series opening win.     photo – Levi Balan

at Lethbridge  97 Victoria 85 –  The ‘Horns repel a spirited UVic comeback in the 3rd quarter, and finish strong to capture game 1 after putting up 29 in the 4th.  The home side gets a scare, as Dejon Burdeaux, their powerhouse guard leaves with an awkward fall late in the 3rd.

Burdeaux gets some timely ‘corner work’ from his seconds, and, much to the collective relief, he’s back for a solid final 20 minutes. The big gun for UL on the night was Mike Pierzchala, with a sparkling 9/11 outside shooting display, leading to 31 points.  Also aiding a team 52% from 3 pt range was Elliott Sentance with his 21 points on 5/9 from outside, plus 8 rebs/ 7 assists.

The Vikes spread their scoring pretty well, as they get 14 pts each from Grant Sitton (9 rebs), and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson (7 boards).  UVic had 3 others in double figures, with a good team shooting night (44% FG, 41% 3 pt, and 17/19 from the line).   Victoria could not match the Pronghorns energy in the final 10 minutes, and they will need a Saturday win to extend the series.  Box  Score     Game time Saturday is 7 pm Mountain.

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Winning is Tough for Canada West’s Newest Schools

Only 2 of the 6 ‘Explorer Division teams from last season made the play-offs this campaign.   And these were not the latest entries to Canada West;  both Fraser Valley (2006) and Thompson Rivers (2005) have been in the League for some time now. The Wolf Pack and the Cascades have both enjoyed some success in play-off competition over those years.  Trinity Western joined Canada West in 1999, then, a year later, the 4 Great Plains schools were added – Brandon, Manitoba, Regina, and Winnipeg.

This season we see the newest of our 17 teams, Mt. Royal, MacEwan, UBC-O, and UNBC, all on the outside looking in at the post -season play-downs. The TWU Spartans, who are also out, have had a few brushes with championships with Jacob Doerkson and company, but have ‘fallen on harder times’ in recent seasons.

No team outside of Victoria (16), Alberta (11), UBC (9), Calgary (5), Brandon (1), Lethbridge (1), and Saskatchewan (1) have ever won the Canada West title.  There were, of course, championships won in the GPAC by Brandon, Manitoba, and Winnipeg.

This season’s play-off slate prompts us to consider the old saw, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”, as we have Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC the top 4 seeds, awaiting their opponents for the quarter-final series. We do believe the newer schools can become more competitive, and, on many nights, they have been already.  It’s not easy, however, to build a consistently strong contender in the early years of participation in Canada West.

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In the East –  Friday    

Atlantic – at #10 Dalhousie 88  Saint Marys 81 ,  at Acadia 88  St. FX 82,  at UNB 99 Cape Breton 93 – a good effort by the Capers, but they remain O-for.

Quebec –  at Laval 73 UQAM 62

Ontario –   at #1 Carleton 82  #5 Ryerson 77-  Good game.  Makes the play-offs more interesting !  at #3 Ottawa 74  Toronto  54 , at Queens 70 York  60, Laurentian 87 at Algoma 64, at Lakehead 66 Waterloo 62

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Overtime –

Nova Scotia star, Andrew Milner, signs with Calgary.

  • Andrew Milner, a 6-3 guard from Antigonish, NS,  has signed with the Calgary Dinos for the Fall of 2017.  Milner, who was a member of 2 Nova Scotia Provincial teams which won Canadian Championships in 2015 and 2016, will graduate this June from Rothesay Netherwood School (NB) .  Calgary Head Coach Dan Vanhooren says, “Andrew is very skilled and dedicated young player, and we look forward to his joining our program.”

 

  • All 4 of Canada West’s 1st round play-off sites are on the Prairies … teams seeded 5 – 8. Manitoba, Lethbridge, Winnipeg, and Brandon are hoping home court will give them the edge, and they can move on to quarter-finals next week.
  • Women’s Canada West 1st Round Play-offs –   (Best of 3 series’) Thursday, Brandon 56 at Trinity Western 48,  Friday  ,  Calgary 67 at Fraser Valley 48,  at  UBC 74 UNBC 61,  at Victoria 67 MacEwan 54 ,  at Trinity W 70  Brandon 57 – goes to a 3rd game Saturday  .     Interestingly, all 4 of these series are in B.C.  The Women’s top 4 seeds are 1 Saskatchewan  2 Regina   3 Winnipeg  4 Alberta.