T’Wolves Working to Climb the Ladder

 

Who can step up for the Timberwolves?

Every team graduates top players, and UNBC will be looking for the leadership and 16 ppg which left with Rhys Elliott, the Aussie sniper.  Another loss is the injury absence of forward Austin Chandler, who could have been expected to play solid minutes.

Coach Todd Jordan knows it’s a challenge to compete in a “ tough Canada West League”.  “Many teams have had significant changes, but we are always working to move ahead”, says the 8 year head

Veteran forward Vaggelis Loukas, photo  UNBC Athletics

man. “I think we have some ‘old school’ inside men with some experience, who are joining us this season. We think we’ll be more combative, and tougher to play against.”

UNBC has potential leaders like 5th year guard, Marcus MacKay (Terrace, BC), the leading returning scorer at 12.5 ppg and  Jesse Mushiana (Vancouver) is a 4th year, 6-7 forward with some moves inside.  Point man James Agyeman , 4th year (Brampton, ON) is lightning quick, and import forward, Vaggelis Loukas (Athens, Greece) is a 6-5, 4th year battler at forward.

After a red-shirt year in ’16-’17, ‘Vova’ Pluzhnikov, a 6-1  Ukrainian import, is expected to be new floor leader for the ‘Wolves. 6-5, 4th year, Jovan Leamy (Toronto), transfers from Ryerson with the size and  experience to give the T’Wolves a boost. He will be available to play in early November (1 year after leaving the Rams program).

These elements need to all come together if this UNBC team can climb into playoff contention.  Since his days as a player with his hometown team back in the early 2000s, Coach Jordan has been pouring his every effort into building this program. He believes, “We will be more intense, more consistent, and physically tougher .”

Timberwolves last year – 4-16  … a long way up   Prognosis – The ‘Wolves will have to fight to get to .500, but, with so many re-building teams, this may be the year to move up.

 

UNBC has been ‘amazing’ for MacKay

After learning the game from his Dad, Cam, Head Coach at Caledonia High School (Terrace, BC),  Marcus MacKay moved to Prince George to play at UNBC.  Since that freshman year, the 6-4 guard has come into his own, with 28, 26, and 25 point games last season. “Now, I have to get more consistent”, says a determined Mackay. “No more following up with a 5 or 6 point  effort the next night.”

Marcus MacKay, 5th year guard, UNBC     photo – Timberwolves Athletics

Playing at UNBC means you’re ‘the biggest game in town’, and Marcus says “it’s been incredible” to have the big crowds, the enthusiasm, and the support from the Timberwolves faithful. “Many times it’s packed, it’s loud, and it’s a big thrill for us to play in front of our crowd.”  The community gets involved in supporting the team, from hiring players to summer jobs, to sponsoring athletes and the team for travel expenses.

Acknowledging how “5 years has flown by so quickly”, MacKay says, “I’m aiming to be the hardest working, to play more physically, to focus as a team leader, and inspire confidence in my teammates.”  After searching for a ‘perfect major’, Marcus is now aiming at an Education program to finish up at UNBC.  He is excited to now be following in the footsteps of his two parents, who both teach in Terrace. “I’m not sure where I want to teach”, he says. “But that’s what I know I want to do.”

Marcus is wanting to make his final season with the ‘Wolves one to remember, and he just wants to let the game ‘come to him’.  Not so much about firm personal goals, but more focused on the team process, and advancing the common cause.

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Saturday scores – 

In Victoria …  Carleton 99 Victoria 61 ,  Concordia 94  Guelph 61

UNBC  beats  Mt. Royal  , Seattle Mountaineers at Trinity Western,  Lethbridge  110 Lethbridge Coll. 67, Western 116 UBC-O  52 , Windsor 92  Centennial Coll 68, Acadia 101 Holland Coll 73 , McMaster 92  Memorial 77

Saint Marys 79  Cape Breton 60,  UNB 79  UQAM 77  … UNB Tourney

Bisons Hit Re-start

 

 

Graduations Leave Manitoba With Young Roster

“We are really young,” exclaims Kirby Schepp, the lead Bison in the Herd.  This is indeed a group of fresh new faces for Manitoba, after seeing the graduation of starters, Keith Omoerah, A.J. Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Brett Jewell, along with strong forward Jonathan Alexander.

Justus Alleyn, Bison’s CW All-star guard.       Photo – Bisons Athletics

The Brown and Gold return Justus Alleyn, a 6-3 guard who led team scoring at 17.4 ppg, and hit 43% from beyond the arc.  But a practice injury has taken veteran forward, Malik Irwin, out for the season, and other troubles have kept several players out of the early season roster.  Can you say, ‘overhaul’?

New challenges for Coach Schepp to be sure, but he is nothing if not enthusiastic. “I’m excited about our freshmen, and couple of red-shirts who can step in now and get in the roatation,”  says the 9 year head coach.

‘We certainly have a fast developing forward in James Wagner,” ( 6-7, 2nd year, Winnipeg), says Schepp, “ but 6-7 red-shirt forward, Cameron O’Hara, is also a  big body inside, and he’s going to help us defensively.”  He also mentions Wyatt Tait, a 6-6 rookie from Winnipeg, and 6-1 Rikki Zimbakov, another local product.  These 2 were rated 1 and 2 in the group of graduating high school players in the province.

The Bisons added Rashawn Browne (Toronto), a point man entering his 3rd year, after playing at both New Mexico State and California U. (Pittsburgh). Browne is expected to be the floor leader on the U of M offense.

Bisons last season 12-8   … Finalists in Canada West … Prognosis –  Tough to match that with so many new recruits –  may have to scramble for a play-off spot.

 

Back to Canada for Bisons new lead guard

U of M transfer, Rashawn Browne, in action at New Mexico State

In high school, Rashawn Browne played at Eastern Commerce in Toronto, then in the GTA Prep League while at Bill Crothers Sr. Secondary in Markham. In a tournament in the U.S. with his club team, he played well against a strong AAU team which included future NBA star, Jamil Okafor,  and  Rashawn was approached by New Mexico State. ‘I red-shirted there, then with injuries and coaching changes I moved on to Pennsylvania, “ says Browne.  Pointing out that he is not a ‘basketball gypsy’, the 3.5 GPA student says, “I was just not happy with the way things were run in the U.S.  It was more like a business, with the coaches trying to protect their jobs. Here at Manitoba, the other players are very friendly; we support each other, and Coach Schepp and his staff are interested in our doing well in our classes as well as on the court.  It’s just more fun here.”

The ‘pass-first’ point man suggests he is happy to have Justus Alleyn to pass to, and happy to have James Wagner as a skilled forward.  ‘I’m excited to be part of this program, and to be playing with this group of guys”. Coach Schepp says, “Rashawn is a solid floor leader; he’s the real deal!  He shows a very high basketball IQ, and he’s also got a calm demeanour when the action heats up.  He’s a quality young man, and we think he will be a great addition to our team.”

Pursuing a Business degree and looking forward to wearing the Bisons colours in his first game next week in a home tournament,  Rashawn starts a very new chapter in his young life.  This may well be the classic case of opportunity meeting solid preparation, and the Herd looks to have a most capable new on-court leader.

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UVic hosts the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament this weekend.

Canada West Pre-season picks up this coming weekend

Teams are ‘breaking the huddle’ and taking to the court against someone other than their own teammates this week.  We build towards the Annual Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament at Victoria, where Coach Craig Beaucamp and the Vikes will host the defending champions of everything, the Carleton Ravens, along with the Guelph Gryphons, and the Concordia Stingers.

The Okanagan Heat make a trip East to  play OUA teams, and Winnipeg have their annual ‘holiday trek’ to Thunder Bay to play a pair with the ‘Wolves. Coach Todd Jordan and his  UNBC T’Wolves make a 3 game swing through S. Alberta.

the schedule –

Thursday, Sept. 28 – UBC-O at McMaster

Briercrest College at Saskatchewan,    Winnipeg at Lakehead

Friday, 29th    – at UVic … Carleton – Concordia, Vikes vs Guelph

Winnipeg at Lakehead,   UBC-O at Toronto,    UNBC at Mt. Royal

Saturday, 30th     – Carleton – Victoria, Guelph-Concordia (at UVic)

UBC-O at Western Ontario,   Seattle Mountaineers at Trinity Western

UNBC at Mt. Royal

Sunday Oct 1  – Victoria vs Concordia, Guelph vs Carleton (UVic)

UNBC at Lethbridge

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Overtime –

Canada West weekend results –   Seattle Mountaineers 77  Fraser Valley 74          UBC-O  94  Vancouver Island U.  88

OUA –  York 107 Centennial Coll. 61, York 80  G. Brown Coll. 64, St. Clair Coll. 85  Western Ont. 73

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   

Gee Gees Capture Shoveller Title

 

 

  Ottawa win in Halifax … primed for OUA action

Caleb Agada is a the top player for Ottawa in their win at the Shoveller.

#4 Ottawa Gee Gees 78 Saint Marys  Huskies 69 –  Caleb Agada posts yet another double-double, as his 25 pts/ 12 boards lead the Gee Gees to the tournament title.  Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles has another strong game with a double of 12 points/ 10 rebs. Brian Rouse scored 19 to pace Saint Marys, while Theon Reefer scored 15 plus grabbing 14 rebounds.  Now 16-3 overall in U-Sport competition, UO are starting to look like prime contenders for an OUA and National crown.  With a line-up bolstered by 5th year McMaster transfer, Adam Presutti,  they win their 14th straight.  Resuming league play next week, Ottawa will be prepping for their mid-January showdown with the #1 Carleton Ravens.  Box Score   

  #10 Dalhousie   76  St. FX  71 – (  3rd place game) The Tigers take down AUS rival  X-Men, as Jarred Reid counts a game-high 25 points, while Kashrell Lawrence had 17 points, eight rebounds.  Cameron Walker led the St. FX scorers with 20. Box Score

 Acadia Axemen  89  Mt. Royal Cougars  75 –  (7th place game)  Not the deepest team in the country, MRU cannot be at top form without forward, Brett Layton, who sat this one out with an ankle sprain.  The Axemen out-shoot the Cougars 42% to 36% from the field, and use a big 20/29 to 9/15 free throw edge to distance themselves. Kyle Arsenault scores 29 pts and Erik Nissen 20 pts/ 9 rebs to lead Acadia.  Josh Ross responds with a double of 15 pts/ 11 boards for Mt. Royal, while guards Glen Yang and Craig Martin tally 12 pts each.  Box Score   

UPEI  Panthers  96  Queens Golden Gaels 86   – (5th place game)

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Classique Olga Hrycak at UQAM, Montreal –

Memorial Seahawks 79 UNBC  Timberwolves 70 –  Up 3 at the half, then tied after 30 minutes, the T’Wolves cannot hold back the Seahawks in the 4th.  Memorial scores 30 points to claim the tournament title at 3-0, while UNBC finishes 2nd at 2-1.  23 points for MUN from MVP, Vasilije Curcic, the 6-9 Serbian big man, and 19 by Davion Parnsalu.  The ‘Wolves  get 21 from tournamentt all-star , Rhys Elliott and 22 from wing man, Marcus MacKay.  Again without forward, Vaggelis Loukas, UNBC hang tough for most of the way, but fade in the final minutes.  (again, thanks to UNBC Coach Todd Jordan for texting us the stats )

 Guelph Gryphons 85  UQAM  Citadins  84

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 Vanguard U. (CA) 89  Saskatchewan 72 –  Shane Osayande tops the Huskies with 22 points.

Hope International (CA) 82  MacEwan   56 –  MacEwan is ‘not the same team’ that beat Vanguard last night.  Hope recovers from a loss to Saskatchewan.

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Overtime –

  • Happy New Year to you all !  Safe travels to all the teams still on the road back home.  And good luck as the League play starts up again this coming week .

Arizona Christian Sure-Fire in OT

 

 

Overtime loss for sharper Dinos squad

Arizona-Christian logo

Firestorm pull out an OT win over visiting Calgary

Arizona Christian 91  Calgary Dinos 84  OT –  The Firestorm were taken to the wire by the Dinos, as the home team used a 20-13 OT spread to claim the win.  With far better team defensive form from Tuesday’s game, UC were paced by Thomas Cooper’s   27 points/ 5 rebs/ 4 steals  in their 3rd game against NAIA (small) schools.   Mambi Diawara added 23 points/ 6 rebounds before fouling out, as he took turns at the point  with  David Kapinga, having returned  to UC for a scheduled exam.  Diawara’s  old-style 3 point play at the end of regulation forced the overtime.   Arizona Christian hit 12 treys to Calgary’s 6, which eclipsed the edge the UC had with 50% FG shooting to 43% for A-C.  Calgary takes a short break, then returns to Holiday action with games in Montana next week.   Box Score   

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Overtime –

Adam Pahl commits to UNBC

Okotoks, AB’s Adam Pahl signs with UNBC.

  • There is a flurry of recruiting announcements this Holiday season, and we see a big one for UNBC with a video celebration of the commitment from Adam Pahl a 6-6 forward from Foothills High School , Okotoks, AB.    “It was a very unique experience. Todd (Jordan, Head Coach) and all the players really made me feel like I was at home. I knew right then it was the place for me. I went on other visits, but I knew no other school had the atmosphere and opportunities that UNBC did,” says Pahl.    (From Rich Abney, Timberwolves Athletics)
  • The defending champions are ready for the 50th Annual Wesmen Classic, scheduled for Dec 28-30 at U. Winnipeg.  Bison’s 8th year Coach, Kirby Schepp, and his home-town Manitoba squad hope to repeat.  ”We are really looking forward to competing once again in this years’ Wesmen Classic. It is always a big event in the basketball community in Manitoba bringing out many familiar faces and great memories from past tournaments”, said Schepp.  (From UM Athletics)
  •  Winnipeg are not the only school to host a big high school tournament this Christmas season.  The UVic Vikes  (Alumni)  in cooperation with Greg Wallis of Passion Sports are holding their inaugural 12-team  senior varsity invitational at the CARSA Centre from Dec 28-30. More info in this UVic announcement. 

 

TWU / UNBC – Small School Challenges

 

Spartans and Timberwolves Face an Uphill Path

–  2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

These 2 B.C. schools are among the smallest, by population, in Canada West, and have quite a task in trying to match the resources and recruiting power of many of the larger programs. Despite this, the TWU Spartans, about 6-8 years ago were very competitive in this League with the likes of Jacob Doerksen, Brian Banman, and Jason Keegstra.  UNBC has yet to make that kind of impact, but  Coach Todd Jordan and his boys were 12-8 just 2 years ago with Rhys Elliott and Franko Kouagnia leading the way.

With this new 17 team League, there are now games against some of the much bigger schools for the T’Wolves, and Trinity is definitely in a ‘re-building phase’.  Both teams have some new faces who should help the cause for the upcoming year, but ‘it’s never easy’.

Trinity Western Spartans
No playoffs                  1 win   19 losses      (Pioneer Division)

Returnees – TWU copy
4th years –  4th years – Peter Spangehl, 6-3 wing, Surrey, BC.  Pogos Trunyan, 6-2, guard, (red-shirt last yr), Sacramento, CA … 3rd years – Tyus Allen, 6-1, guard,  White Rock, BC.  Vartan Tanielian, 6-4 guard, Surrey. Patrick Vandervelden, 6-10 forward, 3rd, Abbotsford.  Josiah Allison,  6-2, guard, 3rd, Abbotsford.  Eric Rogers, 6-4 guard,  Chilliwack.   2nd year –  Matt Hayashi, 7-1 post,  Langley … 1st year- Nathan Allison,  6-0 guard (redshirt ’15-’16), Abbotsford.

New faces –   Nick Smith, 6-4 fwd, 3rd,   Surrey (Kwantlen Poly U.). Max Viitala, 3rd, G, 6-5,  Melbourne, AUS  , Ambrose Univ. Coll., (Calgary).  Taturs Maberry, 6-6 post, 3rd, Pasadena, CA  (Los Angeles Valley Col.), Josiah Meppelink,  6-3 guard, 1st,   Langley ( Lynden Christian) Nigel Boyd, 6-3 guard, 1st,   Richmond  (Steveston- London), Aaron Paetkau, 6-5 wing, 1st, Parksville BC (Ballenas), Daniel Stead, 6-7 Wing, 1st, Langley (Walnut Grove), Justin Robinson, 6-1 guard, 1st,   Maple Ridge,  ( Maple Ridge Christian), Ben Reddy, 6-3 guard, 1st,  Victoria (Lambrick Park)

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California transfer, Pogos Trunyan (L) and returnee post man, Patrick Vandervelden (L) will be key to the fortunes of TWU.

With a young team coming off a very difficult ’15-’16 season, Coach Aaron Muhic starts his 2nd season at TWU counting on some of his returnees to bring a higher skill level and the determination to help the team move up. “The guys have a good team attitude, and we’re happy with how they work together”, said Muhic. “We certainly have challenges, but we also feel we have the pieces to make things better this year.”

Guard, Tyus Allen, who returns after a year off, “ … may have to shake the rust off,” says the coach, “but he has the skill and experience to be a leader.”  Muhic also points to 3rd year guard, Josiah Allison, who has shown “an aggressive style, and looks good in early workouts.”  Guard, Vartan Tanielian, and big forward, Patrick Vandervelden, should be set for impactful seasons with more playing experience.  Coach Muhic also has high hopes for 2nd year tower, Matt Hayashi, who, the coach tells us, “Is working hard, and starting to get more comfortable with his role.”

Pogos Trunyan played for Coach Muhic in the California College League, and he will be expected to give the Spartans scoring and floor leadership, after red-shirting in Langley in 2015-16. “He is eager to go, and has adapted very well to the International style of play, and his academic program at TWU”, says Muhic. Another import, Taturs Maberry, is a candidate for valuable contributions in scoring and rebounding. Local recruit, Joseph Meppelink, is a very capable high school grad, who has the size and skill to get him into the playing rotation.

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at UBC-O, home and home vs Fraser Valley, at UNBC, vs Regina, vs Lethbridge   …  Jan/Feb –   at Winnipeg, vs Manitoba, at Victoria, at Mt. Royal, vs UBC   Prediction –  Will improve, but tough to reach the top 12


U. Northern BC Timberwolves
’15-’16 – No playoffs                 4 wins    16 losses  (Explorer Division)

Returnees – 5th years – Rhys Elliott,  6-1 guard, Adelaide, Aus. Elliot Rowe, 5-9 guard, Victoria   … 4th years –  Marcus MacKay, 6-4 wing, Terrace, BC.  Nolan Hanson, 6-1 guard, Prince George.  Austin Chandler, 6-6 fwd, Wenatchee, WA  … 3rd years – Vaggelis Loukas, 6-5 fwd, Athens, GR  … 2nd years – Anthony Hokanson, 6-5 fwd, Vancouver.  Saje Gosal, 6-5 wing, Golden, BC.  Neal Randhawa, 6-4 guard, Golden.UNBC copy
New faces –   James Agyeman, 5-11 guard, 3rd,  Brampton, ON (tsf- W. Laurier). Sam Zhang, 6-4 fwd, Pitt Meadows, BC (tsf Capilano Coll.) . Tyrell Laing, 6-0 guard, 1st year, Prince George (Prince George).  (RS) Volodymyr Pluzhnikov, 6-0 guard, Kharkiv, Ukraine (MBC Mykolaiv – Ukraine Superleague).

Todd Jordan, now in his 8th season in Prince George as Head Coach, is hoping 2016-’17 brings a little less pain than last year.  Injuries took away key players for far too many games, and it was tough to get any continuity.  “We were were going with a patch-work lineup from one series to the next”, said Jordan.

The Timberwolves get Nolan Hanson back after he missed almost all of ’15-’16, and Anthony Hokanson, Sam Zhang, and James Agyeman are now available.  Agyeman, a transfer from Laurier of the OUA, can step in as a skilled point man, and boost the guard corps. He and a healthy 5th year stalwart, Elliot Rowe ,should be a good combo at that spot. Rhys Elliott, another 5th year player,  returns as the ‘Wolves leading scorer (18 ppg, 7th in Canada West, 5 rebs and 2.3 assists.)

Two offensive threats for UNBC - Rhys Elliott (L) and Marcus MacKay (R)

Two offensive threats for UNBC – Rhys Elliott (L) and Marcus MacKay (R)

“We’ve had a good ‘off-season’”, says Jordan. “The guys have come back in great shape, and we have more experience as a whole team.”   Jordan says he is looking to several returnees to have significantly better campaigns, including wing, Marcus MacKay, a real 3 point threat.  Vaggelis Loukas will also be a key leader, with his toughness, scoring ability, and maturity as a player.

Rebounding is a focus for UNBC, as they struggled to meet their goals last year.  Jordan says, “We definitely know we have to improve, and everyone needs to play a part, if we want to get our share every game.”  The ‘Wolves take care of the ball very well, and have quality depth on the perimeter to ensure that continues.  Finding an interior presence on offense, and at least fighting to a draw on the boards are top priorities.

“This League gets very interesting as we meet the ‘Pioneer‘ schools, and every weekend is big if we are to contend for a playoff spot”, says Coach Jordan. “Maybe we can surprise a few favourites as our team comes together; we know the guys will work hard, and we think we will give it a good run.”

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at Winnipeg, vs Alberta, vs Trinity Western, at Fraser Valley, vs Thompson Rivers,   Jan/Feb –  at Lethbridge, vs Mt. Royal, at Manitoba, at UBC, vs Saskatchewan     Prediction –  Tough road to  playoffs


 

Does size of schools matter ?inthebleachers-jumpball

If we looked at Canada West as an ocean, we’d be seeing whales, shrimp and everything in between.  From UBC, the big whale, to Northern B.C. a relative minnow in school population, this League has a wide array of school sizes.

Can schools the size of an average city high school hope to match the ‘big boys’?

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The big fish, like UBC, Alberta, Calgary, and Manitoba very much dwarf the Trinity Westerns and UNBC’s out there.  It means financial resources, facilities, and ‘name recognition’.

Brandon is one school that, in the Coach Jerry Hemmings era, overcame this disadvantage, and the ‘Cats won multiple Great Plains titles and 4 National Championships.  But this may be too big a stretch for most of our really small schools.

TRU went to Nationals with a strong core of experienced and talented players last season, and Fraser Valley has had a couple of championship looks.  It remains to be seen how often the ‘small guys’ can buck the trend.

After all, who has won Canada West?   It has been Victoria 16 times, Alberta 11, UBC 9, Calgary 5, and Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, and Brandon 1 apiece.

(Note- We are not counting Great Plains titles won by Brandon, Manitoba, Regina, or Winnipeg)


 

Overtime –

  • The Guy Vetrie Invitational (Sept. 29 – Oct. 1) has Victoria  hosting McMaster, McGill, and Regina , and fans can watch live video on Canada West TV .   Thursday games – 6 pm (Pacific) McGill vs McMaster, 8 pm Vikes vs Regina, Friday – Regina-McMaster at 6, UVic – McGill at 8, and Saturday – Regina-McGill at 5 pm ,  Victoria vs McMaster at 7 pm.

Season Previews – MRU, UNBC

 

Season Previews – Explorer Division –

Mount Royal Cougars –  Coach Marc Dobell, 12th year

Not unlike the majority of teams in the Explorer Division, the 2015-16 Cougars are, in many ways, a ‘new-look team’, having graduated seniors, Manok Akwl, Awet Abraha, Kyle Wilson, and Deng Awak, all of whom played significant roles on last year’s 10-10 squad.  The ‘Cougs’ do return 6-5 post man, James Lefebvre, and also get back the 6-6 Ray Goff after a year away with a knee injury. Jalen Gardner is the likely floor leader, with the added confidence of a 4th year point man, and shooting guard Derek Wolf will be a bigger factor this campaign, as will the irrepressible Noah Lewis, with his enthusiastic effort.

Coach Marc Dobell will look to improved size up front as a lever to bump MRU into the post season, as he adds a trio of 6-9 forwards in T.T. Thokbuom, a slim, shot-blocker,  Aussie import, Ty Cuperis, who has displayed a good scoring touch, and a large body in Brett Layton, with the maturity of a returned Mormon missionary. “Layton plays both ends of the court, has great hands, and is athletic and pretty quick for a 6-9 player”, says Dobell.

Another impressive rookie is point man Matt Gray, a 5-11 fire-ball from Victoria’s Oak Bay HS. “We love this guy,” says his Coach. “ He has looked great in work-outs so far, and we think he can be a very good point man in our League.”  Tyis Yellowhorn, from nearby Chestermere HS, has the size and shooting ability to make an impact in his 1st season as well. Nate Wall is a 6-7 rookie wing man who has long-range shooting ability, “… and has good ball-handling skills, as a big man”, according to Dobell.

 

James Lefebvre is a 5th year mainstay for Mt. Royal

James Lefebvre is a 5th year mainstay for Mt. Royal

Player Profile –

Mount Royal captain, James Lefebvre, voices a refrain we hear quite often from Canada West veterans entering their 5th and final season – “ I can’t believe how fast this has all happened … suddenly, I’m the more experienced player who other guys are looking to for leadership !”    The rugged forward can lead by example, with his hard-won 13.5 ppg / 8 rebounds last season, and the hard work he’s done in the weight room is evident on a muscular frame, which is still under-sized for the position he plays. The Didsbury, AB native says he sees …“an opportunity for this year’s team to ‘change the culture’ for the better; we can play with heart, play tough, and we have a group with great potential”, says James. 

Within a year’s study of a Sociology degree, Lefebvre says that he’s enjoyed his academic program, and feels he’s learned a lot in his years at MRU. “This last year will be very interesting; we veterans can make a positive difference on and off the court. I’m optimistic that we can make ourselves a contending team with the guys we have”, says Lefebvre.  He will have bigger teammates ‘riding shot-gun’ for him this year, but it’s a good bet that the MRU ‘go-to’ post man will still be this wily 6-5 battler.

MRU Team Roster – 

1 Ty Cuperus   Fwd,  6-9, 1st year, Perth, Aus

2  Ray Goff    F     6-7, 3rd,  Okotoks, AB – Foothills  HS

3  Shay Foggo    G      6-4,  1st,  Calgary- Crescent Hts HS

4  Jalen Gardener    G     6-1,  4th ,  Calgary – Bowness

5  Ryan Cunningham     G     6-2,    3rd,  Calgary – E. Manning

6  Matt Gray      G      5-11,  1st,  Victoria, BC – Oak Bay

7  Neil Phillip   G     6-5,     2nd,  Calgary – Forest Lawn

8 Derek Wolf     G     6-2,  4th,  Penticton, BC – Penticton

9 Tyis Yellowhorn G     6-4,  1st,  Piikani Nation, AB – Chestermere

10 Nate Wall      F     6-7,  1st,  Okotoks, AB – Holy Trinity

11 James Lefebvre    F     6-5,  5th,  Didsbury, AB – Didsbury

12 Noah Lewis     G      6-4,  4th,  Comox, BC- Highlands

13 Glen Yang   G    6-2,  2nd,   Calgary,   Churchill

14 TT Thokbuom    F    6-9,  1st,  Calgary,  Western Canada

15 Brett Layton      F    6-9,  1st,  Calgary,  Churchill

RS  Wiande Kier   G      6-4,  2nd,  Calgary,  Grandin – awaiting knee surgery


 

U. Northern British Columbia –  Coach Todd Jordan, 6th year

UNBC copy

In 2014-15 the 5th year forward pair of Devin McMurtry and Francko Kouagnia accounted for 27 ppg and 18 rebounds for a 12-8, 3rd place Timberwolves team.  The key question for Coach Todd Jordan, “How do you replace that kind of up-front power?”  Well, Coach Jordan, ever the competitor, and one to see the glass at least half-full, feels he has a ‘high potential’ team once again.

Rhys Elliott, T'Wolves top scoring threat.

Rhys Elliott, T’Wolves top scoring threat.  photo – UNBC  Athletics

UNBC’s recruiting, according to Jordan, has to be somewhat “tailored to kids who may come from smaller communities, or players who may be looking for a smaller university where they feel they can make an impact”.

When he signed with the ‘Wolves this summer, 6-7 Austin Chandler from Wenatchee College (WA) , echoed those thoughts, as he described the appeal of UNBC, with a similar feel to the country around his home town in Washington State.  “Austin will be one of our key forwards defensively, he runs the floor well, and we think he’ll develop into a very good player for us”, says Jordan. Another significant addition is 6-5 forward, Anthony Hokanson, a Vancouver (Kitsilano) product who flew a little under the radar due to an injury keeping him off the court for much of his grade 12 year, but with a 210 lb. ‘big body’ and a fine shooting touch, he may get floor time right away.

T’Wolves Returnees –

UNBC point man, Billy Cheng on defense.

UNBC point man, Billy Cheng on defense.               photo from UNBC Sports

Billy Cheng (5th year) 5’8″ G , Richmond, BC  

Rhys Elliott ( 4th ) 6’2″ G , Adelaide, Australia  

Nolan Hanson (4th) 6’0″ G, Prince George  

Gagan Sahota (3rd) –  6’5″  F, Surrey, BC

Colin Plumb ( 5th) 6’5″ F , Pitt Meadows, BC  

Marcus MacKay (3rd) 6’2″ G, Terrace, BC

Elliot Rowe (4th) 5’8″ G , Victoria, BC  

Vaggelis Loukas ( 2nd) – 6’6″ F, Athens, Greece  

New Players –

Haydn Molcak – (1st) 6’5″ F,   Prince George – DP Todd Secondary 

Anthony Hokanson – (1st) 6’5″ G,  Vancouver – Kitsilano Secondary 

Austin Chandler –  ( 3rd) 6’7″ F,   Wenatchee, WA – Wenatchee CC 

Saje Gosal –  (1st)  6’4″  G,  Golden, Golden Secondary

Neal Randhawa – (1st ) 6’3″ G,  Golden, Golden Secondary

Red Shirts –  Sam Zhang, 6-4 wing, Pitt Meadows*  has 2 years of academics left… will play out his 5th and final year next year . James Agyeman – 5’11 PG (Transfer from Wilfred Laurier… will begin his 3rd year in 2016/17)

 

Dinos Up One, and TRU Advance

 

Schleuter Leads Dinos to Game 1 Win –

Rookie import, Lars Schleuter, scores 21 in Dinos win.

Rookie import, Lars Schleuter, scores 21 in Dinos win.       Photo- David Moll, Dinos Athletics

at Calgary Dinos 92   Manitoba Bisons 81 –  After starting fast, then seeing the visiting Bisons blitz them with a 30 point 2nd quarter, the Calgary Dinos were looking for something to set them on course in the 2nd half.  Up steps rookie forward, Lars Schleuter, with his parents in the stands from Germany,  counting 14 of his game-high 21 points, and hitting 5/9 from 3 point range and grabbing 6 boards. The Dinos defense put more pressure on the ball, and Manitoba shooting cooled off.  All 5 Calgary starters were in double figures, with the team shooting 53% on the night, as Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson added 15 pts, 6 rebs/ 3 assists.  The Dinos were in a battle on the boards with the Herd, and a strong team effort evened things up (41-41) in the last 20 minutes.

Manitoba were led by 21 points from Amarjit Basi, who connected on a couple of very deep treys; Wyatt Anders was a force inside, as he collected 16 rebounds/ 9 points before fouling out in the 4th. Stephan Walton, their 5th year point man scored 14 and added 5 assists. Game 2 in this best of 3 will go Saturday at 7 pm at UC.    Box Score

 

Cold Shooting Night Seals Wesmen Fate

at TRU Wolf Pack 62  Winnipeg Wesmen  61 –  In a tense struggle at TRU, the ‘Pack

TRU's Tallon Milne has a big rebounding night, as the 'Wolves win the series.

TRU’s Tallon Milne has a big rebounding night, as the ‘Wolves win the series.            Photo- A. Snucins, TRU Athletics

hold on for their clinching win, as Winnipeg, with a chance to win turns it over before getting a shot up in the last second.  The Wesmen never got the feel on offense, as they hit just 32% from the floor, and that included 1/18 from 3 point range. The visitors stayed in the game at the foul line, as they are 18/26 vs the Wolves’ 7/10, plus TRU committed 15 turnovers to just 10 fror the Ws.

The offensive star for Thompson Rivers was 5th year guard, Brett Parker, with 17 points / 4 rebs, while forward, Tallon Milne  collected a game-high 11 rebounds and scored 9 points.  For Winnipeg, who are eliminated in 2 straight, it was Jelane Pryce scoring 22 points, and Chris Baxter chipped in with 15 plus 8 boards.  TRU will now meet the #1 seeded Saskatchewan Huskies  in a best of 3 quarter-final in Saskatoon next weekend.  Box Score

 

 Other CIS Games on Friday –

AUS …  UNB 85 Memorial 66, Cape Breton 80  Dalhousie 74,  St. Mary’s  91 St. FX 72,  UPEI  Acadia

 Ontario –   Carleton 85  Laurentian 39, Ottawa 117 Nipissing 55, Ryerson 94 Queen’s 67 , Guelph  69  Lakehead 66,

 

Questions ? 1.)  Is a week off a good thing before Quarter-finals ?  And, 2.) Do you think Canada West has a disadvantage vs the rest of the CIS, with the length of our play-off process ?

(Our thanks to these coaches for their responses) –

Todd Jordan, UNBC

Todd Jordan, UNBC

 Todd Jordan, UNBC , who play at UBC next week – “It has positives and negatives.  We were playing very well at the end of the season so it does break your momentum a bit.  That being said, it has been good for us to have an extra week to allow a  number of nagging injuries to heal.  It is nice to have the extra prep time as well.  Given the choice I am happy to take the week of rest.  We are in an interesting situation as the Canada Winter Games have taken over our facility and all the high schools in Prince George.  UNBC has extended their reading break to two weeks because of the games so we have been hotel living in Kamloops and training out of the TRU facility for the past week since we left Kelowna and will be here right up until we fly to UBC on Wednesday. It has created a training camp type of feel for our guys.” (2nd question – “No.”)

Kevin Hanson, UBC

Kevin Hanson, UBC

Kevin Hanson, UBC, who host the T’Wolves – “In general I think bye weekends are bad. It is not a horrible thing for us and UNBC to play each other since we both have a bye. You just can’t simulate a regular week of practice since routines change with a bye weekend. (Coach Hanson also suggested we check for results after byes in the regular season – Amongst the playoff teams – teams coming off a bye are  2 wins vs 10 losses !  You’re right, coach !)

As a conference you want to send your best teams to the Nationals. I am an advocate for best of 3 series but not for 2 series and then also add a final four. A team may have to play 8 games to win Can West. The least amount is 4 which is reasonable.

Craig Beaucamp, UVic

Craig Beaucamp, UVic

Craig Beaucamp, Victoria, whose Vikes host Alberta in the most anticipated of all the quarter-finals – “ At this point of the season I would rather just play. The season is long enough. It does not help you from a competitive stand point. The only good thing is that our opponent also has a bye this weekend.”

” I think the playoff format is too long. My preference would be a conference tournament that we could market. I think people will travel for an event like a conference tournament. Not many are traveling for a best of three. Most fans may catch 1-2 games in a weekend. An 8 team conference tournament would be an event people could get excited about. The current format is impossible to explain or support. “

 

Other CIS Games on Friday –

Atlantic …  UNB  Memorial , Dalhousie  Cape Breton ,  St. Mary’s   St. FX ,  UPEI  Acadia

Ontario –   Carleton  Laurentian , Ottawa  Nipissing , Ryerson  Queen’s

 

crook2

Coach Crook makes a ‘guest appearance’ !

Overtime –

  •   That was Dave Crook on the Winnipeg Wesmen bench for the series with TRU !  Added insight from the former head man at Lethbridge and Winnipeg, as ‘Crookie’ whispers in Mike Raimbault’s ear.  All’s well if the Ws can come back and get the last 2 games and advance, but what if …?
  • The  Atlantic League wraps up this weekend, as does the OUA.  Quebec still has regular season games through Feb. 27/28.  These are the playoff dates for each of these 3 Leagues –

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 1.08.45 PM

Pioneer Leaders Need Momentum

 

 

It Could Be a  ‘Trap Game ‘ ?images

One would be understandably influenced to predict success for both Fraser Valley and Thompson Rivers this coming weekend, when they visit Edmonton and Prince George respectively.  We would look at Calgary at 9-2 and figure them being able to get wins at Lethbridge.    But, not so fast.  As coaches will always preach, we can take nothing for granted, and “each game is an important game’ .  The thing is, can players bring themselves to be equally up for each and every game?  We think not.

Hence, the term, ‘Trap Game’ –  When a supposedly superior team might be underestimating or looking past an upcoming opponent, and where that opponent could rise up and beat them ?  Consider  the Pronghorns, who, despite their current struggles, could be considered the slight favourites, having won 5 straight on home court vs the Dinos.  And, even though they seem invincible, with their 24 straight Canada West League wins, might the Cascades underestimate the ‘newbies’, the MacEwan Griffins?

At their peril, we suggest, since the Griffs have 3 home wins in this inaugural season in the League.   So too the Wolf Pack, as they head to Prince George, where the T’Wolves enjoy one of the best home crowds in Canada West, and UNBC is looking like a much better team than at the start of the campaign.  So beware the potential trap game.  Danger lurks.

Pioneer Division  Games This Week –

 Can Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson's return spark the Dinos at Lethbridge ?

Can Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson’s return spark the Dinos at Lethbridge ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

# 8 Calgary  (9-2)  at Lethbridge  (5-7) –  The Dinos come off a busy Holiday schedule, Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.02.30 AMwhere they lost 4 of 5 games,  but have had a bye week to allow ace 5th year scorer, Jarred Ogungbemi – Jackson, to heal up and return to action. Now, can they get a win at Lethbridge, where they are 0-5 in the past several seasons?  The ‘Horns Coach, Mike Hansen, suggests these are very big ‘rivalry games’, and ones his boys need to win.  Dinos Coach Dan Vanhooren wants to see his # 3 back on the court, and for his Dinos to return to the form that got them to 1st place.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.10.25 AMRegina (7-5) at  # 9 Saskatchewan (6-4) – Regina has won 5 straight League games, and added a sharp-shooting guard in Mike Malecha.  But ( a big BUT), the Cougs haven’t won a game in Saskatoon since November of 2003 !  The Huskies have been a bit of a yo-yo team this year, as they’ve split with Alberta, and Winnipeg, beaten the highly regarded Vikes, then been cowed twice at UBC. U of S come off a pair of road wins at Brandon … so, do we get a heated Saskatchewan Civil War, or will the ‘Dogs do the usual, and dispense with Regina in short order at the PAC ?

Winnipeg (5-5)  at  # 5 Victoria (8-2) –  Winnipeg, like their home-town rivals, the Herd, come off 2 losses on their own court, and the challenge is to get back into a competitive groove.  This is a tough place to carry out that mission, however, since UVic has won all but 1 of 10 games these teams have played on the Island since 1977. That game was last February, in the playoffs, so maybe there’s hope for the Ws after all.  Victoria looks like a team on the rise, and will be the favourites here, nonetheless. With these 2 defenses, ‘bet the under’.

Andriy Halushko, Bears' rookie 3 pt. shooter

Andriy Halushko, Bears’ rookie 3 pt. shooter

Manitoba (8-4) at Alberta (6-5) –  The Bears have won 5 straight games, if we include the Wesmen Classic, and they got 2 road wins at Winnipeg last week.  Manitoba will have a big mental hurdle to clear if they are to put the 2 UVic losses behind them. Alberta has won 9 of the last 11 meetings, but the Bisons offensive power will give them a test.  Alberta are the clear favourites as the best FG% team in Canada West, and allowing just 71 ppg .

Brandon  (1-11) at  UBC (5-5) – The Bobcats should try and enjoy the perennial ‘warmer West Coast weather’ , because the surging – 5 League wins in succession – T’Birds will not give them any quarter on the rippling hardwood of War Memorial.  Brylle Kamen should return, Tommy Nixon is inspired, and UBC is back playing defense. Brandon has some talent, but are among the worst shooting teams in Canada West coupled with surrendering 89 ppg against .

Trinity Western (1-11) gets a bye week.

 

Explorer Division –

Reese Pribilsky, the Wolf Pack point man is a reliable floor leader.

Reese Pribilsky, the Wolf Pack point man is a reliable floor leader.

Thompson Rivers (6-4) at UNBC (4-6) – The Wolf Pack play good team defense, they Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.26.59 AMshoot it well from everywhere, and they limit their turnovers.  TRU has a deeper rotation, featuring scorers Brett Rouault and Josh Wolfram.  UNBC’s Coach Todd Jordan says, “We are starting to learn how to play together, and guys like Francko (Kouagnia), Rhys Elliot, and Billy Cheng should have a strong 2nd half of the season.” The T’Wolves would surprise ‘experts’ if they beat the ‘Pack, but they will have to shut down the Wolves’ shooters, and crack the TRU zone.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 6.19.12 AM# 7  Fraser Valley (10-0)  at MacEwan (4-6)  –  The Cascades get it done at crunch time.  They are an excellent 4th quarter team, and are getting great leadership from a veteran line-up, including a more mature QB in Manny Dulay, and big man, Jasper Moedt.  UFV’s attack can come from their whole line-up, short as their bench might be. The Griffins trio of Ryan May, Lee Danderfer, and Denzel James could improve any line-up in Canada West, and the home team will ‘mix it up’ quite willingly with the Division leaders.

Mt. Royal (4-6) at UBC-Okanagan (2-8) –  (Yes folks, this weekend the Heat really are at home!)  Mt. Royal fly to B.C for the 2nd straight week, suffering through a sub-par 3 game losing streak with some poor team shooting, and too many turnovers.  Can their more experienced line-up get back on track against a much younger UBC-O aggregation ?  Coach Peter Guarasci holds out hope for an improving defensive effort, and for continued good long-range shooting from the likes of veteran David Manshrek. Let’s call these ‘must wins’ for the Cougars, and possible upsets for the Heat.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.01.48 PMScores from the Atlantic  –  

Memorial 83  Cape Breton 62

Dalhousie  72   St. FX  48

Saint Mary’s  89  Acadia  75

 

 

Overtime –

  • ‘Major Kulpa‘  (sic) …  we really should know where the games will be played.  We reported the Okanagan Heat as ‘hosting’ the TRU ‘Pack last week, and failed to pick up our error until Monday.  The games were always scheduled for TRU’s home court. Pay attention editor !
  • Bisons Coach, Kirby Schepp

    Bisons Coach, Kirby Schepp … in a calmer moment.

     Coaches in shirt-sleeves … as true fans, we’ve all seen it (and some of us may have done it in a former life) … the game gets heated, a call is made, a play is thwarted, a turnover occurs … the emotional coach rips off his snappy blazer and throws it angrily to the floor.  It happens, and, really, it has some entertainment value. Coach Kirby Schepp admitted he (and his suit jacket) got too carried away last week, as he witnessed the on-court mayhem which was negatively affecting his Bisons vs UVic.  But, at some point, so many bench bosses have done it.  ‘Let ye who’ve never tossed a coat in anger ….‘  We also note Todd Jordan, UNBC,  sans jacket at MacEwan last week, roaming the sidelines, exhorting his troops to re-double their efforts to aid the T-Wolves cause. Way to get involved, Coach !

  • The Alberta Golden Bears have 3 of the top 5 3 pt % shooters in CW –  Andriy Halushko is 47.6%, Youssef Ouahrig-46.4, and Ken Otieno – 46.3.  (Tops in the League?  Tommy Nixon, UBC – 51.2%, 2nd – Dominique Brooks, UFV – 48.1.)  Alberta is, by far, the best 3 pt shooting team , at 42.5% … next is Regina at 36.4 !