Long Road for 1st Round Play-off Teams



 4  Competitive Series in 1st Round of Playoffs

              … Thursday start for ‘Play-in’ series’ in Canada West

As the top 4 seeds, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC rest-up, heal, and prepare, there is no slow-down for the 8 teams heading into the ‘Play-in’ series this weekend.  Games start at Manitoba and Winnipeg on Thursday night in two of the best of 3 sets, with Brandon and Lethbridge hosting series’ to begin on Friday.

Here are the match-ups –

Keith Omoerah contributes to the Bisons offense in many ways.      Photo – J. Miller, UM Sports

#12 Regina Cougars at # 5 Manitoba Bisons –  If we look at the past history between these teams, we might be tempted to call this a lock for the Herd.  Manitoba has beaten Regina in 15 of the most recent 16 meetings, including a January sweep at Regina (84-75, and 93-81).  But the Bisons have not been as convincing over the past month, with a couple of losses at Brandon, then close calls with UNBC, and both nights last weekend against Mt. Royal. Regina comes off a solid weekend at home, where they swept the TRU Wolf Pack.

The Cougars and Bisons are both laden with experience;  Regina features guards Alex Igual (14.7 ppg/ 4.6 rebs/ 3.3 assts), Brandon Tull (13.5 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) and rookie, Johneil Johnson (12.2 ppg/ 3.7 rebs). Forwards, Brian Ofori (13 ppg/ 6.3 rebs) and  Travis Sylvestre (9 ppg/ 3.6 rebs) have played well of late.

Manitoba have a strong, veteran group, with Justus Alleyn their top scorer at 17.4 ppg/3.6 rebs, and the all-around play of Keith Omoerah (13.2 ppg/ 8.7 rebs).  AJ Basi (13.3 ppg) and Ilarion Bonhomme are dangerous back-court threats.  James Wagner, a big rookie can give the Bisons a boost inside, along with veteran post, Brett Jewell .  The question remains, ‘Which team can pull together and win 2 games this weekend?’  The home court favours Manitoba, and UBC awaits the winner .  (Central) 7:30 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (if a 3rd game is necessary)

Winnipeg’s William Sesay will be a key factor vs Fraser Valley.

#10  Fraser Valley Cascades at #7  Winnipeg Wesmen –  This is the other Thursday start, and we have two guard – oriented teams facing off after both just had road trip weekends.  The Cascades have the quick turnaround from a bus-trip up and back on the icy, snow-packed Coquihalla Highway to Kelowna last weekend.  Wash the uniforms, pack the bags, attend a brief 2 days of classes, and off they go to Winnipeg.  The Wesmen come off a 2 loss weekend in Victoria, and somehow have to ‘right the ship’ , and win the home series vs a UFV squad that has won 4 straight to finish the season.

5th year Cascades back-court shooters, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon against  Winnipeg’s Denzel Lynch-Blair, Sean Tarver, and rookie,  Narcisse Ambanza. The much improved Fraser Valley post man, Nav Bains, battling with the Ws’ big Aussie import, Ryan Oirbans.  Talented complimentary players like the Wesmen’s William Sesay and Jamar Farley  vs Fraser Valley’s Denver Sparks-Guest, Mark Johnson, and Andrew Morris.

The Cascades have won 5 of the past 7 meetings, but the Wesmen have home court.  This is looking like a 3 game series.  Note the different game times (Central) –  Thursday at 7 pm, Friday at 3 pm, and Sat. , if necessary, again at 3 pm.  The Saskatchewan Huskies will host the winner in the quarter-finals. 

UVic’s Grant Sitton will be a focus for ‘Horns defenders this weekend.        photo – UVic Athletics

#11 Victoria Vikes at #6 Lethbridge Pronghorns –  Prior to last weekend’s play, the Vikes were literally hanging by a thread, and needing a home sweep of a good Winnipeg team to make the post-season.  They got that sweep, and now are in S. Alberta to face the ‘Horns, who own 2 League wins over the Vikes in January at Victoria.

The Pronghorns are the clear favourites with their guard leader, Dejon Burdeaux (17.1 ppg/ 5.4 rebs/ 4,5 asst/ 3.6 steals) , taking the team on his back, and leading them to key wins.  3 of Burdeaux’s main ‘wing men’ are the sharp-shooting British import, Elliott Sentance (17.6 ppg/ 7 rebs/ 40% from 3 pt),  Mike Pierzchala (11 ppg/ 6 rebs), a threat to ‘run the table’, and 6-8 Zac Overwater (11.6 ppg/ 4.3 rebs.

The Vikes have leaned very heavily on 6-8 Grant Sitton, who’s surely a Canada West all-star, with his 20 ppg/ 6.8 rebs/ and 1.2 steals.  UVic’s only other double digit scorer is rookie import guard Scott Kellum (13.2 ppg), who hits 44% from 3 pt range, and chalks -up 2.4 asst per game.  Justin Kinnear is close to 10 ppg at forward, and he will need help from  Jake Newman and Hassan Abdullahi on the glass, if the Vikes are to stay with the ‘Horns.

We like Lethbridge as the home team here;  Victoria will have to make another jump forward if they hope to get the wins.  Game times are (Mountain) 7 pm on both Friday and Saturday, and 3 pm for a Sunday game, if it’s needed.  The winner here travels to Edmonton to play the Bears in the quarter-finals.

#9 Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack   at  #8  Brandon Bobcats –  The Bobcats host their 1st play-off series since 2009 in the old gym  ( SI Director Matt Packwood tells us).  This is the 1st one in their new ‘Healthy Living Centre’.  These teams have only played 9 times, ever, with the most recent a BU home win over TRU in January of 2014, so we can’t rely on trends!

We will watch a compelling battle of the big men, as the ‘Pack bring 5th year, 6-7  import, Volodymyr Iegorov, along with 6-5 Luke Morris, and 6-5 Joe Davis, who are all double digit scorers , with Iegorov among the League’s top rebounders at 9.1 rpg. Brandon responds with high-scoring Earl Thompson Jr (16.2 ppg/ 8.6 rebs), 6-5 Chris Stanhope, and a surging giant in 6-11 John Paul from St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean.  Brandon’s guards are led by shooter, Tyvon Cooper, while TRU has wing man, Michael Rouault, and import guard, Derek Rhodes.

There will be some new-found excitement surrounding this Bobcats team at home, and, if they can limit their turnovers and continue their improved shooting, they may pull this off.  The ‘Pack played in the CW Final last year, and this young team are looking to take another crack at it.  Only improved guard play and team defense will get them to the next round.  It may take 3 games to sort this out.  Winner goes to Calgary to face the Dinos in quarter-finals. 



Overtime –

  • UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson, with comments about the RPI system, whereby his 19-1 T-Birds finished as the  4th play-off seed,  “Overall, it’s frustrating but we have known that it’s been coming for a few weeks,” said Hanson.   “It is out of our control and we’re not whining about it. Our players are long over the shock. We are getting prepped to play whomever is put in front of us.  (From  Howard Tsumura’s ‘Varsity Letters’ blog  )
  • In that same ‘Varsity Letters’ posting from last weekend, Hanson reports that Conor Morgan has an ankle injury, but is expected to be ‘shooting by the end of the week.’  Guard Phil Jalalpoor is also getting treatment for an ankle injury. UBC has a bye as a top 4 team this week, and will be at home vs the winner of the Manitoba – Regina series Feb . 23-25.



Imposing UBC Takes Over Top Spot


‘Birds  Dominate 2nd game over the Bears

Conor Morgan is big for the ‘Birds as they bomb the Bears.

at #3 UBC Thunderbirds 102  #6 Alberta Golden Bears  76 –  The Thunderbirds soar in this one, and Alberta are left in their wake, with UBC hitting the long ball, and creating far more scoring chances .   UBC takes over top spot in Canada West at 11-1, as Conor Morgan scores 22 pts/ 10 rebounds for the home side, with AJ Holloway rising up for 16 pts in support.  The T’Birds were an impressive 25/27 from the foul line, and U of A almost as sharp, at 21/24 . Mamadou Gueye had a game-high 24 pts for Alberta (11-3), Brody Clarke totalled 19 pts/ 7 rebounds, and Austin Waddoups hit 18 pts on 4/6 from 3 point range.   Box Score  

 Saskatchewan Huskies 86  at Lethbridge Pronghorns 82   –  The Huskies climb

Jaylan Morgan has a big night as his Huskies sweep at Lethbridge

over the ‘Horns with a weekend sweep, and now sit in 5th spot at 8-4, while UL drop to 8-6 .  Jaylan Morgan has a strong game for U of S, with 24 points/ 9 rebounds, and he has plenty of help from back-court mate Lawrence Moore (20 pts/ 5 rebs/ 4 asst).  Saskatchewan’s forwards Shane Osayande (17 pts/ 14 rebs) and Matt Forbes (15 pts/ 8 boards) were too much for the ‘Horns. The ‘Dogs shot 49% FG to 37% for the home squad. Dejon Burdeaux was tops for Lethbridge with 24 points/ 6 assists, while Mike Pierzchala hit 4/7 from outside for 17 points.    Box Score

at TRU Wolf Pack 91 Winnipeg Wesmen 86 –  A big 28 point final quarter lifts the ‘Pack to their 7th win vs 7 losses. Big Volodymyr Iegorov carries the heavy luggage for TRU, with 26 points and 16 rebounds, while Derek Rhodes chips in with 19 points on 4/8 from outside the arc.  TRU have a 17/21 night from the foul line vs just 3/9 for Winnipeg, who fall to 9-5. Three Wesmen score 18 pts apiece, including Narcisse Ambanza, who adds 9 rebs,  and Sean Tarver, 8 boards.  Box Score  

 Manitoba Bisons  84  at Regina Cougars  75 –  A valuable sweep for the Herd, as they dominate this game for much of the middle half, before Regina has a mini-run. Again tonight, it’s Justus Alleyn who leads the Bisons (6-6) scoring with 22 pts/ 6 rebs, and Keith Omoerah comes up with a 16 point game in support.  The Cougars (6-6) have Travis Sylvestre with 17 pts, and Brian Ofori with a double of 11 pts/ 10 boards.   Box Score 

Mt. Royal Cougars 72   at  UNBC Timberwolves 69  –   Josh Ross tallies 26 points / 15 rebounds to pace the Cougars (7-5) to a 2nd road win of the weekend, as they win a tense battle down the stretch. MRU’s Brett Layton also contributes a double -double of 13 pts/ 10 rebounds.  The T’Wolves commit a few costly turnovers in their final 10 possessions, and fail to finish in a heated 4th quarter.  Rhys Elliott tops the ‘Wolves with his 22 points/ 4 assists, but UNBC (4-10) shoot just 38% as a team, and are buried 45-21 on the boards.   Box Score   

Victoria Vikes  75 at UBC-O Heat 65  –   The Vikes (5-7) run to a 23-4 lead after 10 minutes, and that pretty well decides the issue. UVic’s Grant Sitton scores 24 points, with 3/6 from outside, and Justin Kinnear does some hard work for his 18 pts/ 10 rebound double.  Victoria score 18/29 from the line against only 5 of 8 for the Heat. Aldrich Berrios leads Okanagan (2-12) scorers with 23 pts/ 3 steals, and Ryan Morck is 5/5 from the floor for 11 points.   Box Score   

GMU’s Thadius Galvez

MacEwan Griffins 98  at Brandon Bobcats 86  –  The Griffs’ Adonis Montfort-Palomino tacks up 15 points in the opening half, staking GMU to a 48-38 lead. Mac built on that lead in the 3rd, as Brandon couldn’t ever get any sustained momentum.  Veteran guards, Thadius Galvez (22 pts/ 9 assists/ 5 steals ) and Denzel James (16 pts/ 6 rebs) carried the Griffins through a 50 point 2nd half, as the Edmonton crew earn their 4th win.  Montfort-Palomino finishes his night with 17 pts/ 6 assists.  Brandon (5-9) got yeoman service from Earl Thompson Jr, with his 31 points and 8 rebounds, while Tyvon Cooper scores 18 plus 3 steals.  Box Score  


Scores from the East  on Saturday – 

Atlantic – at UNB 81 Memorial 74, UPEI  95 at St. FX 94

Quebec – at #9 McGill 71 UQAM 49 , at Bishops 84  at Laval 69

Ontario – at #1 Carleton 99 Laurentian 52,  at #2 Ottawa 72 Nipissing  56,  #10 McMaster 73  at Guelph 72 , Toronto 75 at Queens 71 ,  #7 Brock 71 at Lakehead  69  , #4 Ryerson 69 at York 52,  at Western Ont. 90 Windsor 65 , Algoma  77 at Waterloo  68


Overtime –

  • UFV Coach, Adam Friesen, after their strong performance in a close loss (92-87) at Calgary on Friday,  “The things we’ve been trying to get through to the group all year is, you need to help the players beside you – you have to play together. Calgary, with their athleticism, makes you pay when you hold the basketball, and the guys realized we had to move without the ball and keep the ball moving to have success. Tonight we did that as well as we have all season, and we found some really good shots.”
  • Dinos star wing man, Thomas Cooper, has seen his scoring totals drop in the last several games.  Despite this, he has so many other things to bring to the table.  He is a strong rebounder and he makes some great passes leading to teammates’ hoops.  In the final minutes, it is often Cooper who, as he did on Friday, scores a clutch basket or free throw.  Calgary needs his senior leadership if they are to contend for another Canada West title.
  • CW Women’s scores on Saturday –  Saskatchewan 88  Lethbridge 53 ,  Regina 92  Manitoba 59 ,  Winnipeg 88 TRU 65,  Alberta 60  UBC 57,  UNBC 64  MRU 57,  Victoria 75  UBC-O 52,  Brandon 61  MacEwan 53,


Regina Preview – Weekend Summary


Cougars ‘Fitting the Pieces Together’ –   preview 

 Regina Cougars

’15-’16 – Lost to TRU in 1/4 Finals,     11 wins – 9 losses  (Pioneer Division)


Returnees – 5th years –  Aaron McGowan , 6-1 guard, Toronto. Travis Sylvestre, 6-4 fwd, Regina. Stephen Shields, 6-7 fwd, Brandon. Matthew Augustine, 5-11 guard, Toronto .  4th years – Alex Igual, 6-4 guard, Barcelona, Spain . Brandon Tull, 6-4 guard, Ajax, ON. Brian Ofori, 6-6 fwd, Montreal. 2nd year- Samuel Hillis, 6-5 guard, Regina.

Newcomers –  Johneil Johnson, 1st year,  6-1 guard, Lake Echo, N.S. / Combine Academy (N.C.).  Ramiro Martinez, 6-6 fwd, 3rd, Yecla, Spain (Barstow College). Kornel Tokolyi, 6-7 fwd, 3rd, Budapest, Hungary (Barstow College). Benjamin Hillis, 1st, 6-1 guard, Regina, ( LeBoldus HS).  Kieran Hebert, 1st, 5-9 guard, Regina (Riffel HS). Carter Millar, 1st, 6-4 fwd, Regina (Leboldus HS). Brayden Kuski, 1st, 6-1 guard, Regina (Leboldus HS).

Head Coach Steve Burrows is using the ‘pre-season’ to get a good look at all his ‘ponies’; “We’re trying to see how to best utilize each guy’s talents, and what’s the best way for us to play.”  Yes, the 4th year bench boss has 7 returnees in either their 5th or 4th years, but he’s also working to blend in 7 new faces, including 5 in the 1st year out of high school.

“The team worked well in their summer program, and we’re pleased with how they’ve arrived at camp this Fall,” says Burrows.  “We are making adjustments with our style of play, and getting a good look at everybody in these October games.”

Guard, Brandon Tull (L) and forward, Brian Ofori (R) will be among the core group for the Regina Cougars.

Guard, Brandon Tull (L) and forward, Brian Ofori (R) will be among the core group for the Regina Cougars.

Canada West all-star, Jonathan Tull has graduated with his 17 ppg/5.2 rebs/2 asst/2.5 steals, so how do the Cougs fill that gap?  Burrows says, “We’re working to build confidence in the new roles some of our guys may have.  Not unlike everyone else!”

Both Aaron McGowan and Alex Igual are experienced lead guards, and rookie Kieran Hebert has the ‘bloodlines’ and skills to step in there eventually.  Matt Augustine, a defensive stopper, returns for his final season after missing last year.  Samuel Hillis goes into his 2nd year ready to step up, and his brother joins the team as a star local grad.  Both are sons of former Cougars Head Coach James Hillis.

Brandon Tull and Travis Sylvester can be real leaders on the wing, and they get some big man help from 5th year, Stephen Shields. A pair of imports from Barstow College, CA , Ramiro Martinez a Spaniard, and Kornel Tokolyi from Hungary, will try and work their way into the rotation, and help in the paint.

After having narrowly missed a slot in last March’s CW Final 4, the green Cougars will be aiming to get back to the post season.  ‘It’s a new team”, says Burrows, “ and we’re trying to find a fit for each guy, and an effective style for this team.”

The schedule gives the Cougs  some key games on home court, and we’ll note they’re another squad with a 4/6, back-loaded schedule, with a bye in the 1st semester.

Schedule –  Nov-Dec – Victoria, at MacEwan, at Trinity W., Saskatchewan,  (4)            Jan-Feb -at UBC-O, Manitoba, at Brandon, Calgary, at Winnipeg, TRU (6)

Prediction – Playoffs, we would bet .


Vikes, Cougars Still ‘Works in Progress’

Out on the Island, the results of the GUY VETRIE MEMORIAL show McMaster Marauders of the OUA winning the event with a 3-0 mark ( 69-62 over McGill,  75-61 over Regina, and 76-65 past the Vikes on Saturday – Box Score). Victoria went 1-2, with a lop-sided  loss to McGill 69-44-  Box Score, and then their lone win, in a comeback, over Regina 76-67.  The Cougars, without Aaron McGowan, and having star recruit,  Johneil Johnson, go down with an injury, dropped all 3 games.

Both UVic and Regina are trying to incorporate a significant number of new faces into the playing roster.  Obviously, more games left in October to try and do that.


A nice pair of wins for the Winnipeg Wesmen at Lakehead … 76-70 on Friday  Box Score, and  74-69 Saturday over the ‘Wolves. Box Score

UBC-O beats last year’s CCAA champs, Vancouver Island 82-53

Saskatchewan squeaks past Medicine Hat College  66-65 in OT  Box Score

UNBC beats Red Deer College 94 -83  The T’Wolves also win over NAIT 82-67

MacEwan beats UNBC 96-73 in Edmonton     Box Score ,  and Alberta topped the T- Wolves 92-61.

Elsewhere –

CIS champs, Carleton Ravens, served notice that they are back with ‘bad intentions’, as Carleton Rthey sweep the field at Acadia’s Stu Aberdeen Tournament in Wolfeville.  It was Ravens 85-62 over Laval (just loosening up …), then, on Saturday Carleton crushed the home Axemen 112-62.  The Blackbirds danced on St. FX on Sunday, to the tune of 116-72. Quels joueurs !

At UNB’s Eric Garland, the class of the field were the Saint Mary’s Huskies, as they beat the Reds 98-84, then Maine -Ft. Kent 84 – 73, and finish Sunday over Bishops Gaiters 82-66.

Concordia handles Queen’s in Montreal 74-53

UQAM also beats Queen’s  83-61, and Ottawa 76-73

More scores –

Toronto 105  Memorial 69,  Ryerson  123 Mohawk Coll. 76,  Laurier 74  Nipissing  50,  Bishops 69  UNB 60, Dalhousie 83 Mt. St. Vincent 54, Seneca College 80  York 78,  St FX 82  Laval 66, Guelph 90  Memorial 65, Laurier 62  Algoma 52,

Sunday –  Sheridan Coll. 94 Guelph 80, Dalhousie 102 Holland Coll. 92, Western Ont. 64 Humber Coll. 60, Memorial 78 York 74, Maine- Ft. Kent 85 UNB 81, Nipissing 68  Algoma 64, Laval 84 Acadia 76



Overtime –

Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos' Canada West Player of the Year, leads a group of '15-'16 all-stars who are returning this year.

Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos’ Canada West Player of the Year, leads a group of ’15-’16 all-stars who are returning this year.                 photo –  David Moll, UC Athletics

  •   10 of the 15 Canada West All-stars from last season return to their teams for this campaign.  They are Player of the Year Thomas Cooper – Calgary, Jordan Jensen-Whyte- UBC, Mamadou Gueye- Alberta, Keith Omoerah – ManitobaBrett Layton – Mt. Royal, Conor Morgan – UBC, Denzel James – MacEwan, Denzel Lynch-Blair – Winnipeg, Volodymyr Iegorov – TRU, Lars Schleuter – Calgary.




Dinos and Wolf Pack – Top Playoff Seeds


Dinos Sweep Bears … Regina gets big home win

Speedy guard, David Kapinga, and the Calgary Dinos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Overtime –   

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

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

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

Late Burst Boosts Regina


Jonathan Tull leads Regina to a clutch win over Winnipeg Friday night.

Jonathan Tull leads Regina to a clutch win over Winnipeg Friday night.

 at Regina Cougars  82   Winnipeg Wesmen  72  –  Regina captures game one with Jonathan Tull mounting charge after charge on the hoop off the break, and counting 25 pts/6 rebs on the night.  A fast – paced game with Winnipeg in serious foul trouble by the middle of the 3rd frame.  Big men Ryan Oirbans and Nathaniel Johnson foul out early in the final quarter, leaving the scoring for the Ws to the dazzling duo of Jelane Pryce ( 25 points / 12 rebs) and Denzel Lynch-Blair (19 points ). Pryce leaves the game with a hand injury in the opening minute of the 4th quarter, but trainers wrap it up, and he finishes well.

Winnipeg storms back from a 7 point deficit to take the lead by 1 with 2:15 left, but, after a time-out, the Cougars respond with 11 straight to snatch the win. Alex Igual helped Regina with 11 pts/ 10 rebs, and Travis Sylvester scored 11 with 12 boards. The Cougars hit 43% FG vs 38% for the Wesmen, with both teams having the cold hands on their long -range shooting, hitting just a combined  6/35 for 17%.  Game 2 goes Saturday.  Box Score


Overtime –

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  • We’ve noticed more CIS, college, and high school  teams ‘packing-into’ zone defences in recent games, so, for Christmas, and in time to prepare the squad for January-March contests, you coaches out there should order a copy of the hot new book by Ken Shields and Del Harris – ‘Attacking the Zone Defenses’Order now – order here!  Harris, a defensive mastermind with great NBA experience, notably with the Houston Rockets, L.A. Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks.  Shields, of course, is the legendary head coach of the ‘80s era Victoria Vikes dynasty, and with NBA and International credentials. (This, unfortunately, won’t help we poor wretches toiling with mini-ball or grade school teams  … no zones allowed ! )

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  •  Calgary hosts Alberta in a single game Saturday … Women at 5 pm and Men at 7.  The Men’s Dinos go in at 5-3, while the Bears are 4-4 in the tight Pioneer Division race.


Winnipeg – Alberta in Wesmen Final


Mamadou Gueye sparks Alberta with a big double-double as they defeat Brandon in the semi.

Mamadou Gueye sparks Alberta with a big double-double as they defeat Brandon in the semi-final at Winnipeg.

 One Point Quarter Sinks Bobcats

 Alberta Golden Bears 70  Brandon Bobcats  66 –  Brandon looked solid after establishing a 43-33 half-time lead, then they set what has to be a record for offensive frustration, as they score but a single point in the 3rd quarter, and trail by 1 going into the 4th. The Bears offense responds in that final frame to beat back a Bobcat charge to gain the final vs Winnipeg. Mamadou Gueye with a monster 19 pt/17 rebound double led the GBs, and 5th year wing man, Joel Friesen, scored 20 to aid the Bears’ cause. D.J. Jordan had a game-high 22 points for Brandon, but the ‘Cats gave up too much in that fateful 3rd frame.  Box Score

  Unknown-2Winnipeg Wesmen  91  Manitoba Bisons  77   –  Jelane Pryce is fast becoming one of the big stories of this Canada West season, and he adds a new chapter with a dominant  29 point effort,  catapulting the Wesmen to a semi-final win over the UW’s big rival, the Manitoba Bisons. Pryce hit 11/21 from the floor and added 8 rebounds, as the W’s outshot the Herd 48% to 42% on the night.  Chris Baxter chipped in 19 pts. for Winnipeg, while Amarjit Basi had another strong game for Manitoba with 17 points.  The Wesmen will meet Alberta in Tuesday night’s championship final, while Manitoba takes on Brandon for 3rd. The Bisons started fast and grabbed a 47-34 lead at the half, but the Ws stormed back with 57 points to 30 in the 2nd half to rip the game away from their city rivals.  Box Score


Consolation games –

 Lakehead Thunderwolves  72  Calgary Dinos 61  –   After an aggressively played 1st Lakeheadquarter, the ‘Wolves were up 25 – 24 , and it looked like an interesting (left-side of the draw) game.  Not so much, as the Dinos were ‘offensively challenged’ after that, and found themselves down 60 – 44  after 30 minutes.  Neither team shot it well  (37% apiece) , but Lakehead   hit 11 treys to 7 for Calgary and were 17/22 from the line vs 10/18 for the Dinos. Ryan Doornick scored a game-high 24 for the winners, with Mor Menashe hitting 20.  Calgary got 14 from Matt Letkeman, the only one to reach double figures.  Calgary faces NAIT in the 7/8 game on Tuesday, while Lakehead plays Regina in the consolation Final.   Box Score

Regina Cougars  73  NAIT  Ooks  58 –  Matt Augustine has stepped up for Coach Steve

Regina's Matt Augustine is showing a scoring touch in Winnipeg.

Regina’s Matt Augustine is showing a scoring touch in Winnipeg.

Burrows and his Cougars, in the absence of high-scoring wing man, Jonathan Tull.  Augustine, a 4th year guard from Toronto via Medicine Hat College, hit double figures for the 2nd straight game (scoring 16 and claiming 10 rebounds) in the Wesmen Classic to launch Regina into a consolation final vs Lakeland on Tuesday.  Rookie post Zach Michalicz jumped in with his own double-double of 15 pts/10 boards, and 3rd year forward Travis Sylvestre added 10 and 10. The Ooks got 17 from Donny Moss, but a FG% of 30% and a rebound deficit of 63-42 torpedoed their chances. NAIT plays Calgary in the 7/8 game on Tuesday.   Box Score


 Other CIS Scores –

at Ryerson  … Sunday – Mohawk Coll. 99  Bishop’s  98  , (from Saturday – Ryerson 121  Mohawk 74 , on Monday it was Ryerson 97  Bishop’s  60 as the Rams take no prisoners. 

at Laval’s Tournament –  Le Rouge et Or  76   Algoma  70   ,  Nipissing  74  Montmorency (College)  57,  Laval 94 Nipissing 74

Westminster Coll. (UT)  81 Victoria 80  OT,   Huntington U. (CA) 78  UNBC 57, Dakota Wesleyen 83   Concordia  53, 

 Guelph 56  Rochester Coll. (NY)  55,     Windsor 85  NW Ohio 79


Overtime –

  •   The Regina Cougars’ Jonathan Tull, the leading scorer in Canada West (20.5 ppg) in the 1st half of the season, is absent from the Wesmen Classic due to a hand injury.  No indication of when he may return to action.  Import transfer guard Alex Igual, however, looks like he may miss the remainder of the season with continuing injury problems.  Tough for Regina, who could be a very tough out with both these guys at full clip.
  • The Calgary Dinos, who are not back into League play until a 2 game set vs the Pronghorns in Lethbridge on Jan. 16/17, will make the quick turn-around after the Wesmen Classic, as they board a bus for Montana heading for a January 2 date with Montana Tech in Butte, then a game at Helena the next day (1 pm) vs Carroll College.  Coach Damian Jennings Women’s Dinos will be playing the 2 Montana schools as well. The Women are currently playing in a tournament at Windsor (Dec. 28-30)  against the #1 ranked Lancers, McGill, and Western.  They dropped game 1 … McGill 63  Calgary 50.
  • The Cape Breton Capers did not, in fact, play in the Ryerson Tournament this Holidaythere was a communication mix-up, and the Capers were ultimately not prepared to make the trip.  # 3 Ryerson has scheduled a double with Bishop’s  as a make-up game.  (Lucky Gaiters !)

Manitoba Ties Calgary for Top Spot



 Canada West – Saturday games

Flawless offensive effort from Darian Collins leads the Huskies to a sweep of UVic.

Flawless offensive effort from Darian Collins leads the Huskies to a sweep of UVic.

Pioneer Division – 

 Manitoba Bisons 73  at #10 Calgary Dinos  68 –  The Bisons fight hard for a split in the series, as they leap off to a 26-10 lead after 1, but find themselves trailing 68-66 with 1 minute left, after the Dinos came back in the 2nd half.  But a 7-0 finish secures the W for the Herd, who join Calgary in 1st place at 6-2 on the season.  It’s a strange game, with fits and starts, with Manitoba shooting only 36% FG, just slightly better than the 35% of the Dinos.  Manitoba is led by 17 pts/ 9 rebs from an energized leaper, Jonathan Alexander,  and 3 other starters in double figures, with 14 and 6 rebounds from 2nd year guard, Justus Alleyn. U of M wins the rebounding 57-45.  Calgary has Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson with 24 points and 8 rebounds, then 12 pts/7 boards by LJ Hegwood, and 11 pts from Jas Gill.   box score

at #9 Saskatchewan Huskies  95  #7 Victoria Vikes 70 –   The Vikes defense surrenders 95 points ?  Stop the presses !  Actually, ‘the hay was in the barn’ after a 56-30 opening half, as the Huskies (4-2) light it up for 60% from the floor and 16/28 for 57% from 3, with a ‘perfect game ‘ from import forward, Dadrian Collins, who does not miss a shot, and hit all 8 attempts from 3 point range for 28 points/6 rebs. Matt Forbes has 18 pts/ 4 rebs, and Ben Baker delivers 11 helpers and 8 boards.  Victoria goes away 4-2 after as significant a beating from a Canada West team as they’ve suffered in recent memory. Chris McLaughlin score 19 and has 10 rebounds for the Vikes.  box score

at Winnipeg Wesmen   77  UBC Thunderbirds  67 –  The Wesmen (5-3)sweep the T-Birds for the first time since, well, forever! Winnipeg claws their way back into contention in the Pioneer behind a blistering 32 pts on 11/14  shooting (4/5 from 3) from Jelane Pryce, and 25 pts/8 assists from Chris Baxter, while the big Aussie, Ryan Oirbans latches on to 16 boards, swats away 5 shots.  The Ws shoot 52% vs 39% for UBC, and 7/15 from outside vs 1/12 for the ‘Birds. UBC (1-5) had 21 pts/ 11 rebounds from Brylle Kamen, and 14 and 8 from Tommy Nixon, but several of their expected contributors were ice-cold. Jordan Jensen- has 9 pts/6 assists.  box score

Regina Cougars 75  at Lethbridge Pronghorns  60    –  Regina (3-5) gets the split as Travis Sylvestre shines with 23 points/ 10 boards, and Will Tallman hits 5/6 treys for 17 plus 6 rebs. Jonathan Tull registers 10 pts and 6 assists.  The Cougars advantage comes from their 11/25 treys against just 5/21 for the ‘Horns. Lethbridge (5-3) get 19 from rookie, Michael Pierzchala, and 12 from fellow 1st year, Zac Overwater, but, as a team, they shoot just 31% from the floor. box score

at Brandon 94  Trinity Western 89  –  The Bobcats (1-7) get in the W column with a solid home win punctuated by 51% FG shooting, sparked by the 26 points of Kenonte Ramsay, including 5/10 from outside the arc.   Earl Thompson Jr. also has a stellar game with 22 pts, 10 boards, 5 assists.  Trinity shot it well at 48% FG, as Denny McDonald scores 22 points and grabs 9 rebounds; on the flip side, McDonald coughs up 10 of the Spartans‘ 23 costly turnovers.    box score



Jasper Moedt is doing the job for the undefeated Cascades in the middle.

Jasper Moedt is doing the job for the undefeated Cascades in the middle.

Explorer Division – 

Fraser Valley Cascades  75  at Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack   68  –  UFV (6-0) is the only unbeaten team in Canada West, as they get the road sweep from their closest Explorer Div. pursuers, the Wolf Pack (3-3).  Once again, the Cascades spread their scoring through their line-up, with 4 in double figures led by Kevon Parchment’s 17 pts/8 rebs, and the 2 big men, Jasper Moedt ( 10 pts/12 rebs), and Nate Brown (12 pts/11 boards). Neither team shoots well (UFV at 39% and TRU-35%), and UFV grabs 51 boards to 42 for the ‘Pack. Josh Wolfram scores 24 and claims 16 big rebounds for the home team.   box score

 Mt. Royal Cougars 77  at  UNBC Timberwolves 69 –   Mt. Royal salvages a sweep as they finish with a big 28 point 4th quarter, and snuff out a T’Wolf comeback attempt. The Cougars shoot 47%, a big improvement on their recent marks, and they get 22 pts/5 rebs/7 assists from Manok Akwl. Deng Awak adds 18 points, and Kyle Wilson hauls in 10 rebounds. The visitors hit 72% (21/29) from the line vs 63% (15/24 ) for UNBC.  The ‘Wolves get 18 pts and 5 rebs from Francko Kouagnia, and 15 points from Michael Smith.  box score

  MacEwan Griffins 68  at UBC-Okanagan Heat  64  – It’s hard to shake these Griffs, as they get their 3rd split on as many weekends, with 4 starters in double figures, including 17 pts/ 9 rebs from Ryan May, and 16 pts/7 boards by Denzel James. MacEwan (3-3)  goes to the line for 20/27 vs only 6/11 for the Heat, and they turn it over 12 times to 20 for the home club. UBC-O  (2-4)  gets 19 points from rookie point, Aldrich Berrios and 14 from Cam Friesen.  box score



Other CIS Games  on Saturday – 

at #6 UNB 85   St. FX   84

Dalhousie 77   at Acadia  57

at Saint Marys  94  # 8 Cape Breton 80

UPEI 88 at Memorial  62

at McGill  64   Concordia  41

#1 Carleton 91  at Waterloo

#2 Ottawa  113  at W. Laurier  95

at  #3 Ryerson  103  Nipissing  51

at #4 McMaster  97   York   62

#5 Windsor 85  at Lakehead  76

Western  87  at Algoma  56

Laurentian 67  at Toronto  64

at Brock 98  Queens  89 OT



Overtime –

( L - R ) MRU's Jayla Verney, Coach Harvey, Desiree Oakley, and Tyleigha Nelson. (photo from The Calgary Herald)

( L – R ) MRU’s Jayla Verney, Coach Harvey, Desiree Oakley, and Tyleigha Nelson.                                    (photo from MRU Athletics)

  • Fraser Valley coach, Adam Friesen after Friday’s win at Kamloops, “This was our best game of the year,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “Every year our goal is to get better every time we step out on the floor, and this was by far the most consistent we’ve played, in league anyway. “We are a more balanced team than we have been in recent years,” Friesen noted, “and hopefully that makes us tougher to guard.” (From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics)
  •   After their Friday loss at Sask. “Take your pick of things [which led to the loss],” said UVic coach Craig Beaucamp. “We had unfortunate turnovers and all their second-chance baskets hurt us, too. We were not nearly good enough to beat a good team on the road. We were not confident from the get-go. After that second quarter, we were chasing the game. There are no magic plays to draw up. We just have to be more determined and guard the ball better,” said Beaucamp.   (From a Times-Colonist story by Cleeve Dheensaw).