Final 4 ‘Wide Open’ – Friday Semi-Finals

 

 

Berths in U-Sports Nationals Up for Grabs

One win away.  For the 4 teams in this week’s Final 4, their clearest focus may well be the one major step they have to take to get to the National Championship tournament in Halifax on March 9-12.   Win Friday, and you’re in.

This makes for as intense a game as they will have played all year.  The host Calgary Dinos won last year’s Canada West Final, and went on to reach the championship game vs Carleton last March in Vancouver.  The largely veteran Dinos are aiming for a repeat appearance, but will have a real tussle with the Manitoba Bisons. The Herd have not played in a National Final 8 Championship since 1985, and they are aching to seize this opportunity.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have had fairly recent runs to a Nationals Tournament, with Alberta in 2014 and Saskatchewan in both 2014 and 2015.  The Bears and Huskies split their regular season series in Saskatoon in early February, and their Friday tip-off at 3 pm will continue a fierce rivalry .

5th year Huskies forward, Trevor Severinski, hopes to find some magic against the Golden Bears                  Photo – Huskies Athletics

# 9 Saskatchewan Huskies  vs #8  Alberta Golden Bears –  Saskatchewan are worried about the Bears’ ability to put up points, and Alberta’s staff will be devising strategies to defend the post combo of Shayne Osayande and Matt Forbes.  The 3 point shot could obviously be a difference maker, as it has been for Canada West’s best long-range shooting team, U of A,  much of the regular season.

The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye shoots 41.5% from 3 point range, and he’s the 5th best of the GB’s shooters from outside the arc ! (Gueye is 12th in CW, and, of course, he has a few other skills to bring to the party.)  Austin Waddoups 46.8%, Andre Kelly 44.7%, Geoff Pippus 42.6%, and Ivan Ikomey 42.2%.  Hot.  And the Bears still have the inside threat of all-star post man, Brody Clarke.

The Huskies Osayande can take over a game.  He’s a walking, leaping, shot-blocking, double-double.  And his muscular ‘mate,  Forbes, has that 5th year zeal as he steps on the stage for one of his last performances. The ‘Dogs may live and die with the 2 -way games of their guard corps, Lawrence Moore, Jaylan Morgan, and Alex Unruh.  Getting Morgan back is vital to their cause, as is the rejuvenation of the offensive threat posed by ‘small forward’, Trevor Severinski.  This 5th year shooter has found his shooting eye at just the right time.

This is a ‘street fight’ kind of game, which we see as a toss-up.  Shake hands and go to a neutral corner.   It’s a matinee game time of 3 pm .   Canada West TV

Calgary’s Mitch Ligertwood should be a key figure vs the Bisons.                   Photo- David Moll – UC Athletics

#5 Calgary Dinos  vs  Manitoba Bisons –  The Bisons come off a 2 game road sweep of the previously 25-1 UBC Thunderbirds.  They should be on a ‘Wanted Poster’ !  Armed and dangerous !  The 4 pillars of this team, Ilarion Bonhomme, A.J. Basi, Keith Omoerah, and Justus Alleyn averaged 33.5 minutes apiece, and tallied 88% of the Herd’s points in Vancouver.

Bonhomme is most dangerous as a penetrator, and Alleyn has been their ‘drop dead’ scorer for most of the season.  Omoerah is a multi-faceted weapon, with his rebounding, scoring, and leadership.  Basi has been a streaky shooter, but has a knack at crunch time.  The Dinos will know that they can’t give him too much free room.  Off the bench Coach Kirby Schepp utilizes veterans Malik Irwin and Joey Nitychoruk along with all-rookie forward  James Wagner.

Calgary will be playing a variety of ‘small ball’, very likely.  Mitch Ligertwood had a strong series in the post against TRU, and he has the experience from last year’s Final 4 to inspire his efforts.  The ‘overall team effort’ is the key factor, according to Coach Dan Vanhooren, and he looks to the defensive skills of perimeter  players led by ultra-quick David Kapinga,  shooting guard Thomas Cooper, and his side-kicks, the gritty Jhony Verrone, the spidery, energetic, Mambi Diawara, and skilled rookie, Max Eisle.

Veterans Dallas Karch and Jasdeep Gill are 5th year players who are wanting to go out as winners, and they have both shown an ability to make an impact.  This match-up produced a split on the season’s opening weekend at UC;  we should expect a rousing affair, and quite possibly a ‘down-to-the-wire’ finish.           8 pm on Canada West TV

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In the East –    

Carleton’s Connor Wood, OUA Player of the Year.
photo – Ottawa Citizen

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 has  #1 Carleton vs  #4 Brock at 4:50 Eastern time , and #3 Ottawa vs #2 Ryerson  7:50  from Carleton U. in Ottawa   Both on  OUA TV   The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.   For more detail, check in with Mark Wacyk’s comprehensive  CANhoops.ca  blog, with great OUA coverage.

Atlantic  –   The festive annual tradition of the Atlantic Tournament at the Halifax Scotia Bank Centre will tip-off on Friday with the two Quarter-Finals –  Acadia vs  Memorial  at 6:30  Atlantic time , and  St. Mary’s vs  St. FX  at 8:30.  Both of these games are available live on AUS TV    .   Friday’s winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)  with the championship final going Sunday at 4:30.   Dalhousie will be the host team for the U-Sports Nationals.

Quebec –   Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

 

Overtime –

  • There is some heated discussion surrounding the one ‘At-Large or ‘Wild-card’ spot in the March 9-12,  U-Sports Final 8 Nationals  to be awarded by a Coaches Committee after play this Sunday.  We wrongly suggested that Canada West has a rule that only Final 4 teams can be considered.  Apparently not, so UBC is able to receive consideration, despite having lost 2 straight to Manitoba in CW Quarter-Finals.  Who knows how this will go?  The results this weekend will be a big factor, of course.  It seems to suggest in the U-Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria  that teams advancing further down the play-off trail be placed in a category 1 ‘cluster’ of teams for consideration.  This is one of the sections which lends more subjectivity to the exercise.
  •  Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren, on his feelings about 4th year guard, David Kapinga’s absence from the CW all-star list.   “Vanhooren was pleased with Kapinga’s performance, calling him an “unrecognized all-star.”  “It’s a shame that a player with that level of talent doesn’t get recognized by our league in that fashion,” he said. “I think that he’s clearly one of the better players in the league and he showed that in the fourth quarter (in last Friday’s win over TRU) . He’s an all-star in my mind.”   From a story in UC’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet. 
  • Forward Lars Schleuter is side-lined for the Dinos

  • Two significant absences last week as their teams qualified for the  Final 4  were  Jaylan Morgan of Saskatchewan  and Lars Schleuter of Calgary.   Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk suggests, “ He’s worked hard to recover, and made significant progress, so  we are expecting Morgan to be back in the line-up for the Semi-Final Friday vs Alberta.”  Schleuter, however, doesn’t expect to be in action this week for the Dinos, and he said “It’s tough to watch from the sidelines, but I have confidence in my teammates this week”.

 

 

 

Bisons, Dinos, Huskies – All on to Final 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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Overtime –

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

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

 

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

 

Road Teams Look Good In Opening Games

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Mamadou Gueye leads the Bears over UL  photo – Bears Athletics

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

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

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In the East –  Wednesday

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

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

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

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Overtime –

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

Huskies Grind Out a Split With the Bears

 

Alberta makes it close, but the Huskies grind-out a big win

at # 9 Saskatchewan  68  # 7  Alberta  65 –   Facing a 43-28 half-time deficit, Alberta charged back to tie it, then lead it several times in the 4th quarter.  Saskatchewan (12-6) finally wins it on free throws in the last seconds, and get a crucial split.  Defense over-shadows offense in this one, as both squads settle for 39% FG shooting. Shayne Osayande has another notable outing for the Huskies with 23 pts/ 11 rebounds , while Seniors, Matt Forbes (14 pts/ 7 rebs) and Trevor Severinski (12 pts/ 5 boards) are also difference-makers.  Alberta are now 13-5, as they get 19 pts/ 6 rebs from Brody Clarke, and both Austin Waddoups  and Mamadou Gueye scoring 17 each.   Box Score    

at Brandon  92  Manitoba  77  –   This is a banner weekend for the Bobcats , as they clip their provincial rivals, Manitoba, twice, and on Saturday they fashion as good a game as they’ve had all season. The ‘Cats out-shoot (44%-38%), out-rebound (58-40) the Bisons, while beating UM to the ball on most chances.  Earl Thompson Jr racks up 27 points/ 12 rebounds to lead the way, and Tyvon Cooper is good for 22 points, including 12/12 from the line. BU’s 6-11 post man, John Paul, is a force, with 18 points/ 15 boards and 4 blocks. Manitoba have Justus Alleyn with 26 points/ 6 rebs, but they never real threaten as the Bobcats build on their lead in the 4th quarter.   Box Score  

at  Winnipeg 87 Regina  81 –    Replicating their late surge for a Friday win, the Wesmen

come-from-behind for the sweep with a 26-19 4th quarter.  The senior guard, Jamar Farley goes 6/10 from deep, and leads Winnipeg scorers with 22.  Sean Tarver has a strong finish and tallies 20 points, as the Ws move up to 12-6, and in good shape to claim a home play-off start. Regina (7-11) may be on the outside after these 2 losses, as the Cougars just could not finish either game. They get 18 points each from Alex Igual (5 asst/ 5 steals)  and Johneil Johnson (9 rebs)  Box Score

Calgary 76 at Thompson Rivers 60 –   The Dinos have control of this one with a dominating 24-10 spread in the 3rd quarter.  Despite an unusually cold weekend for 3 point range, UC gets a valuable sweep, and move  up to 14-4.  Thomas Cooper has 19 pts/ 8 rebs to lead the way, with David Kapinga tacking on 17 points/ 5 rebs/ 6 assists/ 5 steals. Buzz-saw.  Calgary is aided by an aggressive defense, forcing 24 TRU turnovers to only 11 for the Dinos.  Volodymyr Iegorov notches 16 pts/ 8 boards in his final home game for the Orange, while rookie Trent Monkman pours in several late hoops to post 15 pts.  The Wolf-Pack are now 8-10, and still having to scrap for a post-season next weekend.  Box Score 

 

at  MacEwan  93  UBC-Okanagan  64 –    A decisive win for MacEwan on their Senior Night, as they  improve to  7-11, with a chance of a play-off berth still alive.  51 points in the 2nd half presses the issue, as GMU shoots 52% from the floor, getting 25 points/ 8 rebs from Thadius Galvez.  5th year wing, Denzel James, adds 22 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 blks, and Keith Gerdes has 18 pts.   UBC-O (2-16) are led by Aldrich Berrios’ 21 points, and 19 pts/ 8 boards by rookie Triston MatthewsBox Score

Trinity Western  71 at  Mt. Royal  54   –  It’s 48-18 TWU in the final 20 minutes, as the visitors grab a satisfying split after a dispiriting loss Friday.  The Cougars, overall, seemed listless in this one, with 28 turnovers providing Trinity all the extra chances they needed. Max Vitala, scores 21 points/ 5 rebs/ 5 steals, while the Spartans also get 17 points and 10 big rebounds from Patrick Vandervelden Pogos Trunyan looks steady at the point for TWU, and ge records 16 pts/ 5 rebs/5 steals, and his team gets to 3-15 in the standings.  MRU (8-10) shoot just 37%, with Josh Ross grabbing 16 rebounds to go with 8 points, and the 2 graduating players, Derek Wolf and Brett Layton (9 boards)  hit 11 and 10 points respectively.   Box Score  

logo UFV

at Fraser Valley  89  Victoria  79 –   A sweep for the Cascades, raising their play-off chances , at 9-9, and dimming UVic’s with their drop to 7-11.  UFV ring up 8 points in the final 20 minutes to pull away, as 5 Cascades go for double digits on the score-sheet. Denver Sparks-Guest has a good outing off the bench, with 19 pts/ 6 rebs, while 5th year guard, Vijay Dhillon, scores 17/ 6 rebs/ 4 assts, and Nav Bains records an 11 point/ 11 rebound double. The Vikes’ Justin Kinnear stands out with a 24 point/ 5 rebound game, and rookie Scott Kellum hits 17 pts/ 4 assts.  Box Score   

 at   UBC  109  UNBC  61   –   It may have been a slow start for the Thunderbirds, but they got rolling to the tune of 72 points in the 2nd half !  UBC are now 17-1 heading into the final week of League play, while the T’ Wolves fall to 4-14. Jordan Jensen-Whyte scores 24/ 5 rebs for the ‘Birds, and Conor Morgan tosses in 20 pts/ 6 boards, as the whole line-up is utilized in this blow-out.  Rhys Elliott has a good one for UNBC with 23 points, and Vaggelis Loukas adds 16 pts/ 9 rebounds.  Box Score   

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Scores from the East –

Atlantic –  at #10 Dalhousie 91 Memorial  69, UNB 107 at UPEI  92 , at Acadia 114 Cape Breton 99

Quebec – # 8 McGill 87 at Bishops 59 , Concordia 57 at Laval  55

In the OUA …  at # 4 Brock 71 W. Laurier 58, Waterloo 83 at McMaster 62 , at Lakehead 68  Nipissing  57,  Western 86 at Algoma 75,  at Laurentian 79 Guelph 50 , at Toronto  85 Queens  77

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Overtime –

  • Why didn’t Manny Dulay and Nav Bains of UFV start vs UVic  in Friday’s big game?  Here’s the story from Dan Kinvig, Fraser Valley Communications Coordinator, ‘ With the Lower Mainland of B.C. buffeted by a rare snowstorm  … Dulay and teammate Nav Bains, traveling from their hometown of Surrey to UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre, were stuck  … and the clock ticked ever-closer to game time. We’ll let Dulay pick up the story from here.’  “We were in the left lane (headed eastbound), and the right lane opened up,” he began. “As we switched, Nav’s car started swerving and we actually did a 360 (degree spin) in both lanes. We ended up in the left lane, but now we’re facing these cars (going in the same direction). Luckily, no one was coming right behind us, and everyone went around us. We didn’t end up in the ditch, and no car hit us.  We didn’t want to tell anyone (when we got to the gym), but we actually almost died.”
  • Jamar Farlay, Winnipeg’s 5th year guard, knows how to celebrate Senior Night, as he buries 6 treys for the Wesmen, and breaks away for a buzzer-beating flush to finish the 3rd quarter.  His efforts pace the W’s to a sweep, and well on the way to a good play-off seed.  And how about the final home appearance for Brandon’s Earl Thompson Jr, who goes for 27 points/ 12 rebounds  in the ‘Cats 2nd consecutive win over Manitoba.
  • Not sure why it would be a violation for several players to leap up off the bench and cheer the efforts of teammates on the floor.  Enthusiasm, joy, congratulations.  If it’s not ‘excessive’ , why create an unnecessary rule conflict ?
  • Fitting congratulations from Trinity Western Coach, Aaron Muhic, for his troops after their fine effort in a win at Mt. Royal, “It was a good win for our guys tonight,” said  .. Muhic. “I’m very proud of our toughness and willingness to compete. We finally had a game where we put the little things together and we attacked for most of the game. It was a great overall team effort.”  (From TWU’s Mark Janzen). 

 

 

The 2 Hottest Teams in Canada West

 

 

 

Thunderbirds and Bisons both on a roll in League play 

5th year defensive stopper, Will Ondrik and his T’Birds teammates move to 15-1 on the season.   photo – Richard Lam  ,  UBC Athletics

The 2 hottest teams in Canada West continued to reel off the wins this past weekend. The UBC Thunderbirds, as expected, swept their 2 game set with the Brandon Bobcats in Vancouver, and the ‘Birds are now 7 wins in a row, 2nd only to the Manitoba Bisons in winning streaks, with the Herd up to 8.  Manitoba got a scare on Friday at home against the UNBC T’Wolves , but pulled it out, and won more easily on Saturday.

But, in this ‘Year of the RPI Monster’, both teams lost ground in the ‘order of finish’ race.  Last week the T’Birds stood at .6559 , but dropped .109, still in the top spot for the moment.  The Herd, after their 2 wins, fell 149 points from last week’s .5842.  (I guess you just play your best, and let the chips fall …. ).  UBC looks to be destined for the 3rd or 4th play-off seed, even at 19-1, while Manitoba are likely 5th in the RPI ordered seeding list.

Both these teams will be ‘tough outs’ in the post-season , and may be good picks for the Final Four.  Our best guess for the hosts may be either the Alberta Golden Bears or the Saskatchewan Huskies, who seem to rise to the top spot as we try various guesses for the results of remaining League games.  The Dogs and GBs meet in saskatoon this coming weekend to decide the issue.

Who else is going well?  The Lethbridge Pronghorns have won 4 straight, and locked up a play-off spot, and have a bye week to marshal their forces before their final week’s appointment vs the Bears in Edmonton.

 

15 League All-Stars will be tough to decide

Shane Osayande, Huskies          photo – Huskies Athletics

Coaches across Canada West are nominating top players for all-star consideration at season’s end.  They have 15 players to select, and we thought we’d look at an expanded number of possible candidates.

Keith Omoerah, Justus Alleyn of Manitoba  … Denzel Lynch-Blair- Winnipeg … Earl Thompson Jr – Brandon … Brandon Tull – Regina … Shane Osayande, Matt Forbes – Saskatchewan … Dejon Burdeaux, Elliott Sentance – Lethbridge … Brett Layton, Josh Ross – Mt. Royal  …  Thomas Cooper, David Kapinga – Calgary … Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, Mamadou Gueye, Alberta … Thadius Galvez – MacEwan … Rhys Elliott – UNBC … Volodymyr Iegorov – Thompson Rivers …  Aldrich Berrios – UBC-Okanagan … Patrick Vandervelden – Trinity Western … Manny Dulay – Fraser Valley … Conor Morgan , Jordan Jensen-Whyte – UBC … Grant Sitton – Victoria

So, there are 25 of the best.  We know we could form a play-off team with 10 who we left off this list, but this is a pretty good crop from which to select.

Top 10 Rookies –

Scott Kellum, UVic import guard

Narcisse Ambanza – Wesmen,   James Wagner – Bisons,  Johneil Johnson –  Reg. Cougars,  Max Eisle – Dinos, Scott Kellum –  Vikes,  Brett Warren  – Pronghorns, Craig Martin- MRU Cougars, Trent Monkman – Wolf Pack, Isaiah Familia – T’Birds, Matt Lafontaine – Heat

_____________________________________________________________________________

92 Years of Refereeing Experience

Richard Schear (L) and Art Unsworth (R) team up at a recent high school tourney .

Richard Schear, who lives in Redcliff, AB, began officiating basketball (and, eventually, football) after he had completed his Education degree at University. The 72 year old has been active as a ref now for 48 years, while his taller, much younger side-kick, the irrepressible Art Unsworth, has been a ‘zebra’ for 44 years.  Schear explains why he enjoys officiating …  First, the camaraderie  with the other officials.  Second, it forces him to keep in good physical shape.  Third, being a referee in high school sports, gives Richard a chance to  interact with the youth of today.  “By and large those young people who play high school sports are great kids, they will be the leaders of tomorrow,” says Schear.  Unsworth, a farmer-rancher near Maple Creek, SK, has 2 sons,  Clint (6-10) and Chris (6-8) who both graduated from U. Saskatchewan, having won a Canada West and CIS Championship with the Huskies in 2010.

As well as cheering his boys through high school (Medicine Hat, AB)  and university ball, Art, has been a mentor for many young refs in the latter part of his career. We congratulate these two fine gentlemen on their amazing contribution to the game over the years.

Overtime –  

Coach Steve Burrows         photo –  Regina Leader-Post

  • Regina Cougars head coach Steve Burrows on his team’s effort in topping the Calgary Dinos on Saturday,  “I wish I could say it was something I said or did, but these guys stuck together and they kept on working at it and kept on going,” Burrows said. “A couple of things went our way and we made some shots. It was just that whole thing of believing and trying to stick with what we were doing.”  From a Regina Leader-Post article by Rob Vanstone 
  • Huskies Coach, Barry Rawlyk, celebrated his 100th and 101st Canada West conference wins as head  man for the U of S  team with a two-game sweep at home over the Mount Royal  Cougars. Rawlyk spent the majority of his long coaching career as a high school coach, before taking over at U. Saskatchewan in 2010.  The leading active coach, in his 17th year at UBC is Kevin Hanson with 270 wins in Canada West play.  2nd is Calgary’s Dan Vanhooren, who, over the same 17 years has 201.  3rd – UVic’s Craig Beaucamp with 191 in 13 seasons. 4th – TRU’s Scott Clark, in his 17th year has 179. 5th – Barnaby Craddock of Alberta has 153 in his 12 years at 3 different schools.
  • Derek Wolf plays his final home game at MRU on Saturday.         photo – MRU Athletics

     This , of course, is the time of year for ‘Senior Nights’, as senior players finish their eligibility, and most also finish a degree. The  MRU Cougars graduating players, Brett Layton and Derek Wolf, will be honoured on Saturday night between the 4 pm Women’s game and the 6 pm Men’s contest.  TRU’s big man, Volodymyr Iegorov, plays his last home game this Saturday for the Wolf Pack, and 6 other schools will recognize the accomplishments of their senior grads this weekend.  UFV –  Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon, Winnipeg – Jamar Farley, Brandon – Earl Thompson Jr, Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem, MacEwan-  Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, and Thomas Jereniuk,   Saskatchewan – Matt Forbes, and Trevor Severinski,  UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and Will Ondrik.

 

Key Clashes in Saskatoon, Victoria

 

Saskatchewan Hosts Winnipeg, and Calgary in Victoria for Key Series’

The Winnipeg Wesmen and guard, Jamar Farley, invade Saskatoon this week.

The Winnipeg Wesmen and guard, Jamar Farley, invade Saskatoon this week.

The Winnipeg Wesmen are hoping to carry the 7-0 momentum they have built this past month as they travel West to Saskatoon to face the Saskatchewan Huskies.  The Ws, in the minds of many CIS coaches are be facing their biggest test to date, and Coach Mike Raimbault and his charges hope to repeat their sweep of the U of S from last year.

The 1-1 Dinos are in Victoria to face the 1-1 Vikes, as two other squads with ‘big plans’ match-up on Ken and Kathy Shields Court at the Blue and Gold hued CARSA Centre.  It’s a test of the #4 ranked Dinos’ and the un-ranked Vikes’ ability to pull tgether after key line-up changes for both teams.  The match-ups in our ‘key clashes’ …

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan –  Despite their 7-0 record  this Fall, the Wesmen get no mention in the CIS Top 10 poll.  Last January they got a pair of home wins over these Huskies in Winnipeg, but this road series may prove a bit more rugged. The Ws have skill and depth at guard, with Denzel Lynch-Blair, William Sesay,  Jamar Farley, and import transfer, Sean Tarver.  It remains to be seen if Billy Yaworsky and Ryan Oirbans have enough help up front to hold off a bigger U of S squad.  The Huskies feature Shane Osayande, Trevor Severinski, and Matt Forbes , 6-5 Jaylan Morgan adding another weapon. The U of S guards have to hold their own, then the ‘Dogs may howl.  Our Call –  A split is in order, especially if Winnipeg’s full court defense can be effective.

 

The Vikes and Dinos go at it out on The Island this week.

The Vikes and Dinos go at it out on The Island this week. photo – UVic Athletics

Calgary at Victoria – Two traditionally competitive teams, both in search of a sweep this weekend.  The Dinos and the Vikes had 1 impressive win last week,  and 1 ‘not-so-much’!   Thomas Cooper is a deadly offensive threat for UC, and he has Lars Schleuter, a long range bomber, alongside. The guards are explosively quick.  David Kapinga, Jhony Verrone, and newcomers Max Eisle and Mambi Diawara can be suffocating at the defensive end. Victoria are leaning heavily on 5th year forward, Grant Sitton, for scoring, and he now has Wayne Tucker Jr. (tsf Olds College) and Jake Newman (tsf Lafayette U) for assistance.  There is new depth at the guard spot where  Scott Kellum, JJ Hamel-Carey, and Hassan Abdullahi may prove an effective combo. Our Call –  The best guess might be a split, having seen just that result for the past 2 seasons in League play.


The Original ‘Mad Viking’  … screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-1-55-23-pm

The Calgary Dinos, when they play on The Island this week, should be thankful that they will not be ‘greeted’ by the original ‘Mad Viking’ mascot.  Jim ‘Mother’ Hubbard prowled the court perimeter for Coach Ken Shields and his championship UVic teams of the ’80s.  This was not a rubber axe, and ‘Hubb’ was not a subtle fan!  Opposition players of the day couldn’t help but look over their shoulders to keep an eye on his menacing presence.

Coach Shields remembers ‘only a couple of occasions ‘ when ‘Hubb’ actually did any notable damage with his weapon! One of the great characters in Canada West history.

 


And, the remainder of the Canada West slate for week 2 –

Thurs –      Lethbridge at Mt. Royal –  This is the Cougars’ home opener, and they face a Pronghorns team that has 2 wins from last week.  U of L has some building confidence in 2 import lynch-pins, guard, Dejon Burdeaux, and wing man, Elliott Sentance. The ‘Horns seem to have all their ‘antelopes’ match-fit, and they may have the local talent to compliment the skills of Bordeaux and Sentance.  Zac Overwater and Mike Pierzchala, an LCI and Winston Churchill HS grad,  can be impact players in their own right. MRU were up and down in the pre-season, and there may be some depth concerns, especially on the forward line.  The addition of the multi-talented Josh Ross (tsf Vancouver Island U.) will help, and he should combine nicely with 2nd year all-star forward, Brett Layton.  Guards Derek Wolfe and Glen Yang will have to be sharp if the Cougars are to come out on top.  Our Call –  Lethbridge could sweep, we feel.  MRU will be fighting for a split.

Coach Gil Cheung and his Brandon Bobcats are home to the UBC-O Heat.

Coach Gil Cheung and his Brandon Bobcats are home to the UBC-O Heat.   photo – Brandon Athletics

Friday / Saturday –     UBC-O at Brandon  –  This is a true mystery.  Okanagan travels to Brandon so rarely ( well, actually just once … an 8 point loss in 2014).  The ‘Cats need these wins on home court.  The Heat have some chemistry building with Aldrich Berrios and Mitch Goodwin at guard, but they also need their big men, Ryan Morck and David Manshrek to battle the BU front line.  Those ‘Big ‘Cats’ are led by the strong efforts of Earl Thompson Jr., and the  improving  John Paul, a 6-11 ‘handful’.  Import guard Tyvon Cooper seems to be the scoring guard Brandon needs, as he averaged  17 ppg last week at Alberta.    Our Call –  Who feels comfortable down the stretch?  This is a toss-up on paper, but an edge to the home team.

Thompson Rivers at Manitoba –  The Wolf Pack have a tough task in facing the Herd out in ‘Ft. Garry’.  Manitoba has the fire-power that TRU lost to graduation.  The ‘Pack still have Volodymyr Iegorov, Micheal Rouault, and Jeff Tubbs, but they are a team in the -re-building process.  The Bisons are packed with talented veterans, like Keith Omoerah, AJ Basi, Justus Alleyn, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Jonathan Alexander.  At their best, the Herd will Stampede all over many Canada West teams.  Our Call – Two decisive Manitoba wins.

Regina at MacEwan –  This is a test for two teams with playoff potential. The Cougars have the ultimate ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ team so far.  They win by 20 vs UVic last Saturday, after dropping a 95-77 home opener to the Vikes on Friday. Brian Ofori has looked like a leader on their forward line, and they have 5th year vets Travis Sylvester and Stephen Shields in their top 9.  Guards Brandon Tull, Aaron McGowan, and Alex Igual get help from newcomer, import Johneil Johnson.  MacEwan, too, have a good core of vets, with Thadius Galvez and Denzel James, their backcourt strength.  Keith Gerdes and Harrison Lane head-up a ‘medium sized’ front court  in need of some scoring punch.   Our Call –  Regina wins at least one, but MacEwan is ‘sneakily competitive’, and may surprise us.

Matt Hayashi and his TWU teammates will be up for their 'Valley Series' with UFV.

Matt Hayashi and his TWU teammates will be up for their ‘Valley Series’ with UFV.   Spartans Athletics

Trinity Western at Fraser Valley –  Flush with their Saturday win at UBC-O, the Spartans are set to challenge for ‘Kings of the Valley’ !  UFV have won all 6 games in the past 3 seasons, and will be a tough out for TWU.  The Cascades guard corps look best in this match-up, with Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon, and 6-4 transfer (College of the Desert) Anthony Gilchrist off the bench.  The Green start 3 forwards … Nav Bains, Andrew Morris, and Mark Johnson, and they are part of a pretty effective defensive unit. Trinity have bigger, but less mobile forwards in Patrick Vandervelden and Matt Hayashi.  There is  some developing strength in import, Pogos Trunyan, along with scoring wing, Vartan Tanielian, and lead guard, Tyus Allen.   Our Call –  Has TWU turned a corner?  We don’t have the ‘faith’ of their followers yet, but they will give UFV a good challenge this week.

Alberta at UNBC –  The Bears go on the road with their 2 opening wins from last week, and the T’Wolves will hope the friendly environs of the Northern Sports Centre in Prince George will give them an edge.  Alberta comes with the ‘golden duo’ of Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke at forward; this a severe challenge for the ‘Wolves’ Vaggelis Loukas and Anthony Hokanson. Rhys Elliot and Marcus MacKay give UNBC a pair of able scoring guards, who will have to out-play U of A’s new arrivals Austin Waddoups and Andre Kelly.  Our Call –  The Golden Bears have an edge here, and will be aiming for the sweep.  A top effort from the T’Wolves will be necessary for a win.

Saturday –  Mt. Royal travels to Lethbridge for game 2.

UBC has the bye this week.


screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-12-16-50-pm

UBC Climbs to 2nd in Week 2

The UBC Thunderbirds, looking strong in the early-going this season, were voted #2 in this week’s coaches’ poll for the CIS. Calgary, who dropped their opener to Manitoba, were demoted to the #4 slot.

There are 6 OUA teams in the 12 mentioned in the poll , including the ‘Mighty Ravens’ of Carleton at #1. The Alberta Golden Bears appear as an ‘honourable mention.

 


 

Overtime –

sask-camo

Trevor Severinski (L) and Chan De Ciman model the ‘camo gear’ the Huskies will wear to observe Remembrance Day.

  •   The Saskatchewan Huskies will be wearing special ‘camo’ game jerseys when they host Winnipeg this weekend,  in tribute to those Canadians who served / serve in the military.  Coach Barry Rawlyk says, “Remembrance Day is reserved in Canada for us to honour and remember those who bravely served and scarified for our great country,” said head coach Barry Rawlyk. “We also believe it is a time to express our appreciation to all of the men and women in uniform that courageously and unselfishly serve our nation.”  From U of S Athletics
  •   TRU Coach, Scott Clark, on the new scheduling format for Canada West  , “ …  there are not two teams in the conference that play the same schedule,” Clark said. “To call it a schedule, I think, is a misnomer, in that I believe we just play some games and at the end they’re going to compare everybody.  It’s no fault of whoever makes the schedule. It’s a 17-team conference — it’s monumental.  Really, you can’t [have a schedule] with 17 teams. But my opinion was always that the conference needs to be divided.”   From Kamloops This Week.
  • We have the first of several home and home series which are part of that somewhat disjointed League schedule this season.  Mt. Royal hosts Lethbridge on Thursday, then travel South for the return bout on Saturday, while the ‘Valley Neighbours’, Trinity Western and Fraser Valley exchange home courts on Friday/Saturday. This would seem like a great way to build on regional rivalries.

 

 

Previews – Saskatchewan, Fraser Valley

 

 

2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

 Saskatchewan Huskies

’15-‘16      No playoffs                  8 win  12 losses (Pioneer)

hus-copy

Returnees –  5th years –  Matt Forbes, 6-6 fwd, Regina Beach. Trevor Severinski, 6-6 fwd, Pitt Meadows, BC. … 4th Year – Shane Osayande, 6-6 fwd, Toronto. Alex Unruh, 5-10 guard, Saskatoon.   … 3rd Years – Mack Burns, 6-6 fwd, Regina.  Joseph Barker, 6-6 fwd, Saskatoon.  … 2nd Years – Chan De Ciman, 6-2 guard, Regina. Dean Wittow, 6-7 fwd, Leduc, AB. Jonathan Halvorson, 6-3 guard, Regina. Reid Thuringer, 6-2 guard, Warman, SK.  … (after redshirt)  1st year – Davis Humbert, 6-2 guard, Saskatoon ( Aden Bowman).

New faces –   Jaylon Morgan, 6-5, 3rd year, Brampton, ON (Williston St., ND). Addison Dewar, 6-3 guard, 1st, Saskatoon (Marion Graham). Emmanuel Akintunde, 6-2 guard, 1st, Saskatoon (St. Joseph)

The Huskies would like to put the 2015-2016 season behind them, and they think they have the team to do that. Missing the playoffs has not been part of the Saskatchewan script for the last 10 years or so, and we expect the Green and White to be better this campaign.

Look for Mack Burns to be a bigger factor for U of S this season.

Look for Mack Burns to be a bigger factor for U of S this season.

The Huskies senior core of players has quickness, rebounding, and scoring ability led by their two big forwards, Matt Forbes and Shane Osayande.  Forbes is a ‘hammer and tongs’ physical force,  who was missed last season when he went down with injury.  Osayande has ‘pro-type’  physical abilities, and he averaged a double of 14 ppg / 10 rebounds, with more to come, we suspect.    Another big man, Trevor Severinski may repeat as the best three- point shooter in Canada West (47% last season), and he can guard a bigger opponent. Mack Burns is a versatile small forward, with a good shooting touch and  an aggressive style as a rebounder. Joseph Barker has also shown a good nose for the boards, and he will provide depth on the frontline.

At the guard spots, Coach Barry Rawlyck has the dynamic  Chan De Ciman (12.5 ppg as a rookie), who will combine with point man Alex Unruh (48% FG, 8 ppg), and newcomer Jaylon Morgan, a big shooting guard. After redshirting last season local Saskatoon product Davis Humbert may get a good look as a backup guard on the playing roster.

The ‘Sled Dogs’ may not be as deep as some of the other top teams, but their best players are very capable of winning enough games to get them in the top three or four. Injuries and other issues took their toll last season, and Saskatchewan will need some better fortune as they chase a championship this year.

Schedule –   Nov-Dec –  at Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, Brandon, at Regina  – 4 series

Jan-Feb –  UBC, at Lethbridge, at Calgary, Mt. Royal, Alberta, at UNBC – 6

Prediction –  Huskies will be better, and may make a mark at playoff time.

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Fraser Valley Cascades

 ’15-‘16 –  Lost to Manitoba, 1/4 finals                  wins 12   losses 8  (Explorer)

Fr Valley

Returnees –   5th years –  Manny Dulay, 6-3 guard, Surrey.  Vijay Dhillon, 6-1 guard, Richmond. 4th year –  Navjot Bains, 6-6 fwd, Surrey.  3rd years – Mark Johnson, 6-6 fwd, Palm Springs, CA.  Matt Cooley, 6-9 fwd, Coquitlam, BC.

New faces –   Andrew Morris, 6-5 fwd, 3rd, Burnaby, BC (tsf. U. Victoria) . Denver Sparks-Guest, 6-5 wing, 3rd year, Coquitlam (tsf from Simon Fraser). Anthony Gilchrist, 6-4 guard, 3rd, Cathedral City, CA  (College of the Desert). .  Sukhman Sandhu, 6-10 fwd, 1st, Surrey (Tamanawis). Riley Braich, 6-3 guard, 1st, Abbotsford (Yale Sr Sec). Daniel Adediran, 6-5 wing, 1st, Surrey (Pacific Academy )   Justin Dhillon, 6-3 guard, 1st, Richmond (HJ Cambie)

There are 7 newcomers in the playing roster for Coach Adam Friesen, going into his 5th year at UFV, which constitutes a big turnover.  The Cascades have had the most competitive program among the newer schools to Canada West, as Friesen has a 67% winning rate in Canada West League play.  This former hot-shooting, lefty guard (TWU) had the Cascades in the Final 4 in 3 of his first 4 years.

This is, however, the first year ‘AKP’ , after Kevon Parchment !  UFV will miss the splendid all-around play of their perennial all-star and ’15-’16 Defensive Player of the Year, who has graduated.  “Right now, we’re just learning we’re in the post-Kevon Parchment defensive life,” Friesen said earlier his Fall. “We have a lot of new faces, we have some growing pains that way, and we’re realizing we maybe got away with some stuff the last couple years because we’ve had Kevon.”

One of the Cascades top shooters, Vijay Dhillon

One of the Cascades top shooters, Vijay Dhillon, is a 5th year leader.

Among the 5 returnees, Coach Friesen can be confident in his pair of 5th year guards, Manny Dulay (11.6 ppg/2/7 asst) and Vijay Dhillon (15.6 ppg/2.5 asst), both of whom shot over 40% from 3 pt range last year.   Mark Johnson (12 ppg/5.7 rebs) , Navjot Bains (7.4 ppg/7.2 rebs), and Matt Cooley (6.7 ppg/6 rebs) provide a solid core on the forward line.

Friesen was extremely busy and very successful with his recruiting efforts this past Spring and Summer.  7 new faces ready to step up, and 6 red-shirts working to make the grade for future campaigns.  Wing man, Andrew Morris, who moves to Abbotsford from UVic, has been offensively sharp in pre-season play, with a 21 point, perfect shooting game against Lethbridge.  Denver Sparks-Guest should be a ‘first 8’ player, with his experience at Simon Fraser;  he is a big guard with the skills to make an impact.

Friesen has been impressed with the early showing of 2 local high school recruits, Riley Braich and Daniel Adediran.  Another rookie to watch is Sukhman Sandhu (Tamanawis, Surrey, BC), a post transfer returning after a red-shirt year in a California JC, who should develop into a solid CIS competitor.

It’s hard to predict how this team will come together, with the number of newcomers to be worked into the line-up.  UFV has the leaders with a history of big-game success, but it remains to see if there will be enough cohesion to play at a high level consistently.

 Schedule –  Nov-Dec. – Saskatchewan, home/home Trinity W, UNBC, at Brandon  – 4 series Jan-Feb – MacEwan, at Calgary, at Alberta, Thompson R., Victoria, at UBC-O – 6


 

 Overtime –    

  • Vicissitudes of the Canada West regular season schedule – Wilfred Laurier (Waterloo, ON)  will have played more games in both B.C. and Manitoba than will Saskatchewan, even after the conclusion of League play.   Neither Victoria nor UBC plays any games in Manitoba … Brandon has 1 series in B.C.
  • Mack Roth is one scorer the Vikes will have to replace.

    Mack Roth is one scorer the Vikes will have to replace.

    Three starters from Saskatchewan’s ’15-’16 team beginning last season are no longer with the team.  Evan Ostertag graduated, Shawn Lathan left, and Jauqin Bennett-Boire left school early in the New Year, and is now red-shirting at UBC. Lethbridge lost 3 starters to graduation/5th year-  Jared Baker, Brandon Brine, and Rob Olson … TWU lost 3, with  Lucas Mannes, Dean Richey  (very early), and Kelvin Smith (5th year grad) .  The biggest group of starters, however, are gone from the UVic Vikes.  Reiner Theil, Brandon Dunlop,  and Mack Roth graduated, while Jordan Charles is not playing this season.

  • All-stars or all-rookie team players returning –  UBC has 3, in Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Conor Morgan, and all-rookie, Taylor Browne. Alberta has Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke (R), Calgary has Thomas Cooper and Lars Schleuter, TRU with Volodymyr Iegorov, and Jeff Tubbs (R), and Winnipeg has Denzel Blair-Lynch, and William Sessay (R) .  ‘Single stars’ – Manitoba has Keith Omoerah, MacEwan – Denzel James, and  Saskatchewan – Chan De Ciman (R).

 

Road Teams With a Chance

 

Road Games a Tough Go in Canada West

Can Mt. Royal and their veteran post man, Jame Lefebvre, win at UBC-O?

Can Mt. Royal and their veteran post man, James Lefebvre, win at UBC-O?

Statistically, and from many coaches’ experiences, winning games on the road in Canada West can be the ultimate challenge.  It’s a long way from Manitoba to B.C., and the athletes are visiting gyms they may never have seen before.

So many factors mitigate against the visitors, but we look this week at several instances where the parity of talent and performance may see some road teams carrying off a win or two by Saturday night. It’s less likely if you’re MacEwan going into TRU, but match-ups like Regina at home to Lethbridge are far less predictable.

So, here are the road teams that might well be holding out hope for at least a split this Friday and Saturday ….   Certainly Fraser Valley at UNBC, and UBC at Saskatchewan  … and Calgary is looking like they will give UVic a run, along with Mt. Royal playing UBC-O in Kelowna   … The two Winnipeg -based schools look like favourites … the Wesmen over Trinity and Manitoba over the Bears, but particular caution for the Herd, however, since Alberta took one from the mighty T-Birds in Vancouver !

Pioneer Division –

Mack Roth has been a consistent scorer for the 4-0 Vikes.

Mack Roth has been a consistent scorer for the 4-0 Vikes.

Calgary Dinos  3-1  at Victoria Vikes  4-0 –  This is a ‘Show Me’ kind of series, with the Vikes having won 6 of 8 meetings over the past 4 seasons.  If the Dinos have designs on beating UVic this time, then the visitors need to win on the boards, run their offense and share the ball, and stifle the Vikes key scorers. (Brilliant game plan, editor!)   Who scores in the paint?  Calgary, with any of their 5 or 6 post players, or Victoria, with their screening, back-cutting, offense?  Calgary hopes for the return of quick guard, David Kapinga, who missed last weekend in Manitoba. Road wins vs good teams are hard to come by ….

Alberta Golden Bears  2-2  at Manitoba Bisons 2-2 —  The Bears have the forwards to give Wyatt Anders, Keith Omoerah, Brett Jewell, and co. a run on the glass, but can their guards match-up with Justus Alleyn, AJ Basi, and Ilarion Bonhomme ?  The compact Colby Jackson is a capable point man for Coach Craddock, and he needs shooting guards …  Sheldon Pittman? Lyndon Annetts? … to make their presence felt.  M. Gueye can’t carry the offense every night! Can the Buffalos break through against the GBs ?

Regina looks to Jonathan Tull to get them 2 wins at home vs the U of L.

Regina looks to Jonathan Tull to give them scoring at home vs the Lethbridge Pronghorns  .

 Lethbridge Pronghorns 2-0 at Regina Cougars 2-0 –  Regina comes off a bye week (rusty or rested?) , and off a win last time they met the ‘Horns.  But Lethbridge has won 7 of their last 8 over the Cougs, and they arrive in the ‘Queen City’ with a veteran crew, led by forward Brandon Brine, and guards Jared Baker and Rob Olsen, who are 5th year players intent on leading U of L to the playoffs.  This should be a tight series, with import guards Dejon Burdeaux (16 ppg/5.5 steals) for the Antelopes and Alex Igual (10 ppg/7.5 asst) for the ‘Cats likely to feature prominently.   Aces for the home squad … Jonathan Tull, and his ‘little brother’, Brandon.

UBC Thunderbirds 3-1 at Saskatchewan Huskies 1-3  –  Another pair of ‘ambitious’ teams in this year of unpredictability in the Pioneer Division …  both the ‘Birds and the Huskies have won a lot of games in the past 10 years (Barry Rawlyk has a 71% winning average for U of S – Kevin Hanson is close to 75% with UBC!)  The T-Birds are 13-4 vs Sask. in those 10 years, and, unless Coach Rawlyk can rally his somewhat bruised ‘pack’, that gap may widen.  UBC has a major size advantage, while Saskatchewan may have more guard depth, however young they may be.  Veterans need to have an impact for U of S – Evan Ostertag and Trevor Severinski, and UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, David Wagner, and Conor Morgan.

Jelane Pryce and the Wesmen are happy to be back home vs TWU.

Jelane Pryce and the Wesmen are happy to be back home vs TWU.

Trinity Western Spartans 0-4 at Winnipeg Wesmen 1-3  –  This may be the lowest profile series of the weekend, but the Spartans will be very motivated to get their opening win, and may have the guns to get it done on the road.  Vartan Tanielian joins Kelvin Smith, Dean Richey, and Lucas Mannes in providing scoring for TWU, and Patrick Vandevelden chips in on the boards.  Winnipeg is happy to be home after their 2 week ‘Tour of Alberta’, and they will want 2 wins to even their record.  Patience is a key for Coach Raimbault, with young players working to ‘learn on the job’.  Jelane Pryce and Jamar Farlay can be leaders for the defense, which will key their successes as a team.

Brandon Bobcats  0-4 … get the bye

Explorer Division –

 

Reese Pribilsky, TRU's 5th year floor leader.

Reese Pribilsky, TRU’s 5th year floor leader.

Mac Ewan Griffins 1-3  at Thompson R. WolfPack 4-0 –  This series is 2-2 over the last 2 seasons !  Will this help the Griffins in their daunting task to sneak a win at Kamloops ?  A-h-h-h-h … NO !  Despite the strength they have on their forward line (Keith Gerdes, Ryan May, Ryan Coleman), Mac will find it hard to match-up with J. Wolfram and friends.  Mac’s guard combo of Denzel James and Thaddeus Galvez will aim to keep TRU’s Reese Pribilsky from controlling the game.  With home court, it’s hard not to see the CIS 10th – ranked WolfPack feeding hungrily.

Fraser Valley Cascades 4-0  at UNBC Timberwolves 1-3  –  UNBC won their last meeting … but, again, does this mean an upset of the 4-0 Cascades?  This is not likely (UFV won all of the previous 10 games shown on CIS Hoops’ chart!) , but the ‘Big Trees’ might be excused for looking ahead in the schedule to Nov. 27/28, when they meet the raging WolfPack in Kamloops.  Trap games this week in PG ?   Billy Cheng and Rhys Elliot will need more ‘Wolves in an angry mood, if they are to threaten Kevon Parchment, Vijay Dhillon, Manny Dulay and the rest of a strong UFV contingent.

 

Mitch Goodwin is a key offensive weapon for the Heat.

Mitch Goodwin is a key offensive weapon for the Heat.

Mt. Royal Cougars 1-3 at UBC-Okanagan Heat  1-3 –  Guarantee … both coaches are thinking – “We gotta win these 2 … this team is ‘gettable’ … We need to make up ground, keep pace, climb in the standings .”  They’re right to think that way, but may admit only that, “We will work on the things we can control; we can’t focus on outcomes, but, rather, on good execution of our system.”   Mt. Royal has an even more youth than Okanagan, but they have more height, and a rapidly improving group of forwards.  UBC-O won a game, they’re at home, and they are improved over last season.  Interesting match-ups – Derek Wolf, Glen Yang, and Brett Layton for MRU vs Aldrich Berrios, Mitch Goodwin, Dean Johnston for Okanagan.


 CIS Scores —

Atlantic –   Saint Mary’s 77 Dalhousie 58  –  The Huskies are the AUS’ most unpredictable team, and Dal will be disappointed as they had a brief flirtation with the CIS Top 10 !   St. FX 93  Acadia 92  – road win for the X-Men in a very well-balanced Atlantic League.
Ontario –    Windsor 81   Ryerson 67 – down go the Rams, the #5 ranked team in the CIS.


 

Overtime –

U of L's Mike Hansen 'co-stars' with our man, David Wells, in a new 'Horns Nation podcast.

U of L’s  Coach Mike Hansen ‘co-stars’ with our man, David Wells, in a new ‘Horns Nation podcast.

  • Coach Mike Hansen, Lethbridge, says, “No one on our team, player or coach, has ever been (to play at UR) in Regina.”  Hansen credits the vicissitudes of the quirky Canada West schedule over the past few years.  This is one of many topics discussed by the ‘Horns Coach and David Wells (‘Basketball Historian’, journalist, Amateur Sports Administrator ….) in the ‘fresh out of the wrapper’  Pronghorns ‘Run Together’ – ‘Wellsie and the Coach’ podcast.
  • Adam Friesen, UFV Head Coach, as  his Cascades head to Prince George for a weekend series against the UNBC T’Wolves. “UNBC is a scrappy team that’s got some really good versatility, and guard scorers,” Friesen analyzed. “We have to keep on sharing the basketball and playing solid defence.”  (From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics)

3 pt. Shot Serves Vikes and Huskies

Hot 3 point shooting leads to a UVic romp over UFV

Mack Roth 14 copy

Mack Roth enjoys a return to his home-town with a 19 pt. game to lead UVic over Fraser Valley in their CW semi-final on Friday.

 

 Victoria Vikes  86  Fraser Valley Cascades  61 – No game … clinic.  27-12 after the quarter, as the Vikes come out hot and UFV definitely not. Live by the trey, but tonight the Cascades die by the 10/23 (43.5%) long-range shooting from UVic compared to their own 4/22 (18%). Manny Dulay, disappointingly, shoots just twice for UFV, missing both.  Game, set, match, with UVic defense stifling any come-back hopes by the Cascades.

Mack Roth takes advantage of extra space as a result of the attention paid to big Chris McLaughlin by Fraser Valley defenders, and the Saskatoon native leads the Vikes with 19 points. McLaughlin managed 17 pts/ 6 rebounds, while both Reiner Theil (9 rebs) and Marcus Tibbs (11 assts)  cashed 15 points for Victoria, who hit 52% from the floor.  Fraser Valley   got a strong effort from Kevon Parchment, with 17 points/ 7 rebounds/ 4 assists. So Victoria moves on to the Saturday Final, and has a berth in the CIS Final 8 in Toronto next weekend.  Box Score 

 

 Huskies Rain 3s on UBC, and play for championship Saturday

Saskatchewan's Ben Baker leads his team to a big 2nd half win over UBC.

Saskatchewan’s Ben Baker leads his team to a big 2nd half win over UBC in the 2nd semi-final.

 

 Saskatchewan Huskies 81  UBC Thunderbirds 75 – Despite shooting 50% from the floor, the T-Birds score well under their season average, and, as in the Vikes/Cascades game, the deep ball is decisive for Saskatchewan in this one.  The Dogs hit 11/28 (39%) vs 3/16 (19%) for UBC. a strong 40-32 2nd half turned the trick for the U of S, as they pull away with clutch shots from Trevor Severinski, Dadrian Collins, and Ben Baker.

Baker plays his typically tenacious game, with 20 pts/ 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Collins hits 20 pts and grabs 5 rebounds. The T-Birds just ran out of flow and went cold in the final 2 minutes, giving Saskatchewan a CIS Final 8 spot and a shot at a Canada West title in front of their home fans. (Much better crowd for the 2nd game ….)  UBC has 23 from Kedar Wright in a sharp shooting game for him, while Tommy Nixon and Tonner Jackson score 14 each, with Nixon also claiming 12 rebounds.  Box score

 

Other CIS Playoff action on Friday –

Quebec  –  at Bishop’s U., Lennoxville

Semi-Finals – Bishop’s Gaiters 76 vs Laval Rouge et Or 65 ,   McGill Redmen 74 vs Concordia Stingers 60

Ontario Final 4 – at Ottawa U.

Semi-Finals –

Carleton Ravens 84 Ryerson Rams 80 – the Ravens come from behind, with a 46-36 2nd half run, and are in the OUA Final yet again. 31 pts/ 12 boards by Thomas Scrubb, and 28 for the Rams by Jahmal Jones.

Windsor Lancers 85  Ottawa Gee-Gees  80  – the ‘giant killer’ Lancers take the air out of the Ponies’ party balloons right there at Monpetit Hall in the Nation’s Capital.  Saving themselves for the big show next week in Toronto?

 

March 12-15, CIS Final 8 – at Ryerson U. – Mattamy Centre, Toronto

Teams In –Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 9.18.57 PM

 

Overtime –

Ryerson Coach, Roy Rana

Ryerson Coach, Roy Rana                        photo – Tyler Anderson, National Post

  •  Toronto has and is producing more basketball talent than any other place in Canada, and Ryerson U. Coach Roy Rana wants to further boost his program with home-grown players. Are CIS schools able to capture a bigger share of this talent base? He and other top OUA coaches weigh in on the challenges of recruiting young players with big dreams.    More details in the National Post story by Eric Koreen
  • Where are the basketball fans in Saskatoon ?  Vikes-Cascades  ask the 15 spectators to introduce themselves to the players prior to tip-off.  It’s the Canada West championship tournament … can you work up just a bit of enthusiasm?  (The crowd arrives late, to see the Huskies game … but no real   keen appreciation for anyone else).  And, at the risk of appearing too curmudgeonly, could the U of S put a bit more thought, effort, and resources into the production on Canada West -TV ?  Two cameras, with one from the end, a static take, and the main camera panning horizontally from just over 50 yards away!   If this is the ‘showcase event‘, we’ve missed the mark by quite a ways; not a smart promotion of CIS Sport by any stretch.

Canada West Final 4 – Preview

 

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

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

 

Top 4 Seeds Contest Canada West Championship in Saskatoon –

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

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

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

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

Semi-Finals, Friday, March 6 –

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

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

 

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

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Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 5.23.38 PM

 

The Vikes – Cascades Match-up –

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 1.55.56 PM

The Huskies – Thunderbirds  Match-up –

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

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

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

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

 

Overtime –Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 7.45.48 PM

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