Print Edition: January 28, 2015
It takes a talented team to even have a playoff record, let alone be dominant at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) level, which is the highest platform for collegiate sports teams in the country. But the Cascades men’s basketball team is certainly dominating.
So far this season the Cascades are currently undefeated in league play, with a record of 12 wins and no losses. The impressive part, however, is that they have knocked down 28 consecutive contests dating back to 2013.
A big part in any winning streak is mental fortitude on and off the court, and it’s a quality the Cascades will have to demonstrate when they face teams they haven’t been able to play yet this year. Back in fall 2013, Canada West (a region of CIS) split the league in two divisions: the pioneer division which includes 11 teams from universities which have been part of CIS longer, and the explorer division which includes the Cascades and the five other teams which are newest to the league. The new divisions are the reason UFV’s men haven’t played against all the teams yet — but they will, and graduating forward Jasper Moedt says the upcoming face-off means a lot to the team.
“The only way to kill any doubt that we are just pretenders as opposed to contenders is to win on the big stage in the playoffs,” he says. “That is where real respect is earned, and as a team, we are hungry for that opportunity.”
Moedt also notes that the perception of the winning streak is different for the team than it might be for spectators.
“From the outside looking in, that 20-something wins in a row is significant,” Moedt says. “But for the guys inside this program, we know that it doesn’t mean anything unless we perform come playoff time.”
Coach Adam Friesen, one of the younger basketball coaches in Canada West and in CIS as a whole, has managed to keep the team level-headed during this historic run. Back in March last year, the Cascades were gearing up for their playoff action in Edmonton with a 14-win streak which was already setting a UFV records. This year, the team has doubled that number. But Friesen says winning isn’t the be-all and end-all.
“It’s a little interesting that we have this win streak. I probably care the least about the regular season,” Friesen says. “It’s great for the kids. From a coach’s perspective, we don’t want to lose, but a loss wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.”
Friesen adds that even in light of the streak, the team won’t be satisfied until they come home from Toronto, where CIS nationals are being hosted this year, with the national recognition they’ve been working toward.
With files from Paul Esau.