Print Edition: November 2, 2011
The Cascades men’s basketball team extended their perfect record (against Canadian opponents) last weekend while hosting the first annual Honda Way Tournament in the Envision Athletic Centre. The Cascades entered the tournament coming off a three-game domination at the UBC Thunderbirds Invitational, knocking off such formidable opponents as the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks (80-70) and the Concordia Stingers (95-86). While the numbers in their own tourney weren’t as stellar–the men were one-and-one over the weekend–they’ve yet to lose to a CIS opponent.
UFV started out with an easy appetizer on Friday, an eastern treat officially known as the University of Guelph Gryphons. Although the visitors initially held the advantage due to the fact that nobody seems to know what a “Guelph” was (“something you’d throw up” commented one spectator), the Cascades quickly settled down to business. Five UFV players ended the night in double-digits, while Mike James, an offseason addition from Winterpeg, was awarded UFV’s Player of the Game. The only complaint in the 94-76 drubbing was the officiating, which wavered between the mystical heights of the fevered dream, and downright criminal insanity (read my editorial on page two if you really want my full opinion on the matter).
The main course, on Saturday, proved to be a little less palatable. The Northwest University Eagles aren’t a formidable squad on the south side of the border, but they definitely marked a different calibre than the Gryphons. UFV controlled the play and entered halftime with a 37-31 lead, but then the Eagles, led by guard Tyler Mendezona, exploded to double their score in a single quarter. The Cascades looked dangerous in the third, capitalizing off back-to-back threes from Sheldon Bjoorgaard to pull within striking distance. They drew within three in the closing seconds, only to succumb 81-86.
“We’re 4-0 preseason in our Canadian university games,” said Cascades coach Barnaby Craddock after the Eagles game, “and those are the counting games for our national top 10 ranking. [Tonight] was a little bit of a free shot at an American team, but it was also to win our tournament and obviously we wanted to win.”
Craddock was reluctant to blame the loss on any specific problem. “They obviously played well and made some shots,” he stated. “Basketball is a game of runs and it was a fourth quarter for us. We’ll go back and look and see what mistakes we made and try to learn from them. I can’t put my finger on one aspect of it right now, but they scored 31 points in the quarter so I imagined defensively it wasn’t the best quarter of the preseason.”
Cascades Joel Friesen and Sam Freeman were named to the tournament all-star team, along with Northwest’s Jordan Call, Guelph’s Daniel McCarthy, and TRU’s Chas Kok. Michael Green of Northwest was named the tournament MVP.
The Cascades are back in action this Friday against Thompson Rivers University in the first league game of the season.