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Cascades left broken-hearted by Cougars

The Cascades Men’s Basketball team fought hard in their weekend double-header with the University of Regina Cougars, yet somehow dropped both in two of the most entertaining games of the season. Despite having picked up the double ‘L,’ the Cascades mustered solid performances on both nights and came within a couple blown calls of reversing the situation entirely. Regina improves to 12-6 on the season while UFV falls to 6-12. Saturday was also “CIS Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Fight Against Breast Cancer,” complete with matching pink shoelaces for the team.

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by Paul Esau (Sports Editor) – Email

The Cascades Men’s Basketball team fought hard in their weekend double-header with the University of Regina Cougars, yet somehow dropped both in two of the most entertaining games of the season. Despite having picked up the double ‘L,’ the Cascades mustered solid performances on both nights and came within a couple blown calls of reversing the situation entirely. Regina improves to 12-6 on the season while UFV falls to 6-12. Saturday was also “CIS Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Fight Against Breast Cancer,” complete with matching pink shoelaces for the team.

Friday’s game was an ordeal requiring double overtime and some clutch free throw shooting from the Regina native with the world’s most obvious nickname, Jared “JJ” Janotta. He actually has a set of J’s tattooed on his triceps, just in case he’s ever tempted to change his name. But more importantly, UFV’s Sam Freeman posted a heroic 29 points, including a last-second three-pointer to force the second overtime. He was assisted by Zeon Gray with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Cougars were led by the enigmatic Paul Gareau with 26 points, and Marek “Goldilocks” Downarowicz with 15 rebounds and 16 points. The final score was 89-92 Regina.

The Cascades roared into Saturday’s game eager for a taste of feline blood. Freeman dominated early with six of UFV’s first 12 points, yet once again, Regina proved to be a formidable opponent. No one in green seemed able to contain the Cougar’s big men inside, and so, despite their early pressure, the end of the first quarter left UFV with only a one point lead (21-20).

The second quarter continued similarly, with the squads trading transition baskets at a furious pace. Zeon Gray drove for three consecutive baskets, “taking cats to the rack” as Lil’ Bow Wow once said, and Regina’s “Goldilocks” Downarowicz bounced his fluffy mop around the court like a Golden Retriever on Valium. Yet neither team seemed able to pull ahead, and so the quarter ended with the Cascades down by two, 43-45.

The Halftime Show was a puzzling mixture of highlights and mix-ups. On one hand it had a courageous story of bravery from a breast cancer survivor, culminating in the revelation that the UFV Women’s Basketball team managed to raise a thousand dollars towards breast cancer research. On the other, it was a collective moment of uneasiness and fervent prayer for the men in the audience, as we learned that last year 170 men were diagnosed with breast cancer in Canada.

The second half couldn’t start fast enough after that revelation, and so it was to a collective sigh of relief that the two teams returned to the floor. The play quickly took a turn for the ugly with Downarowicz and UFV’s Sheldon Bjorgaard each taking some knocks, but, as always, the score stayed almost dead even. In the end, it was a decisive series of calls (or miscalls) by the refs that awarded Regina the ball with twenty seconds left, and therefore the game. Final score: Regina 87, UFV 83.

Sam Freeman ended the night with 18 points and five steals. Leon Gray also had 18, including a jaw-dropping six-point run at the end of the fourth. UFV’s next home game is February 18 against the Brandon Bobcats.

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