Print Edition: March 5, 2014
This weekend saw the Cascades men’s basketball team in the Canada West final four, with a berth to the national tournament on the line.
Fate being what it is, their opponent was the University of Victoria Vikings, the first place to UFV’s second in the Pacific Division, the coach of the year (Craig Beaucamp) to UFV’s underrated upstart (Adam Friesen).
What’s more, the Vikings were able to defeat the Cascades in back-to-back games on the island back in November. But in between, UFV piled up the wins, carrying a franchise-best 16 straight into their semifinal bout.
Things didn’t look good early on — the Cascades seemed a step slower than their usual selves. They trailed 15-9 after the first quarter, with little offensive support for Klaus Figueredo’s five points.
The Cascades’ woes continued. As a team, they seemed to possess little of the accuracy that had led them this far, and couldn’t contain their opponents.
To UFV’s abysmal 1-25 from three-point range, the Vikings spread out an 11-26. The loss (77-57) began to take on the feeling of inevitability long before game’s end. Not even a 19-point fourth quarter could change things.
With no hope for a wildcard berth to nationals, all the Cascades could do was attempt to prove themselves to Canada West basketball fans in the bronze medal game against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
The game between the two second-place teams from their respective division proved to be a fantastic basketball contest. Both teams fought hard and the Cascades rebounded extremely well after struggling the day before.
Closely matched, the Cascades led, as they had for most of the game, by three deep into the third quarter.
But it could not last. Aaron McGowan was UFV’s best shooter, hitting three of his six long-ball attempts, but the rest of the team continued their shooting struggles — regular season expert shooter Manny Dulay, whose late basket gave UFV a tense quarterfinal game win, went 0-7.
The Cascades had a weak fourth quarter and the Huskies took over, showing their resilience and depth. Saskatchewan, led by American import Stephon Lamar (26 points, 6 assists), took over and hung on, winning the game 79-70. After a promising stretch run and start to the playoffs, the Cascades’ season ended in back-to-back losses.