Print Edition: March 11, 2015
The record-breaking season for the men’s basketball team finally came to an end in the Canada West final four hosted in Saskatchewan this past weekend.
The Cascades earned their fourth consecutive berth to the final four after defeating the University of Calgary Dinos in two games last weekend — their first games of the year against a team in the Pioneers division. The number-two seed Cascades got a tough match-up in their final four opener, having to battle with the University of Victoria Vikes and Chris McLaughlin, Canada West’s most outstanding player of the year.
When the game got underway, the Cascades just seemed a step slower than their opponents. As the first quarter ticked along, the Cascades trailed by 17 points — and things were quickly going from bad to worse.
Although the Cascades outplayed the Vikes in the second quarter and trailed by only nine at the half, it wasn’t enough to get by a team with so much star power. The Cascades would eventually lose the game by a score of 86-61, making a potential nationals berth that much harder.
The Cascades did get the chance to play one more game and try to end their season with a win in the bronze medal game against the UBC Thunderbirds.
It was going to be the fourth game for the Cascades against the larger Pioneers division for which they had a 2-1 record against coming into the game. It was also the chance for the Cascades’ Coach Friesen to play against his own university coach Kevin Hanson in a friendly match-up for the Canada West bronze medal.
From the opening whistle, the Cascades jostled with the Thunderbirds in the first two quarters, with both teams making runs and responding to the best of their abilities. For example, the Thunderbirds would take a quick seven-point lead in the second quarter, which the Cascades would respond to with their own 13-point run, capped off with a four-point play from Kadeem Willis.
The Cascades went on to win the game on the strength of their 13-0 run in the second quarter by a score of 87-71, and came away with the Canada West bronze medal. With that win, the Cascades brought themselves within a shot of the final CIS nationals’ wild-card berth. As the sun rose on Sunday, the CIS announced the final seeding for the final eight in the national tournament along with that wild card winner — unfortunately, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees (ranked number-one for the majority of the season) had been given the wild-card berth, making them the fourth team from Ontario in the final-eight teams.
With the end of the final four, the Cascades’ season is over, and they will look to the off-season to rebuild after losing both Kadeem Willis and Jasper Moedt to graduation.