After the UFV Cascades men’s basketball team defeated the UNBC Timberwolves in their first playoff matchup of the year, they were given a very large task: defeat the UBC T-Birds in two out of three games on the road. For most teams, this would have been a wash, but UFV accepted the challenge. They did not complete the task, losing to UBC in three games, but how they got there shows their prowess as a team.
Coming into the matchup, it was UBC who, on paper, had the distinct edge. Finishing in the regular season second only to Calgary, the UBC T-Birds entered the series with a 17-3 regular season record. UFV came in with the number five spot, sporting a 13-7 record. The stage was set for a Canada West showdown between two high powered teams, and it did not disappoint.
UFV started strong Thursday night. The first quarter saw them edge UBC by a score of 19-13 and already it seemed that the upset was brewing. UBC worked hard to regain the lost points but only managed to match the Cascades in the second quarter (19-19). By this time, it became evident that UFV had an edge against UBC in one specific category: the deep ball. A barrage of threes rained down on the struggling UBC team all night. It was a virtuoso performance from the visiting team who shot a season-high 17 threes at a ridiculous 0.447 percentage. This led UFV to a 92-79 road victory against the second-best team in the conference.
How did they do it? “We came in with the belief that winning was possible,” head coach Adam Friesen said to Dan Kinvig, Communications Coordinator of UFV Athletics, after the game.
UBC clearly learned from their mistakes by Friday. UBC started strong, winning the first quarter and only giving up as much as they gave back in the second quarter. UFV could not deal with the home team’s ability to limit their shooting, and UBC went on to win the game by a score of 85-58. With their season now hinging on one game, the Cascades had one more shot to make it to the next round of the 2019 USPORTS playoffs.
In their third encounter, UBC’s Manroop Clair went off early. Coming off of screens and shooting at a high volume seemed to be his way of dictating the pace of the first quarter, and to no surprise his play led UBC to a 16-point lead in the first quarter alone. But the Cascades are known to have a strong third quarter, and they did just that, outscoring UBC 27-20 on high IQ plays through favourable matchups and great transition basketball. It all came down to the fourth quarter, where UBC’s experience and complete restructuring of their defense got them the win, while UFV’s season came to an end. Although they didn’t win, every member of the team knew they played well.
“We battled hard, man,” said UFV Cascades guard Parm Bains after the game. “We went down big in the first quarter, but we battled. We went down like men, so I’m proud of how we handled ourselves.”
Bains spoke with pride about his team and how they proved so many wrong over the last season. “Man, it was a great season We started off 1-4, then went on a 10-game winning streak. We showed we’re a legit team. It’s going to be tough losing Mark, Andrew, and Nav, but I’m pretty confident about our team and our future.”
Though the season is now over for the UFV Cascades, their growth and improvement provides a window into their potential as a team next season. Stay tuned for basketball stories and news over the offseason, as the Cascades will begin their next run later in 2019.
Pullquote: “We went down big in the first quarter, but we battled.”
Image: Dan Kinvig/UFV Athletics