Lethbridge, Vanier advance to CCAA championship finals!

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GAME 1 – Humber Hawks vs. NAIT Ooks

OSHAWA,ON–In the first consolation round game of the day, the Ontario champion Hawks jumped out early on the bigger NAIT team, but they were unable to hold on in the second half despite a valiant late run and they fell 83-76 to the ACAC champions.

The Hawks jumped out to a huge fifteen point lead early, similar to their game yesterday against Mount St. Vincent, but once again they could not hold onto it late in the game.

NAIT was able to cut the deficit a bit late in the second quarter, as they entered the break down just six, 32-26, and the third quarter was huge for the Ooks as they built a ten point lead heading into the final quarter.

Ooks star Bol Kong had a tale of two halves, as he did yesterday against Vanier. The 6’8 guard did not put up a shot from long range in the first half, and seemed lackadaisical once again at the outset. He had just six points in the first half, but finished with a big second half and 18 points for the game.

Big man Jeremy Alleyne had a solid game for the Hawks, as he finished with 19 points to go along with 4 rebounds. Third year guard Mike Acheampong, and soon to be University of Victoria Vike, was impressive as usual for Humber. He finished the game six for thirteen from the field to finish with 16 points, and picked up 6 rebounds to go along with it.

Akeem Sween, who fouled out of yesterday’s game, was money from mid-range for the Hawks. He knocked down several from the elbow, and finished with 13 for Humber.

NAIT was helped by big man Shane Reece as well, as he went for 20 and 8.

The Ooks came out on fire in the third quarter, and never looked back. Kong was able to get to the cup with ease, and he either finished or dished off to an open man down low. The Hawks had to collapse to try to contain the athletic big man, and he made it difficult for the Hawks to get back into the game in the second half.

When NAIT switched to a 2-3 zone in the second half, the Hawks had a tough time attacking the rim and could not regain their momentum from the firs half. The Ooks were also helped by several favourable calls from the refs.

While there was a few nice throw downs, the highlight of the game came in the fourth quarter when Kong stepped a few feet over half and launched a three from NBA range. The little shimmy that followed all but sealed the game for NAIT.

Humber tried valiantly to get back into the game, cutting the lead down to three at points late in the game, but they could not get the big stop on the defensive end and convert on their own possessions.

This was another disappointing loss for the Hawks, as they entered nationals with the hope of taking home the crown.

After the game, Kong informed me that he will be attending St. Francis Xavier in Nova Scotia next season.

QUOTABLES

NAIT guard Bol Kong: “In the first quarter we played like crap.”

Humber forward Jeremy Alleyne: “We lost sight of our objectives for the game.”

NPH PLAYERS OF THE GAME

NAIT: Shane Reece – 20 points, 8 rebounds

Humber: Micheal Acheampong – 16 points, 6 rebounds

GAME 2: Durham Lords vs. UNBC Timberwolves

The hometown Lords returned after nearly knocking off VIU last night, and got another strong team from BC as a reward. While the crowd was not nearly as big as it was last night, the fans were noticeably in favour of the Lords.

But despite the support from the fans, Durham lost once again, this time by a score of 72-67. It was a hard fought game for the Lords, but they were unable to make the big shots down the stretch.

CCAA player of the year Inderbir Gill had a much better game for UNBC compared to his effort last night. He shot the ball well and ended the game with 24 points.

Durham was led by Tyler McGarrity, who had 12 and 7 in the first half, and finished the game with 19 and 12.

The Lords refused to go away, and provided great competition for the T-Wolves. Despite failing to advance out of the first round of the OCAA Championships, Durham gave both BC teams a run for their money.

Eric Smith, the star player for Durham, said last night that they wanted nothing less than bronze after a crushing loss to top-ranked VIU. They did their best to do just that as they took UNBC down to the wire. He finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The T-Wolves showed a 2-3 zone for much of the game, and they were able to make the Lords shoot from the outside. Their inability to penetrate proved costly and the Lords were unable to pull out the upset.

Simple mistakes hampered the Lords chances, as they shot just 58 % from the line for the game. Missing out on easy point is a killer in such close games.

The refs continued to be an issue that the coaches took exception too. Several late calls were made, and it reached the point that Durham head coach Desmond Rowley got a technical foul late in the game after he got in their ear. He continued to have words with the refs, and even took one of them aside during a timeout to discuss the way calls were being made.

The refs could not even agree with each other, as on more than one occasion one would call a foul while the other would call out of bounds. Several coaches have spoke about the inconsistency in the calls, and hopefully it won’t affect the outcome in the finals.

QUOTABLES

UNBC guard Inderbir Gill: “I didn’t want to let my team down.”

Durham coach Desmond Rowley on the calls from the refs: “I won’t comment on that.”

NPH PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Durham: Tyler McGarrity – 19 points, 12 rebounds

UNBC: Inderbir Gill – 24 points, 10 rebounds

 

GAME 3: Mount St. Vincent Mystics vs. Vanier Cheetahs

The Cheetahs will play for the national championship. Vanier defeated Mount Saint Vincent University 70-65 in a tight game for the right to play for the national crown.

In a matchup of two teams that pulled off huge upsets yesterday, MSVU and Vanier faced off in the first semi-final game of the CCAA Championships. Vanier survived a late rally from NAIT to move on, and MSVU knocked off the Ontario champion Humber Hawks to give themselves a chance to play for the national title.

But in the end, Vanier was able to pull away in the late minutes and secure the victory for the representatives from Quebec. They hit several shots down the stretch and MSVU couldn’t make the shot when it mattered.

Jerome Blake had a huge game for the Cheetahs from Ville de St. Laurent, Quebec. He poured in 24 points and dropped four from long range. He will look to keep up this hot shooting tomorrow in the finals.

Both teams played solid fundamental basketball, with sets being run on nearly every possession on both ends of the floor. Vanier is a young team, with some players as young as 17 years old, but they are well coached and able to run sophisticated schemes on both ends of the floor.

MSVU showed exotic full-court, ¾ court and half court presses, with each working to varying degrees. Vanier countered with dribble drives and pick and rolls all over the floor. The Cheetahs were also able to drive and kick for several open threes.

MSVU had the advantage on the inside, with big men Luke Reynolds and Jeremy Skidmore taking up space down low and working hard for every rebound. However the athleticism of Vanier allowed them to attack the bucket and make their way around the towers inside. Seth Amoah of the Cheetahs nearly brought the house down in the first half, but he just missed a vicious tomahawk baseline dunk.

Sean Boulay was huge for the Mystics, as the volume shooter had 17 points in the first half, and 21 for the game. However he had to put up 18 shots to do so.

Vanier relied on a solid team effort, but young big man Malcolm Henderson showed flashes of what he might become as a player down the road. He has the size, at 6’7, to excel at this level and beyond, but his timing and instincts still need some refinement. Henderson is just XX years old, so he has plenty of time to develop into a dominant player. He finished with 6 points and 4 rebounds, but the national championship game tomorrow will provide valuable experience for the young man.

QUOTABLES

Vanier guard Ben Millaud-Meunier: “We tried to stick to our game plan and listen to our coaches.”

MSVU forward Luke Reynolds: “Too many defensive miscues.”

NPH PLAYERS OF THE GAME

MSVU: Luke Reynolds – 13 points, 13 rebounds

Vanier: Jerome Blake – 24 points, 4 three pointers

 

GAME 4: VIU Mariners vs. Lethbridge Kodiaks

The Lethbridge Kodiaks have stamped their ticket to the national finals. The team from southern Alberta took down the top team in the nation by a score of 82 to 73, and they will face the Vanier Cheetahs for the gold medal tomorrow at 8 pm.

In the most anticipated game of the tournament, two of the top teams in the nation faced off for the right to play for the national title. The game not only featured two of the best teams in the country, but also some of the top individual talent. Lethbridge big man Dom Coward is amongst the top post players in the country, and his point guard Mordan Duce can do it all over the floor.

VIU features some impressive talent as well, with Jacob Thom and Andrew Kaban leading the way. Thom had a ridiculous driving left-handed layup in yesterday’s game to seal the victory over the Durham Lords. He came out strong in this game as well, as he ran the floor and distributed with ease to his wings.

The first quarter was highlighted by a pair of emphatic slams by the Kodiaks. Scott Bogdan started off the festivities, as the 6’1 guard threw down a huge one handed dunk on the fast break. Dom Coward followed it up just minutes later, as the big man put down another dunk off a two-on-one fast break.

The game got a bit chippy in the first half, as Morgan Duce had words for a Mariners player as time expired in the first quarter, and elbows were flying as the teams battled down low later in the second quarter.

Both teams came out in aggressive zone’s early in the game. This forced both teams to shoot from long range, but the number of shooters on both sides made this an easy task for both sides. Morgan Duce dropped three from long range for the Kodiaks, and Mike Wohlers dropped seven from downtown for the Mariners, including five in the first half. Duce, the 5’11 guard, even chased down his own rebound on a missed three late in the first half. He did it again in the third quarter off a miss, but that time he got the put back layup.

The Kodiaks found themselves down ten midway through the third quarter, but they stormed back with a 13-0 run to give them a 54-51 lead. However, VIU coach Tony Bryce did not call a timeout, and instead waited until the quarter ended to get his troops together.

VIU star Jacob Thom was held off the scoresheet in the first half, but he looked revitalized in the second half as he was much more aggressive and ended up with 8 points.

The experience of VIU was simply not enough to keep up with the post presence and cutting ability of the Kodiaks. The energy of 6’2 guard Logan Reiter was also huge for Lethbridge, as he grabbed several huge rebounds and dove for loose balls all over the floor. He finished the game with 15 and 6, but much of what he does on the floor doesn’t show up in the box score.

The Mariners made a late run to cut the Kodiak lead down to three, but they had to foul late to try to get the ball back, and Lethbridge guard Morgan Duce knocked down several clutch shots from the line.

The men with the whistles once again played a pivotal role in this game, with VIU coach Tony Bryce finally getting fed up in the final seconds and earning himself a technical. A questionable intentional foul was called on the Mariners late in the game as they were simply trying to put Lethbridge on the line to regain possession.

QUOTABLES

VIU Patrick McCarthy: “You can’t come back in one play.”

Lethbridge guard Morgan Duce: “We just have an amazing team”

NPH PLAYERS OF THE GAME

Lethbridge: Morgan Duce – 23 points, 8 rebounds

VIU: Mike Wohlers – 31 points, 7 three pointers, 7 rebounds

 

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