UPEI Panthers Open Season Strong, Remain Undefeated With Wins Over Acadia
PHOTO COURTESY: THE CADRE
NPH TOP PERFORMERS (Game 1 & 2)
- Donothan Moss– 27 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals/ 21 points, 10 rebounds
- Jonathan Cooper– 24 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals/ 4 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists
- Manock Lual– 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists/ 12 points, 5 rebounds
- Sean Stoqua– 25 points, 3 assists (Game 1)
- Brad States– 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals (Game 1)
- Tyler Scott– 15 points, 4 rebounds, 5 steals (Game 1)
- Owen Klassen– 18 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 stl, 3 blk (Game 2)
WOLFVILLE,NS–“We really wanted to come out and prove that we deserve to be in the discussion as one of the top teams in the league. There has been a lot of talk about other teams, but we knew that as long as we came out and worked hard for 40 minutes, we’d come out on top” UPEI senior guard Jonathan Cooper’s explained.
The UPEI Panthers have achieved their objective and not only did they defeat the Acadia Axemen in both games, they handled them with relative ease to remain undefeated (6-0).
In the first game on Saturday UPEI came out of the gate and jumped all over Acadia taking an early 11 point lead. Acadia was unable to handle the full court pressure and turned the ball over early and showed poor shot selection and decision making. This allowed UPEI to dictate the tempo for the entire game.
Assistant Coach Lonnie States explains their ability to fight off runs and create their own, “We just keep working and believing in each other and UPEI basketball, it doesn’t matter what the score is until the final buzzer sounds.”
This also explains the game, UPEI would extend the lead and Acadia would make a push to close the gap and keep it interesting but because of UPEI’s ability to create turnovers in key situations. Acadia never was able to completely close the gap.
The final score was 98-89 and UPEI was lead by Donathan Moss 27, Jonathon Cooper 24 and Manock Lual 14. Acadia was lead by Sean Stoqua 25, Brad States 17 and Tyler Scott 15.
In Sunday’s action, Acadia managed to come out of the gate a little stronger and led 23-21 after one quarter. In the second quarter UPEI was able to use its defensive presence to create the same story line from the previous day.
They continued to work the system and locked in on freshman Sean Stoqua better and created the gap in a more defensive minded game that ended with a 67-64 UPEI win.
Manock Lual quotes two former coaches and states it this way “we plan to run with this system as far as it takes us; one thing my AAU High school coach’s Andy Waterman and Adrian Claudette told me that has stuck with me is that you don’t tamper with what has made you successful, stick with it until adjustments are needed.”
UPEI was led by Donathan Moss 21, Geoff Doane 16 and Manock Lual 12. Acadia was lead by Owen Klassen 18, Anthony Ashe 14 and Tyler Scott 7.
“I honestly feel like we’ve turned some heads in the nation. We’re athletic, we’re skilled, we work very hard, and most of all, we’re a team. We support and push each other to be great. We come to battle every night because we want the ultimate prize” Jonathon Cooper told NPH.
As I watched these games and as a former coach who coached against Coach Kendrick, this is what I saw and this is what Lual, Cooper and coach States reflect:
The UPEI panthers work hard for each other deploying a 1-2-1-1 Full court press, a 1-3-1 half court trap, a 3-2 almost matchup zone and a half court man D that are all designed to create uncertainty and turnovers.
Coach Kendrick switched through these defences to keep their opponents off balance and in a helter skelter mode as was demonstrated by Acadia this weekend.
Offensively they mostly use a five-out system that really plays on the versatility of the players that the Panthers possess.
There is a huge trust that the ball will end up in the player’s hands with the best opportunity. States, Lual and Cooper also all echoed the same aproach.
“We have played good basketball with a great start, but we have a lot of growth left”.
UPEI possess the team unity, desire and work ethic to keep pushing and winning games with an eye on an AUS banner.