LETHBRIDGE,AB–Lethbridge Pronghorns Coach Dave Adams is effusive in his praise for his opposite Head man, Barnaby Craddock on the eve of their Quarter-Final series which commences Thursday in Abbotsford.
“The Cascades are closest team in our League to an NBA style offense, with their ball screens and dribble drives to create good shots. We caught them unaware (when the ‘Horns won the League game back in january), but they’re a different team now. They are so well coached,” said Adams.
A first class proponent of the power of positive thinking, you can be sure Coach Adams has his Pronghorns believing in themselves as they fly across the Rockies to meet UFV. One of the pluses he sees for his team is a player who has quietly assumed a new role for himself after having struggled for some time to get back after injury.
Julian Spear Chief-Morris was to have been the point guard, but he wasn’t comfortable with the spot last season, then he had an injury prevent him from making the impact he was supposed to have after he had transferred from UVic after 2 seasons there. Julian moved to a wing spot this year, and he has slowly come into his own, scoring in double figures in several recent games.
The ‘Horns will get great play from their marquee two-some of Dom Coward at forward and Daryl Cooper at guard, but Coach Adams conceded that someone else further down the pecking order may have to step up and have an exceptional series for Lethbridge to knock off Fraser Valley. It may be Spear Chief -Morris, or , maybe more likely, Morgan Duce, a 3 point shooter who could hit a hot streak at just the right time.
The Cascades have crawled up the CIS rankings with several big wins in their final month of play in the season; they’ve won 6 straight, including a seminal sweep of UBC, they beat Calgary and Victoria, and swept Valley rivals, TWU, all of whom are playoff teams.
In Joel Friesen, Sam Freeman, and Kyle Grewal they have 3 exceptional athletes and competitors who appear to be ‘ready for prime-time’.
Coach Craddock is confident in his Cascades, and he says, “Our guys have worked hard to get where they are, and we want to go farther. We know Lethbridge will be tough, and we’re not taking anything for granted at playoff time.”
Keys for both teams in this series :
- Lethbridge has to play rock-solid defense against a UFV team that has a lot of weaponry. They both score about 84 ppg, but the Cascades have surrendered just 75 compared to 82 for Lethbridge.
- Cooper, Duce, and SpearChief- Morris have to control the offensive flow of Freeman and especially, Friesen. He is really the key to UFV.
- Fraser Valley needs to get a crowd, then have the excitement level up to help them with any doubts they may have. Their big men, Kyle Grewal and Jasper Moedt, must out-rebound Coward and Derek Waldner. Both teams are good on the glass, but the edge here might decide the series.
This series could be a close one, but we have to give the edge to UFV. If it goes to 3 games, the Pronghorns may have the fresher legs, and their depth could help with any foul trouble as well. UFV in a good , close affair.
It all starts at Thursday, Feb. 23 – Canada West TV – 8 pm Pacific time.
Saturday Quarter-Finals – Feb. 25.
- Windsor at McMaster (W-2)
- Guelph at Lakehead(W-1)
- Laurentian at Carleton (E-1)
- Ottawa at Ryerson (E-2)