Jowell Shuffler MVP,Garden City (MB) Picks Up Wesmen Classic Championship


Winnipeg, MB—If you’ve been to the Wesmen Classic the last couple of years, there are few things that are certain.

1. Competitive basketball throughout the duration of the tournament.

2. Garden City is going to win the High School Championship.

Another year, another championship for the Garden City Fighting Gophers as they’ll try to find space in their trophy case for another Wesmen Classic trophy, which by now is probably jam packed. That now makes four in a row, and six out of the last seven.

Garden City Head Coach Phil Penner spoke about the accomplishment “It’s kinda hard to believe it actually. The Wesmen Classic is a great tournament.  Our guys really want to play in it, they really want to win it, and we put a fair bit of focus on it. It’s pretty impressive but I feel really good for the guys.”

Garden City wins the Wesmen Classic Championship - Photo Courtesy - Ian Froese

Garden City wins the Wesmen Classic Championship – Photo Courtesy – Ian Froese

The Garden City Fighting Gophers defeated the Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute Hawks by a score of 88-83.

The jitters that usually came with a championship game were on display as both teams took about six shots before one of them went in. Shortly after, shots started to fall in place and a back and forth pace played out until the end.

Every year, there is usually one Fighting Gopher that stands out among the rest. Two years ago it was Andre Arruda who had thirty point games, then last year Tynan Reyes had monster double-double games. This year, the torch was taken by Jowel Shuffler, who went out and made a statement game. After the first quarter he had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Yes, a double-double after one quarter of play.

Not to be out done by his teammate, Arel Cansino showed he was able to score the basket as well knocking down four triples in the first half which contributed to his 18 first half points.

Despite this scoring frenzy by Shuffler and Cansino, MBCI wasn’t backing down and was definitely not giving up. The combo of Torrez McKoy and Derek McKnight battled hard. The Garden City defense was not giving anything easy.

The Hawks never fell too far behind and brought the game to within reach at halftime. Garden City led 44-39. At halftime, Jowel Shuffler had 18 points and 18 rebounds, and impressive feat that would have been great had the game been over, but there was more to come.

Torrez McKoy is a competitor and showed that he’s also got an assassin’s mentality. He dropped three triples in the third quarter with deep range. McKoy’s 9-0 run brought the Hawks to within one point, 62-63 with one quarter to play.

For those tracking the Jowel Shuffler points and rebounds total, before the fourth quarter started, he had 29 and 21.

Jared Kashton and Arbee Pablo hit a few from the perimeter for GC and the Fighting Gophers pulled out to a 69-62 lead. Things looked to be in favour of GC, but Matt Dyck stepped up and hit back to back triples bringing MBCI back into the game as the quarter started to wind down.

Torrez McKoy would step up once again for a triple from NBA distance once more, and MBCI was once again in familiar territory, only down by one.

Jowel Shuffler goes up for the basket -  Photo Courtesy - Ian Froese

Jowel Shuffler goes up for the basket – Photo Courtesy – Ian Froese

It started and ended all with Shuffler as he had a fast break, he took the ball and threw down a one handed slam which put an exclamation point on the game.

Jowel Shuffler finished with an impressive 36 and 25 and played the full 40 minutes. Arel Cansino finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists.

Tournament MVP Jowel Shuffler spoke about the game “I don’t even have words for it. It was a big game, and we came ready to play and I’m just glad we came out with the win. We wanted it so much, we’ve been working every day of the week, hard practices everyday grinding to get here and get this win.”

With the Wesmen Classic victory, most teams will have a bull’s-eye on Garden City, but Arel Cansino isn’t taking anything for granted “We still have to work hard. Teams want to beat us, they have a target on our heads. We’ve got to be ready.”

Coach Penner added a few words on Shuffler’s performance “That was probably the best game I’ve seen him play, he’s a great rebounder, and he’s getting better offensively and tonight he was an animal and deserved the MVP.”

Top Performers:

Garden City

Jowel Shuffler – 36pts, 25rebs

Arel Cansino – 29pts, 11rebs, 7asts

Byron Oduca – 13pts, 5rebs, 4asts, 3stls


Torrez McKoy – 32pts, 13rebs, 2asts

Derek McKnight – 22pts, 13rebs, 5asts, 2stls


Tournament MVP – Jowel Shuffler – Garden City (24pts, 17.7rebs, 2stls)

Tournament All-Stars (averages)

Byron Oduca – Garden City (19pts, 6.33rebs, 2.67asts, 2.33stls)

Torrez McKoy – MBCI (27.3pts, 9.67rebs, 2.33asts, 3.67stls)

Derek McKnight – MBCI (21.3pts, 11.3rebs, 2.67asts, 2.33stls)

William Sesay – Oak Park (20.3pts, 15rebs, 2.33asts, 2.33stls)

Ivan Paskvalin – Kelvin (22.3pts, 4.33rebs, 3stls)



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