Monday, 29 October 2007

Weekend Recap

The final set of pre-season tournaments were played this past weekend with St. Mary's capturing a championship for the second consecutive weekend, winning the Laval tournament highlighted by a comeback victory over the hosts in overtime on Saturday evening. The Alberta Golden Bears ran through 3 OUA teams at home in Edmonton to capture the Golden Bear Invitational while Queen's defeated Western in the championship game of the Purple and White tournament in London at the University of Western Ontario. The Windsor Lancers captured the Hawk Invitational at Laurier. Finally, Rocky Mountain College, an NAIA team from Montana, captured the Lethbridge tournament... Count Bishop's Head Coach Eddie Pomykala in the group of observers who believes Windsor Lancers are among the elite teams in the CIS. After his Gaiters were defeated by Windsor on Friday night at the Hawk Challenge at Laurier, Pomykala had high praise for the Lancers: "Windsor played like the #2 team in the country... (they) came out of the blocks hard and completely blew us out early. Playing great fundamental basketball, they jumped out to a quick lead... they are an excellent team and hopefully we gained something in the long term for playing them."... With every setback comes opportunity for another which is a mantra that hopefully will apply to Saskatchewan Huskies 6'4" freshman two-guard Brennan Jarrett. Jarrett started some games for the Huskies this weekend at the Lethbridge tournament and observers saw tremendous promise in his game. Jarrett likely will come off the bench when 6'0" guard Rob Lovelace comes back from injury but Jarrett did look promising and could become a very important player in the coming seasons when Saskatchewan loses their core of current players to graduation. Also with Saskatchewan, expect 6'2" Chris Bodnar to join the Huskies after football, where he is a backup quarterback, and he should see time in the rotation almost immediately. Bodnar was very capable as the starting point for Saskatchewan at the 2005 Canada Games.

INJURIES UPDATE: Several potential All-Canadians and other honours candidates have been sidelined recently including 5'10" point guard Brad Rootes from Brock, who has missed 5 consecutive games since injurying his ankle against Laval during the opening round of last weekend's Jack Donohue Memorial tournament at Ottawa. Rootes should practice sparingly early this week and rejoin the Badgers when they face Air Force and Colorado, a pair of NCAA Division 1 teams out west this coming Wednesday and Thursday. The Badgers kick off their regular season in about two weeks, travelling to Kingston to face RMC and Queen's... 6'8" Andrew Spagrud and 6'0" Rob Lovelace, a pair of starters on the Saskatchewan Huskies, each missed all three games at this weekend's Lethbridge tournament during which the host Pronghorns upset the Huskies. Both Spagrud and Lovelace are expected back when Saskatchewan begins their Canada West regular season with a pair of games in B.C., Friday night at Fraser Valley and Saturday at Thompson Rivers... UBC's 6'8" Bryson Kool, who suffered a knee injury over Labour Day weekend, returned to action to play sparingly although he did not start as the T-Birds went 2-0 against Trinity Western and Simon Fraser to open their Canada West regular season. Kool played 8 minutes against TWU and then had 15 minutes, scoring 8 points, against Simon Fraser. UBC travels to the province of Alberta this coming weekend to face Lethbridge Pronghorns (Friday) and then Calgary Dinos (Saturday)... Speaking of the Dinos, their leading scorer Henry Bekkering missed their victory over Whitworth College of Spokane, WA on Saturday afternoon but brother Ross picked up the slack in Calgary's victory. The Dinos have two tough games to kick off their Canada West schedule as UVic Vikes and UBC T-Birds come into the Jack Simpson Gym at U of C this coming weekend... Winnipeg's 5'9" Erfan Nasajpour, who picked up where he left off last season by winning the MVP at the Pembina Chrysler (Winnipeg) tournament two weeks ago, missed both of the Wesmen's games last weekend in Southern Ontario and with the Wesmen idle this past weekend, the Wesmen hope he has had enough time off to be ready as they start their season on Thursday night, hosting the Duckworth Challenge against the Manitoba Bisons. The teams then have a return engagament at U of M on Saturday night... Guelph hopes to have 6'4" Jonathan Moscatelli available as they host Canada Basketball's NEDA (National Elite Development Academy) team at the U of G this coming Saturday night for a controlled scrimmage... McMaster is still without 6'6" Andrew Losier, one of their few key returning veterans who was expected to log significant minutes up front for the Marauders this season. With the emergence of 6'8" Mouchtar Diaby, 6'7" freshman Matt Wilusz and increasing minutes from sophomore 6'10" Geoff McLaughlin among others, Mac has filled the void somewhat, but would love to have Losier, who suffered a knee injury in practice about 2 1/2 weeks ago, back in time for when they open their OUA regular season hosting #1 Carleton Ravens and Ottawa Gee-Gees in two weekends... Queen's Golden Gaels, on the verge of a Top 10 spot in the rankings after capturing the Purple & White tournament, are playing very well even without two projected starters 6'5" Mitch Leger, runner up for OUA East Freshman-of-the-Year last season and 6'2" Ryan Hairsine, who has added strength and the ability to get to the rim and create to an already lethal long-distance shooting skill. Leger could be ready near the end of November however the news may not be so good on Hairsine who is probably out until after the first semester with an ankle injury... Concordia has been playing without 6'2" Damian Buckley, their quarterback and defensive presence in the back court. The Stingers embark on a five-game-in-eight-day tour of the U.S. later this week... The Cape Breton Capers lost starting wing 6'4" Paul Blake in the first half of their loss to the Windsor Lancers in the championship game of the Hawk Challenge in Laurier; Blake was unavailable the following day as the Capers were defeated in Guelph. Cape Breton meets St. Mary's in the first game of the X tournament in Antigonish this coming weekend.

WHO GOT OFF THIS WEEKEND: UVic's 6'7" Mitch Gudgeon thrilled fans on the island on opening night against Simon Fraser, going off for a career-high 34 points in the Vikes successful Canada West season opener. In the absence of 6'6" Jacob Doerksen, Gudgeon is playing more of a lead offensive role up front for the Vikes this season and he delivered on opening night... Regina's 6'1" sharpshooter Jeffrey Lukomski had the weekend high of 35 in the Cougars loss at Carroll College of Montana on Thursday night while 6'4" Kiraan Posey finished with 34 in a Lakehead loss to the host team at the Mayville State tournament, also stateside... Tournament MVP 6'4" Andrew Parker went 7 for 8 from downtown as part of his 29-point/8-rebound line in the Alberta Golden Bears win over Waterloo in the opening round of the Golden Bear Invitational on Thursday night. We've already written about how hard Parker worked each and every day on his game over the spring and summer, dispelling the notion that he is only a great athlete. Still, Parker remains a highlight-reel waiting to happen, especially in transition as he showed frequently this weekend, finishing a number of allyoop dunks similar to those that Canada West fans have got used to witnessing throughout his career. Later in the tournament, the Bears 6'2" guard Alex Steele lit up the York Lions for 26 points; Steele is another of Alberta's honours candidates this season... In that same game, the Lions prolific 6'2" guard Tut Ruach kept his team in the game with a 6 for 7 performance from downtown and finished with 24 points... Ottawa's 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe had 30 points in an overtime loss to Waterloo at the Bear Invitational... UBC's 6'7" Matt Rachar had a solid start to his Canada West regular season, scoring 27 points in the T-Birds opener against Trinity Western. 6'3" Chris Dyck added 21 points/6 assists in the same game... Guelph's 6'3" Nick Pankerichan is beginning to dominate games consistently in this his fourth year. The Hamilton, ON native had 26 points and 5 rebounds in a victory against Dalhousie and quickly followed up that effort with another career-high of 27 points and added 7 assists as the red-hot Gryphons defeated Cape Breton, sweeping three games against AUS competition this past weekend... In the Cape Breton game against Guelph, 6'5" Eric Breland did his best to keep the Capers in the game with 28 points. Breland also had 22 ponts/17 rebounds in a victory at Brock on Thursday night... McMaster's 6'2" freshman guard Tyrell Vernon had a career-high 27 points yesterday afternoon agains Dalhousie... Saturday night's exciting triple overtime affair between Bishop's and Laurier at the Hawk Challenge produced a pair of tremendous offensive efforts as Gaiters' star guard Junior Nicolas finished with 28 points and 9 assists before fouling out in regulation and 6'5" freshman Dominique Brown had a career-high 27 points, including 3 free throws with no time on the clock to force a third overtime, and added 9 rebounds. Brown is a product of Etobicoke, Ontario's Henry Carr College School, one of the top high school programs in Ontario... UPEI's 6'6" freshman from Ottawa, ON, Manock Lual had an impressive 28-point/14-rebound double/double in the Panthers loss to Western at the Purple & White tournament; Lual was named a tournament all-star... Mustangs 6'6" Brad Smith had another 30 point game, this time leading Western to an overtime win against McGill and garnered a tournament all-star for his efforts... St. Mary's designated zone buster, 6'1" Jack Gallinaugh, did his thing when Laurentian dropped back into a zone on the final day of the Laval tournament, knocking down six 3's, all in the second half, to allow the Huskies to pull away and capture the tournament championship... In that same tournament, 6'7" J.P. Morin went 12 for 16 and had 29 points against the Voyageurs... York's 6'7" veteran post Matt Terejko had a career-high 26 points as the Lions won their first game of the season against CIS competition, knocking off Waterloo on the final day of the Golden Bear Invitational at U of Alberta in Edmonton... A pair of Ryerson Rams had big nights in Lethbridge as 6'7" Boris Bakovic had 29 points/10 rebounds in a loss to eventual tournament champion Rocky Mountain College (NAIA). Later 6'2" Brandon Krupa led the Rams to their first victory against a CIS school this season, going for 26 points against the host Lethbridge Pronghorns.

By popular demand, here is a list of honours winners from the weekend:

Golden Bear Invitational at U of Alberta in Edmonton: MVP: Andrew Parker, Alberta. All-Stars: Alex Steele, Alberta; Tut Ruach, York; Cam McIntyre, Waterloo; Dax Dessureault, Ottawa.

Laval Rouge et Or Tornament: MVP: Shane Morrison, St. Mary's All-Stars: Ike Uchegbu, St. Mary's; J.F. Beaulieu, Jerome Turcotte, Laval; Omar Linder, Laurentian; Colton Wilson, UNB.

Purple & White Tournament at University of Western Ontario: MVP: Simon Mitchell - Queen's; ALL STAR TEAM - Jon Ogden - Queen's; Brad Smith - Western; Matt Curtis - Western; Manock Lual - UPEI; Sean Anthony - McGill.

We should have similar summaries from the Lethbridge and Laurier tournaments later this week. Congratulations to all the honours winners.

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