Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Guelph/Windsor; Calgary/Alberta, Waterloo/Lakehead Previews

Greg Layson's article in the Guelph Mercury on this Saturday's big Guelph at Windsor matchup. As Greg notes in his article, the Gryphons have not won in Windsor since 2001 First Game Back a Big One for Gryphs

Thanks to Dave Wells, one of our knowledgeable Canada West correspondents, who points out the unbalanced schedule in the Central Division makes this weekend's pair of games in Edmonton between Calgary and Alberta all the more important. Fans may or may not know that Calgary and Lethbridge play 12 CW home games this season and 10 on the road. U of A and U of S are 10 home, 12 road. (Last year it was the reverse; we have edited out Wellsie's comments on this situation :) ) So, it would seem that if U of C can win one game in U of A this weekend that might put a stranglehold on the division. As well, coming first in the Central division not only guarantees an automatic berth in and hosting the best-of-three division finals - BUT THE WINNER OF THIS DIVISION IN PLAYOFFS HOST THE CANADA WEST FINAL FOUR! It goes without saying that this weekend's games at Alberta are very important.

See also a pair of Wayne Thomas articles preview this weekend's big two-game set in Edmonton: Big Series to Kick Off Second Half Whenever the Calgary Dinos meet the Alberta Golden Bears, it is a big game, but the upcoming pair of league games to be played at U of A can go a long way to determining the relative playoff positions of the two teams, even though it is just the first week back. The Dinos, who sit at 9-1 atop the Central Division, stomped all over Alberta (95-74 and 98-73) in the two league contests in Calgary before Christmas, can take control with a similar performance in Bear Country, while Coach Don Horwood looks to the return of point guard C.G. Morrison to turn the tables for the Bears. Alex Steele, the Alberta scoring leader, has had to shoulder much more of the ball-handling and scoring responsibility, and Horwood says," ... when C.G. returns, that should relieve some of the scoring pressure from him." The Bears also need Andrew Parker to play at his best if they hope to match the power of Calgary up front. "Andrew continues to be, in my mind, our most improved player," says Coach Horwood. "His only weak series was against Calgary ...." Indeed, Parker had little success against Henry Bekkering who had 28 pts. the first night to Parker's 5, but Andrew came back for 14 the second night, and has the athleticism to give the Dinos concern. Richard Bates, the 6'11" 5th year post player has been a steady force for Alberta all season and was effective at the offensive end in Calgary, with 16 pts. in game two. Giving Bates more touches might well be on the Bears' agenda this weekend. Alberta's fortunes will probably hinge, however, on the play of Steele, who has been a thorn in Calgary's side in years past. He can score from the perimeter and take it to the hoop, and will be a tough match-up for the visiting Dinos. Calgary comes off a 2-1 weekend tournament in Winnipeg with wins over Acadia and the Wesmen, but a frustrating loss to Brock, so they are looking to get on track for a strong second half, which sees them facing three challenging road trips starting at U of A, then at Regina and Brandon (Jan.18/19), and finishing with two in Saskatoon against the Huskies (Feb. 8/9). Ross Bekkering got his offensive game on track Sunday vs. Winnipeg with 25 pts., and his ability to stay in the game and avoid foul trouble will be crucial to Calgary fortunes. Brother Henry has been the leader and played well in Winnipeg for the most part; when he takes it inside, he is a load for anybody the Bears can put on him. Robbie Sihota has really hit his stride, and several double-doubles in the last half-dozen outings make him another big threat for Calgary. A key reason for Calgary strength this season is the overall toughness of point guard Jeff Price, who has come over from Mt. Royal College and taken the reins for Coach Dan Vanhooren, who says "Jeff is a gritty competitor, who has made a huge difference for us at both ends of the floor. He has been hitting clutch shots, distributing the ball and doing a great job at the defensive end as well."

Could Be Final Series For Cody In Edmonton For 5th year Dinos guard Cody Darrah, this weekend could well be the last University basketball he plays in his home town of Edmonton as the Bears host Calgary in the first series of games in the second half of league play. This weekend is a chance for Cody to play in front of friends and family, and to get a little of his folks' home cooking, but it is also a chance to help the Dinos pull away from the Bears and ensure they will not have to play at U of A in a playoff series. Darrah, who enters his 3rd season as a Dino, started CIS competition as a Golden Bear, but was released by Alberta after his 2nd year. Calgary coach Dan Vanhooren was happy to welcome the versatile shooting guard to the Dinos camp and Darrah has played well as an outside shooting threat and on an occasional stint as a point guard which he played at Strathcona High School for Coach Tim Martens. The 5th best 3 pt. shooter in Canada West thus far this season, Darrah is also playing his best defensive ball as well and his passing skills are crucial to the powerful inside game of the Dinos. Game time is 8:00 pm both Friday and Saturday as the Bears (7-3) and Dinos (9-1) battle for Alberta bragging rights and playoff positions. Notes ...
- 1st year guard Andrew Champagnie, from Edmonton's Ross Sheppard T-Birds, will also play in front of familiar faces, but this is 'Champ's" first action in the CIS in his home town.
- Jeremy Odland joins Darrah as the two 5th year Calgary players on the roster, while Alberta has Alex Steele, Richard Bates, Andrew Parker, and Jeff Stork in their final year of eligibility.
- Calgary lost both games in Edmonton last season, as they were 1-3 on the year vs. U of A, but they posted two impressive wins in Calgary against the Bears before Christmas this campaign.

Wolves vs. Warriors Weekend Preview by Mike Alyward, Lakehead Sports Information

The Lakehead Thunderwolves men’s basketball team open the second half of the OUA regular season with two home games against the Waterloo Warriors this Friday and Saturday night at the Thunderdome on the Lakehead campus in Thunder Bay. Both games tip off at 8:00 pm EST and will be videowebcast live as well as broadcast live on radio in Thunder Bay on Lakehead Radio 102.7 FM ( Ordering information for the live videowebcasts is available at and viewers will need hi speed internet and Windows Media Player to watch the broadcasts. Kyle Gerstmar will be calling the action live with Matt Prokopchuk providing the colour. The Wolves start the second half 4-4 in OUA action and are 9-9 overall while the Warriors are 3-5 in OUA play and 7-13 overall. The Wolves are tied for third in the OUA West with McMaster while Waterloo is right behind in a three-way tie for fourth. Lakehead did not play any holiday tourneys; choosing instead to return to campus early to work on team goals in preparation for the second half of the OUA season. Waterloo placed third at the Dearmon Tourney hosted by Ryerson; going 2-1 at the tourney. Lakehead Head Coach Scott Morrison said his team will be looking to start the second half of the season on a positive note. "Due to a quick start to the second semester, we will be returning to campus early and remaining here for training camp rather than participate in a holiday tournament. One of the major reasons we made this decision is that we have a tough Waterloo team coming to Thunder Bay to get things going in the second half. We have put ourselves in a competitive position during interlock play, now it is time to get back to focusing on the weekend's opponent and giving it all we have each weekend. The OUA West looks like it will be a 7 week battle for play-off berths and positions."
Lakehead Thunderwolves: The Wolves are looking for a good start to the second half against a tough Warriors squad and they will look to senior swingman Kiraan Posey for scoring and rebounding. Posey is second in OUA scoring at 21.12 ppg and fourth in conference rebounding at 8.75 per game. He is also 12th in OUA assists with 3.38 per game. Senior Warren Thomas is also a force inside for Lakehead; averaging 13.5 ppg and 5.6 rebounds per game. Senior post Matt Verboom’s inside rebounding will be crucial this weekend as well. Senior guard Ryan Precious continues to play his best basketball as a Lakehead player this season and is averaging 8.1 ppg, 3.9 assists per game (9th OUA), and 2.8 rebounds per game. His hustle on the court is one of the reasons for Lakehead’s turnaround this season. Sophomore guard Jamie Searle continues to improve and is averaging 12.8 ppg, 4.3 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game (13th OUA). Searle is fifth in OUA steals with 1.88 per game. Of interest to Wolves fans will be their first glimpse of new recruit Matthew Powell and how he will fit into the resurgent Thunderwolves squad in the second half of the season. Freshman Kyle McConnell seems to be finding his outside shooting touch and is now averaging 6.8 ppg. The Wolves will look for sophomore Andrew Hackner to continue his strong play and also look for contributions off the bench from Paul Popo-Ola, Dean Magierowski, Zack White, Andrew Quirion, and Lerry Williams.

Lakehead 07-08 Results:

Sat Dec 1 Queen's 94 Lakehead 71
Fri Nov 30 Lakehead 103 RMC 52
Sat Nov 24 Lakehead 81 York 59
Fri Nov 23 Lakehead 100 Laurentian 89
Sat Nov 17 Lakehead 91 Ryerson 64
Fri Nov 16 Toronto 71 Lakehead 58
Sat Nov 10 Carleton 82 Lakehead 52
Fri Nov 9 Ottawa 68 Lakehead 56
Fri Nov 2 Lakehead 99 Mayville State 86 EX
Sun Oct 28 Jamestown ND 104 Lakehead 83 EX
Sat Oct 27 Lakehead 72 Dakota State SD 70 EX
Fri Oct 26 Lakehead 93 Mayville 88 EX MS def 109-88W
Sat Oct 20 Saskatchewan 90 Lakehead 83 NC
Fri Oct 19 Lakehead 78 Memorial 66 NC
Thu Oct 18 Regina 85 Lakehead 73 NC
Sat Oct 13 Lakehead 76 Simon Fraser 70 NC
Fri Oct 12 Saskatchewan 104 Lakehead 84 NC
Thu Oct 11 Brandon 97 Lakehead 66 NC

Waterloo Warriors: Waterloo’s offense is led by Cam MacIntyre and his 12.8 ppg. Jordan Hannah (10.3 ppg) can also score for the Warriors. David Burnett directs the Waterloo attack (4.9 assists per game; 6th OUA) and can also score (9.9 ppg). Other Warriors to watch are Dan White (8.8 ppg), Sinclair Brown (6.9 ppg, 6.5 rebounds per game; 12th OUA), Alan Goodhofd (6.1 ppg), and Matt Hayes (5 ppg, 6.4 rebounds per game).

Waterloo 07-08 Results:

Sun Dec 30 Waterloo 74 York 65 NC
Sat Dec 29 Toronto 73 Waterloo 51 NC
Fri Dec 28 Waterloo 87 Ryerson 75 NC
Sat Dec 1 Waterloo 71 Laurentian 68
Fri Nov 30 Waterloo 82 York 72
Sat Nov 24 Queen's 61 Waterloo 53
Fri Nov 23 Waterloo 89 RMC 58
Sat Nov 17 Ottawa 71 Waterloo 58
Fri Nov 16 Carleton 77 Waterloo 53
Sat Nov 10 Ryerson 82 Waterloo 80
Fri Nov 9 Toronto 74 Waterloo 63
Sat Nov 3 St John Fisher 59 Waterloo 51 EX
Sat Oct 27 York 88 Waterloo 80 NC
Fri Oct 26 Waterloo 99 Ottawa 92 NC OT
Thu Oct 25 Alberta 89 Waterloo 68 NC
Sun Oct 14 McMaster 65 Waterloo 62 NC
Sat Oct 13 Toronto 76 Waterloo 53 NC
Fri Oct 12 Calgary 83 Waterloo 76 NC
Wed Oct 3 Waterloo 98 Warriors Alumni 95 EX
Mon Sep 3 Duquesne 107 Waterloo 80 EX

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