Monday, 18 February 2008

Canada West/Dinos-Bears Update from Wayne Thomas

Dinos Host Bears in Division Final For the first time since the 2003-04 season, the Calgary Dinos will host the Central Division Championship series, and they will play their arch-rivals, the Alberta Golden Bears, winners in a 3 game Semi-Final set against the Saskatchewan Huskies last weekend. The Dinos have been languishing in the wake of both Alberta and Saskatchewan for the past several seasons, as those two teams have dominated the Division since that Dinos squad of Riad, Wright, Hornsberger, Heran, Salgado, Grewal and company won Canada West in March of '04. Calgary lost in 2 straight last season in Saskatoon in the Semi, to Alberta in 3 games in the Semi in '06, and again to Alberta in '05 in a 3 game Semi. The Bears have 6 Canada West Championships under Coach Don Horwood, the last being in 2005, while the Dinos have just 1 for Coach Dan Vanhooren in his 8th year at the helm. This season has been a break-out campaign for the Dinos with the addition of much heralded recruits, and they have earned home court for this series with an 18-4 Canada West record, two games up on Alberta's 14-6. In their head to head games this season, Calgary holds a 3-1 advantage in games ... 95-74 and 98-73 wins at home ... a split in Edmonton ... loss of 87-68, and a win of 98-87....this note from Dinos Athletics Tickets for the best-of-three series are available by calling (403) 220-DINO or emailing The series starts Friday, Feb. 22 with a 7 p.m. tip-off in the Jack Simpson Gym with the same schedule Saturday, Feb. 23. If necessary, Game 3 will go at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24. Fans are advised to purchase tickets in advance as the Dinos’ event staff expects long lines for tickets at the door. The last time the team hosted the Division Final in 2004, standing-room-only crowds witnessed the Dinos defeat Alberta in a thrilling three-game series. Regina Sweeps Winnipeg ... In the second game of the Great Plains Division Semi, the Regina Cougars wasted the Winnipeg Wesmen 83-49 led by 22 points from senior wing Bryden Wright. Winnipeg proved no match for the home-standing Cougars, and without their star 5th year guard Erfan Nasajpour, the Wesmen shot a dismal 24% from the floor. Regina advances to the Divisional Final series next weekend against the #2 CIS team, the Brandon Bobcats. An Era Ends For the Huskies As Andrew Spagrud left the court Sunday in Edmonton, his last game in a Huskies uniform, he and his 5th year mates Kyle Grant, Rob Lovelace, Jordan Harbidge and Mark Lynch closed the door on one of the finest eras in Saskatchewan basketball history. Much of the attention and credit for their team success has gone to Spagrud, but Grant, Lovelace, and Harbidge have given 5 strong years to the Green and White as well, while Lynch, a transfer from Calgary's Mount Royal College, was the surprise hero last year in the Divisional Final. Coach Greg Jockims worked very hard with several of these Saskatchewan players as early as their high school years playing with the Junior Huskies, and he has shown that the U of S can be competitive with local graduates, for the most part. It may take a while, however, to see the likes of this group, especially the extraordinary athletic gifts of Spagrud, who has been one of the CIS' all-time best for his entire career. Notes ... UBC hosts UVic in the Pacific Final; The 3 Division winners and a wildcard team will meet in the Canada West Final Four, to be played at the home of the Calgary-Alberta winner on Feb. 29 and March 1. The Carleton Ravens finished the regular season at 22-0 in the Ontario East League, and the 5 time defending CIS Champs now have a bye before starting their playoff run under Coach Dave Smart, who is also a Coach with the National Team.

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