Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Canada West Thoughts

The second full weekend of CW interlocking play is scheduled for this weekend and thus far the Pacific Division leads by a solid 9-3 after games played two weekends ago... There will be 12 more interlocking games played this weekend with #2 UBC and UVic travelling to Winnipeg to face the Wesmen and Manitoba Bisons, while Calgary and Lethbridge face off in a pair of games against #8 Simon Fraser and Trinity Western while Regina and Brandon host Fraser Valley and Thompson Rivers. In the lone pair of all-Prairie division games, Saskatchewan Huskies completed their very difficult schedule of first-half games in Edmonton for a pair against Alberta Golden Bears, loser of their last 4 in a row... Winners of four of their past five games (all at home), Lethbridge Pronghorns (4-4 in Canada West play) embark on their most important road trip of the season against a pair of Pacific Division teams poised to build on their early-season success that has seen the Horns match their entire victory output from last season. New Head Coach Dave Adams had a recruiting coup when 6'2" Jeff Price came over from Calgary and Price has not disappointed as one of CW's top scorers at 16.8 ppg while adding 5.8 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game as the primary decision-maker for Lethbridge. Price also shoots 44% from downtown and 89% from the free throw line while leading the team at 34 minutes per game in league play. But it has certainly not been a one-man show as a pair of Toronto natives from the Mike Connolley era: 6'2" Danhue Lawrence (13.1 ppg/7.8 rpg) and 6'6" Robin Cooper (12.5 ppg/6.9 rpg) both also average over 30 mpg and have been very steady around the glass especially, helping the Horns lead CW in rebounding margin (+7 rpg) and offensive boards per game (17 per game !). Coach Adams has maintained a consistent starting lineup that includes 6'4" Red Deer College transfer Randy Davis, who had a career and Horn season-high 27 points against Manitoba this past Saturday plus last season's top rookie 6'7" Derek Waldner who complements Cooper and Davis up front. 6'1" Quinn Van Gaalen is a three-point threat off the bench and 7'0" Remington Stemler provides an imposing presence especially on the defensive end where he averages almost 2 blocks per game in only 14 mpg. 6'5" Brandon Thomas-James, another Toronto area product from Pickering H.S., is the eighth man and the only other Horn averaging more than 10 mpg. This weekend will be provide two huge challenges in undefeated Simon Fraser (5-0) in Burnaby followed by 3-2 Trinity Western Spartans in Langley. With a victory at home over Regina Cougars, one of the favorites for a playoff spot in the Prairie Division, Lethbridge has taken that next step toward legitimate playoff contenders who can defend their home turf well. Winning on the road in hostile environments that SFU and TWU are likely to set will bring even more legitimacy to Coach Adams turnaround job... Speaking of SFU, the Clan has somewhat-quietly gone 5-0 with all games/wins on the road in the quirky Canada West schedule. Statistics shine significant light on how the Clan has got it done thus far as SFU is tied for first in scoring defense (66.8 ppg allowed) and first in several key offensive categories including 45% shooting from the floor, 40% three-point shooting and an average of 11 threes made per game. 6'4" sharpshooter Kevin Shaw leads the way from beyond the arc, having made 19 of his first 34 threes on the season before going 0-5 in the Clan's victory last Saturday night at Fraser Valley. Defensively, SFU has clamped down in second halves of games, especially in the past 3 games holding Fraser Valley to 26 and 29 points in the third/fourth quarters of last weekend's games (35% and 26% shooting) and surrendering only 24 points to Brandon in the second half of SFU's win on the road two weeks ago. The Clan ordinarily go 8 deep with led by their three fifth-year guards/wings in Shaw (13.8 ppg/ 30.8 mpg), 6'4" Sean Burke (13.6 ppg/4.4 rpg/4.2 apg/32.8 mpg) and 6'4" Matt Kuzminski (13.0 ppg/5.0 rpg/28.4 mpg). 6'5" third-year forward Chas Kok, who missed last Saturday's matchup with UFV, supports up front with 10.8 ppg/4.5 rpg in 25 mpg while 6'5" Greg Gillies (8.6 ppg/23.4 mpg), another third-year forward comes off the bench. 6'7" third-year forward Eric Burrell (7.6 ppg/8.0 rpg - 6th in Canada West) has started every game at the 5 spot while 5'11" Kevin Pribilsky, in his sophomore season, provides backup support off the bench at the guard spots. 6'3" Jordan Nostedt (4th Year) has averaged 14 mpg coming off the bench on the wing as well. This is a reasonably deep, experienced team with three fifth-year guards/wings who have played together for several years, appear to understand the value of defending and rebounding and they all can make shots. The Clan has a tremendous opportunity to raise their national profile this weekend on Friday against an improved Lethbridge Pronghorn team and especially on Saturday night when SFU hosts #4 Calgary Dinos, one of the favorites for the CIS National championship.


#4 Calgary 7-1
Lethbridge 4-4
Alberta 4-4
Saskatchewan 3-3
Regina 3-3
Brandon 3-5
Manitoba 2-5
Winnipeg 0-7
#2 UBC 5-0
#8 Simon Fraser 5-0
Trinity Western 3-2
Victoria 3-2
UFV 3-3
Thompson Rivers 0-6

Note: top 4 Prairie teams, top 3 Pacific teams qualify for playoffs; better record from Prairie 5th & PacD 4th also qualifies; two CWUAA finalists qualify for CIS championship

This weekend's Canada West schedule:
NOTE: Check Canada West web site for links to webcasts for virtually all games this weekend
8 PM CT UBC@Wpg LiveStats webcast
8 PM CT UVic@Man webcast
8 PM CT TRU@Bran webcast
8 PM MT Sask@AB live
8 PM PT Cgy@TWU LiveStats Video
8:15 PM PT Leth@SFU LiveStats Live Video
5 PM PT Cgy@SFU LiveStats Live Video
8 PM CT UVic@Wpg LiveStats webcast
8 PM CT UBC@Man webcast
8 PM CT UFV@Bran webcast
8 PM MT Sask@AB live
7 PM PT Leth@TWU LiveStats Video


1. Showron Glover-SASK 25.2
2. Dany Charlery-BRAN 22.5
3. Jacob Doerksen-TWU 20.4
4. Josh Whyte-UBC 20.0
5. Ross Bekkering-CGY 19.3
6. Nick Lother-WPG 16.9
7. Jeff Price-LETH 16.8
8. Sam Freeman-UFV 16.7
9. Sean Garvey-TRU 16.2
10. Peter Lomuro-WPG 15.7

1. Greg Stewart-TRU 11.5
2. Ross Bekkering-CGY 9.9
3. Troy Gottselig-SASK 9.7
4. Tyrell Mara-TWU 9.2
5. Kris Heshka-REG 8.2
6. Eric Burrell-SFU 8.0
7. Kyle Watson-UBC 7.8
8. Danhue Lawrence-LETH 7.8
9. Jordan Baker-AB 7.4
10. Rob Cooper-LETH 6.9

1. Michael Lieffers-SASK .667
2. Ross Bekkering-CGY .613
3. Showron Glover-SASK .545
4. Greg Stewart-TRU SR .542
5. Jacob Doerksen-TWU .541
6. Kevin Shaw-SFU .522
7. Dany Charlery-BRAN SR .507
8. Nathan Yu-UBC .500
Lance Verhoeff-TWU .500
Nolan Brudehl-SASK .500
Kris Heshka-REG .500
Zac Andrus-UVIC .500

No comments: