This tournament honours the legendary Atlantic Canada basketball referee and was founded in the early 90's by then-Tigers Head Coach Bev Greenlaw as a tribute to Rod Shoveller. I was thankful to have participated in many of those early events while on the coaching staff of the Ottawa Gee-Gees and was able to hear many of the stories about the tremendous contributions of Rod Shoveller to CIS basketball. Also during that time I met Rod's son, Bruce, who was completing his playing career at Queen's and Bruce and I have remained friends since. All the best to the Shoveller family and with this great tournament. I'm pleased to provide a tournament preview for what has arguably the top field of any of the CIS Holiday tournaments this season. As has been the case for virtually the entire history of the tournament, dates for games are around New Year's Day, given participants ample opportunity for practice time prior to the event.
Friday, December 31 (all games at DalPlex)
12pm AT/11 am ET Saint Mary's (6-9, 2-5) vs. Concordia (9-1, 4-1) Huskies limped into the break off a 2-6 finish to the first half but included in that stretch was a home win over Dal which shows talent is there to compete. SMU must tighten up defensively (over 90 ppg allowed) and welcome 6'5" Dustin Anthony, former CCAA All-Canadian at Mount Allison, to the lineup for the second half. SMU is 0-5 vs. teams in this tournament. Stingers may have top overall player in the tournament in 6'2" Kyle Desmarais, a do-everything combo guard, who has been the key reason why Concordia has been in the Top 10 all year. Stingers were expecting to have 6'4" Demetrius Boards, from Marist H.S. in New Jersey and a transfer from Sussex JuCo after a two season career in which he averaged 17.1 ppg last season in the lineup.
2pm St. FX (11-3, 3-2) vs. Laurentian (4-10, 4-5) After winning their first 9 games of the season, a two-week early-November layoff took the momentum out of X's sails but all 3 losses have been to quality opponents (at Cape Breton by 16, Dal by 3 and Toronto by 4). X has already won 3 tournaments this season (Donohue, Garland and their own) and expect this deep, talented group to be ready again as Christian T-Bear Upshaw and his very successful graduating class enter the final semester of their careers. A spectacular, double digit comeback win at Mac has been the springboard to renewed optimism with the Voyageurs, who won 4 of their last 7, led by the return to health of the Pasquale brothers and a decision by Head Coach Shawn Swords to shorten his bench recently.
5pm Dalhousie (8-3, 4-1) vs. Queen's (3-14, 2-7) Tigers, who feature the top statistically defensive team in the AUS, went into the break winners of 5 of their past 6 to get back into Top 10 consideration - the sole loss was at Saint Mary's by 6 - and Dal has already knocked off X in Antigonish. Gaels have had churn in the coaching ranks with Duncan Cowen taking over mid-season for Rob Smart Sr. and their only 3 wins of the season have come at home against Waterloo on the opening night of the OUA regular season plus Bishop's at home and at RMC - the only two remaining winless programs in the CIS. Injuries hammered the Gaels early in the season and 6'2" Dan Bannister is the only consistent offensive threat.
7pm Acadia (8-5, 3-3) vs. Laval (9-3, 4-1) Nice matchup in the nightcap with both teams very talented offensively. The veteran Rouge et Or had their long winning streak snapped on the final night of the QUBL first half at Concordia, one night after outlasting an improving McGill team in Montreal. 6'4" Jerome Turcotte is having an all-conference POY type season. Laval comfortably defeated Saint Mary's at their own tournament in October. The Axemen won their last two on the road and sit comfortably in an AUS playoff spot. 6'1" freshman shooting guard Thomas Filgiano (7.7 ppg in 23 mpg), who has taken on the responsibility of checking the opponent's best guard, has emerged as one of the better first-year players in the AUS and a player we did not originally highlight in our top freshman piece a few weeks ago.
Saturday, January 1
1pm Loser Game 1 vs Loser Game 2
3pm Loser Game 3 vs Loser Game 4
6pm Winner Game 1 vs Winner Game 2
8pm Winner Game 3 vs Winner Game 4
Sunday, January 2
9am Loser Game 5 vs Loser Game 6
11am Winner Game 5 vs Winner Game 6
1pm Loser Game 7 vs Loser Game 8 (Bronze Medal Game)
3pm Winner Game 7 vs Winner Game 8 (Championship)