angara’s win over VIU on Saturday lifts them up in this week’s rankings. – Brian Jones Photo
Only one change in this week’s Power Rankings, but it’s a major one.
VIU, who held the number-one spot in the rankings for the first four weeks of the season, has dropped to the number-two spot, trading places with Langara after the Falcons beat the Mariners 102-85 at home in Vancouver on Saturday.
VIU didn’t look as strong as usual against Douglas the night before, escaping with an 83-79 win, and then had a lot of trouble trying to keep up with the surging Falcons the following afternoon.
Langara has been on a terror since shedding their only loss to Quest in week two. The Falcons have eclipsed the 100-point mark in each of their last five bouts, and in six of eight total games so far this season.
“I would say we’re right on track. We’re just now figuring out how to use our bench effectively,” said Langara’s head coach Paul Eberhardt. “We had a much better idea how to use our bench last year than this year, but we’re starting to get good rotations and guys are figuring out how to play with each other. I’m happy where we’re at, but we still have a long way to go.”
Elliot Mason, the 6-6 Langara sharpshooter, earned PacWest Player of The Week honours for his 16-point, 11-rebound performance versus Douglas on November 22. – Brian Jones Photo
With only a single game of basketball for each team this past weekend and no resulting upsets, the rankings haven’t budged since Week 3.
VIU hammered Camosun 93-51, urging me to completely disband the term ‘island rivalry’ from my vocabulary for the rest of the season. I’m upset to have even mentioned it in that last sentence.
Brandon Jones, third in PacWest scoring at 19.3 points per game, had a rather quiet offensive outing but still managed to put up an impressive stat line, tallying nine points, seven rebounds and 13 assists. The frontcourt duo of Jason Fortin and Seth Goodman led the Mariners in scoring at 19 and 14 respectively. Goodman and Fortin are currently the top-two rebounders in the league, with the former slightly edging out the latter 9.2 to 8.5.
VIU is torching the rest of the Lower Mainland, scoring 25.4 more points on average than their opponents so far.
But the lull in movement throughout the rankings may be short lived.
Kwanlten’s rookie guard Obi Udevi was one of the lone bright spots for Kwantlen on Saturday against Douglas. – Brian Jones Photo
This past weekend was devoid of upsets and surprises around the PacWest, as the giants still stand tall, but the race for fifth place is heating up.
The top half of this week’s rankings remains unchanged, as Vancouver Island University Mariners and Langara College Falcons both swept their respective doubleheaders, while the Quest University Kermodes and Capilano University Blues each split their island road trip.
VIU is still the only undefeated team in the PacWest after picking up a 76-65 win over Quest on Friday then drumming Cap 80-58 on Saturday.
Langara easily handled the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Eagles and Columbia Bible College Bearcats, breaking the triple-digit mark in both bouts and averaging a 47-point margin of victory over the weekend. The Falcons’ loss in Week 2 to Quest may have been exactly what they needed, because adding a tally to Langara’s loss column is like trying to put out a house fire with gasoline.
Falcons forward Elliot Mason looks to break ankles out on the wing. – Brian Jones Photo
Capilano head coach Dwayne Selby summed up the crazy finishes and surprising blowouts around the PacWest this past weekend:
“There’s a lot of parity in the league right now. Our league is up for grabs, and I told my guys that if you don’t show up to play every single night, anyone can beat you.”
Selby’s words have been identical to what almost every other coach in the league has been preaching since preseason.
VIU is the only squad still standing with an unblemished record, but they’ve been lobbed softballs thus far, beating Camosun, Kwantlen and CBC (the bottom three teams in the league) by an average of 25.7 points. The Mariners will face their biggest challenge when they host Quest and Capilano next weekend.
The PacWest kicked off regular season play this weekend with each team playing one game apiece, and while there were no thrilling victories or buzzer-beater finishes, it gave everyone a chance to crank it up a notch from the preseason.
Quest’s rookie point guard Denzel Laguerta slices through multiple Camosun defenders on his way to the hoop. – Brian Jones Photo
There’s a routine that PacWest teams are used to when they visit Vancouver Island. They come over on the ferry, play in Victoria on Friday night at 8 pm, and then travel up to Nanaimo the next day to play at 3 pm, or vice-versa.
For the Quest University Kermodes, it was no different at the provincial championships.
On Thursday night, they were pitted against tournament hosts Camosun College in the 8 pm timeslot. The stands were completely packed, but held a surprisingly even amount of fans from both sides. Camosun had a strong contingent of supporters due to the home court advantage, but Quest had a bus full of students and family make the trek over from Squamish.
The game was an anomaly. Incredibly low scoring plagued both squads but the intensity and emotion was unrivaled.
Kwantlen guard Aaron Ram gets hacked by Langara forward Jesse Jeffers during their Feb. 8 matchup in Surrey. – Brian Jones Photo
There was a slim chance of a positive outcome for the Kwantlen men’s basketball team this past weekend. In my last article, I detailed the miniscule odds that would send them to the postseason. Unfortunately for the Eagles, those odds were stacked too heavily against them.
On Friday, Feb. 15 against Camosun College, the Eagles played some of their best – and strangest – basketball all year. Their starting point guard, Chris Arcangel, was out for the third straight game with an ankle injury, and their back-up lead guard, Nii Engmann, was taking care of his newborn baby daughter. Kwantlen was left without any of their usual ball handlers, but Wilson managed to find an unlikely substitute that ended up causing a ton of matchup problems.
He called upon third-year forward Tristan Gruenthaler to run the offense. Gruenthaler had rarely ventured outside the paint during the entire season, and has a offensive repertoire that revolves around up-and-unders, turnaround hooks, and spot-up 10-foot jumpers. He’s 6-foot-6, has one of the biggest bodies on Kwantlen’s roster, but on Friday he was given a new role – to run the Eagles’ offense.
Besides completely surprising the Chargers, the shuffle created a ripple effect of matchup problems. If a post player came out to defend Gruenthaler, that gave Ali Bosir more room to operate in the post. If they brought out a guard, that forced other bigger, slower defenders to have to close out Kwantlen’s three-point shooters.