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.
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.