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.
Cartiea French-Toney and the Quest Kermodes look to shift the balance of power in the PacWest. – Brian Jones Photo
Regular-season record: 11-10
Provincial tournament: Bronze medallists
Key returning players:
Cartiea French-Toney (4th year)
Jose Colorado (4th year)
Connor Heinrichs (4th year)
Mike Zayas-Duran (3rd year)
Denzel Laguerta (2nd year)
Mike Powell (2nd year)
Justin Tryon (2nd year)
Daniel Hoffmann (2nd year)
Jeevan Bhogal (1st year – red shirt in 2012-13)
Mo Dadfar (2nd year)
Dylan Kular (4th year – injured, expected to miss season)
Shedrick Nelson (4th year – Western Washington)
Sunny Johal (University of New Brunswick)
Josh Beasley (University of New Brunswick)
Brodan Thiel (Graduation)
Jesse Norris (Graduation)
There’s a hierarchical structure of power in the PacWest.
It used to be VIU, UNBC, and then everyone else. Then UNBC made the jump to the CIS’s Canada West division last year, while VIU maintained their longstanding success and won the CCAA national championship. When Paul Eberhardt returned to the PacWest and took over the head-coaching reigns at Langara last year, he helped elevate the Falcons to an instant powerhouse – going 20-1 in the regular season, claiming the provincial championship, and is now poised to have another great season after returning the bulk of last year’s roster.
But Sean Shook and the Quest University Kermodes feel that there might be a little more room on the pedestal that VIU, UNBC, and now Langara have occupied for the latter half of the last decade.
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 forward Christina Brown drives past Quest guard Shayna Cameron during Thursday’s quarterfinal game on Thursday, Feb. 28. – Matt Bossons Photo.
One down, two to go.
With a 64-48 win over the Quest University Kermodes, the Kwantlen Eagles women have punched a ticket to tonight’s semifinal bout against the top-ranked Capilano University Blues.
But despite getting that first W, no weight or pressure has been lifted off of the Eagles. If anything, the monkey on their back has become a gorilla.
“It’s one game at a time. It’s been our theme this year of not filling in the blank with either we’re gonna win or we’re gonna lose,” said Kwantlen’s head coach Dan Nayebzadeh. “Just go out and play as hard as we can and let the chips fall as they may.”
Eagles guard Haeley Williams goes in for an uncontested layup against Douglas College on Feb. 9. – Brian Jones Photo
If there’s any nervousness or tension on the part of the Kwantlen women’s basketball team, it’s not showing.
The night before the big dance – their first round playoff matchup against the Quest University Kermodes – head coach Dan Nayebzadeh is the picture of calm and collection.
“I don’t feel very nervous, I’m actually watching a TV show,” said Nayebzadeh over the phone late Wednesday night, his voice very relaxed and composed. “I kind of have to let the chips fall where they may, can’t really think about it too much. It’s uncertain who’s going to win and you can’t really control those things. You just have to control what you can – show up and play as hard as you can and see what happens.”
Nayebzadeh and his team had just finished a dinner, and he explained that it was lighthearted and full of laughs. The camaraderie between the girls has been the catalyst for the their success throughout the PacWest grind.
Kwantlen Eagles head coach Stefon Wilson shouts instructions from the sideline. – Brian Jones Photo
I had my victory article ready. I had jotted down intended postgame questions like “What was the key to the win tonight?” and “How huge is to finally get two wins in a row during this stretch of the season?”
In my head, I already had the title: “Eagles complete weekend sweep, move one step closer to playoffs.”
Then the fourth quarter came, and along with it a complete breakdown.
On Saturday, Feb. 2, the Quest University Kermodes outscored the Kwantlen Eagles 38-14 in the final 10 minutes, overcoming a double-digit deficit and going on to win 102-87.
Notes were scribbled over, pages were torn out, and my victory article was scrapped.