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.”
VIU’s Brandon Jones had on off-night against Douglas, but still led all scorers with 19 points. In the throwback above, Jones goes to the bucket during the 2012 PacWest championship semifinals. – Brian Jones photo
The Vancouver Island University Mariners had everything to lose on Friday night.
They had an undefeated record. They presented perfection dating back to last season’s national title. They came in ranked third in the CCAA’s national rankings. And, they had something a little more tangible to lose – their pride and confidence.
But it’s those last two that mattered most. Those two crucial facets of VIU’s identity, the building blocks of their genetic makeup that make them so good in the first place, were what helped them walk out of their battle with the Douglas College Royals not quite unscathed, but still undefeated.
VIU left New Westminster with an 83-79 win over Douglas last night, though the outcome was in question up until roughly 19 seconds left in the game.
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.
Langara Falcons point guard, and PacWest player of the week, Brody Greig. – Brian Jones Photo
Two questions have hung over the Langara College Falcons like a cumulus Vancouver cloud for over a month:
Are they as good as they were last year?
And, can they beat VIU?
The answer to the first question is subjective. They’ve lost big pieces from last year’s historical provincial championship run, but their best players have gotten better and the supporting cast is still one of the best second units in the PacWest.
They addressed the doubts that any skeptic (including myself) had about their depth last night, as the Falcons bench contributed 43 points in a 101-80 win over the Douglas College Royals at Langara’s campus.
Four of the starting fourth-years posted double-digit scoring numbers, and Maple Ridge’s Max Neumann had his best game of the adolescent season, adding 10 points, eight rebounds, three emphatic blocks and went a perfect two of two from distance in 17 minutes off the pine.
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.
Kristian Hlldebrandt picking up teammate Andrew Baron. – Brian Jones Photo
Around this time two years ago, Andrew Baron was averaging less than 10 minutes per game for the Douglas College Royals. He was a rookie on a team with an abundance of third and fourth-year players, and he was nervous.
After graduating from Elphinstone Secondary in 2008, Baron spent three years unsure of what direction he wanted to steer his life into. He knew that he wanted to play basketball at the collegiate level. He also knew that he was very capable of doing so after a stellar career at Elphinstone.
But life has a way of, well, getting in the way.
Then, in the summer of 2010, Baron contacted Denis Beausoleil – the newly-hired basketball coach at Douglas. That correspondence turned into informal summer league games. Those runs in August translated into tryouts, and those tryouts manifested into a spot on the roster.
But it was quickly realized that wearing a jersey and having his name inked on the pregame programs didn’t guarantee any sort of smooth sailing.
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.