Sports

Cascades hoopsters find UBC-O Heat are no pushovers

Point guard James York (pictured above in action against UNBC) and the UFV men
Point guard James York (pictured above in action against UNBC) and the UFV men's basketball team suffered an upset road loss to the UBC-Okanagan Heat on Saturday.
— image credit: John Morrow file photo

For a first-year Canada West program, the UBC-Okanagan Heat posed an awfully stiff test for the University of the Fraser Valley's nationally ranked basketball teams on the weekend in Kelowna.

The No. 4-ranked Cascades women managed a pair of victories over upstart UBC-O, and both were hard-earned. UFV held a slender three-point lead at the half on Friday, but pulled away after the break for a 73-58 win behind 18 points from Nicole Wierks.

Saturday was an even bigger struggle for the Cascades – they trailed by 15 points after the first quarter and by seven at the half. They dug deep and rallied, though, winning 69-62 with Kayli Sartori setting the pace offensively with 20 points.

Head coach Al Tuchscherer called it a "character win" for his charges, who lead the Pacific Division at 15-3.

"Although I didn't like our start, I really like the poise we had in coming back," he stated in a press release. "UBC-Okanagan shot the ball incredibly well this weekend. Really impressed with the energy and fight they brought to the game."

MEN UPSET ON SATURDAY, SETTLE FOR SPLIT

The UFV men, ranked No. 9 in the nation, had to rally for an 85-80 overtime victory on Friday, and they struggled mightily on offence in a 68-58 loss on Saturday.

Kevon Parchment (19 points, seven rebounds) and Nathan Kendall (16 points, seven boards) were the top scorers for the Cascades on Friday, as the visitors mounted a furious comeback just to get to OT.

On Saturday, UBC-O limited UFV to 40.4 per cent shooting from the floor while shooting 55.3 per cent themselves. The defeat dropped the Cascades to 10-8, good for third place in the Pacific Division, while last-place Heat improved to 3-16.

"It was a tough weekend," UFV coach Adam Friesen said. "In Friday's game, we really battled back in the closing minutes to force overtime, and we played really well in overtime. Saturday was a game we're just trying to forget."

Friesen believes the return of star power forward Kyle Grewal will help his team hit the reset button. Grewal, who had been sidelined with a staph infection in his heel/ankle, saw his first game action of the semester on the weekend – he came off the bench to play limited minutes on Friday (four minutes, seven points) and Saturday (14 minutes, four points). He'll participate in his first practice on Monday.

HOOPSTERS HOME THIS WEEKEND

The UFV basketball teams are at home this weekend, hosting the Thompson Rivers WolfPack at the Envision Athletic Centre on Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.).

The women's games are particularly interesting – the third-place WolfPack (14-5) are within striking distance of UFV for first place in the Pacific Division.

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