The University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team dropped a 79-70 decision to the Saskatchewan Huskies in the Canada West bronze medal game on Saturday afternoon in Edmonton.
The Cascades hung with the Huskies for the better part of three quarters, but Saskatchewan went on an 11-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to gain some breathing room, and they took it home from there.
“I’m so proud of this group of guys,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen stated in a press release. “We wish the results this weekend could have been different, but the experience we gained by being here will only make us better for next year.”
The UFV men were ranked 11th out of 16 teams in the Canada West preseason coach’s poll, but went on to reel off a program-record 16-game winning streak en route to their third consecutive trip to the Final Four.
They suffered a 77-57 defeat to the Victoria Vikes on Friday in the conference semifinals with a national championship berth on the line, shooting an abysmal 1-of-25 from beyond the three-point arc. They also struggled shooting the long ball on Saturday vs. Saskatchewan, going 6-for-29, and were out-rebounded 53-38.
The Cascades got 20 points and 10 rebounds from Kevon Parchment, and 19 points and nine boards from Jasper Moedt.
Stephon Lamar, the 2012-13 Canada West MVP, racked up a game-high 26 points for the Huskies along with six assists, while Matt Forbes and Ben Baker notched 13 points apiece.
“By and large, I was happy with how we played and the shots we were getting,” Friesen said, reflecting on the weekend. “We just happened to have a couple bad shooting nights in a row, and it hurt us.”
Saskatchewan, by virtue of their Canada West bronze medal, ended up securing a wildcard berth to nationals – a berth which the Cascades, ranked No. 8 in the nation coming in, would have had a great shot at if not for the loss to the Huskies.
Despite falling just shy of nationals, Friesen quite rightly termed it an “incredibly successful” season.
“There’s not many teams each year who can say they went above their expectations, and we did that,” he said. “We did that so much that we ended up at the end of the year frustrated that we’re not playing at nationals.
“So in one sense, the feeling right now is one of disappointment. But when you take a step back and look at at the whole thing, the fact we got to this point from where we were expected to be . . . was unreal.”