It wasn’t so long ago that the University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams were where the UBC-Okanagan Heat find themselves right now – as first-year CIS programs trying to find their way in the tough Canada West conference.
But while the Cascades might be able to empathize, there was little mercy afforded the guests from Kelowna at the Envision Athletic Centre on the weekend. The UFV squads, now in their sixth season of Canada West participation, crushed the newcomers – the men beating UBC-O 74-52 on Friday and 108-63 on Saturday, and the women prevailing by scores of 81-53 and 71-50.
The men’s game on Saturday was most illustrative of the experience gap between the two programs. After turning in a mediocre offensive performance in Friday’s opener, the Cascades executed to perfection in the rematch – they built a 30-point lead in the second quarter and expanded it from there.
Jasper Moedt, with 18 points, led six Cascades in double figures, including Joel Friesen (17), Kyle Grewal (15), Sam Freeman (14), Jordan Blackman (12) and Mike James (10). UFV, ranked No. 9 in the nation, shot a scorching 64.4 per cent from the field and 12-for-18 from beyond the arc as they improved to 5-1 on the season.
“They’re in a tough situation,” Cascades coach Barnaby Craddock said, reflecting on UBC-O’s trial by fire after moving from the college to the university ranks. “I doubt their schedule gets much easier, and they’re going to be in tough on a nightly basis. It’s a very competitive league.”
The UFV women also won by comfortable 20-plus margins to improve to 4-2, but head coach Al Tuchscherer wasn’t all that impressed with his team in the aftermath.
“I’ve been banging my head against the wall the last couple of weeks, trying to get our chemistry going,” he said, pointing to his team’s shooting percentages this season – 36.2 from the field and 23.3 from three – as the primary area of concern.
“We just don’t have it going on right now. We’re doing some good things, but we’re not doing anything great.
“But we did enough this weekend to get wins. We have potential – we have good depth, we have good speed, we have good offensive players, we have good defensive players. We’ve got it all, but it just isn’t clicking yet.”
Sarah Wierks led the Cascades on Friday with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Tessa Klassen paced the offence with 19 points Saturday.
• The Cascades face a grueling road trip this weekend, as the visit the Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday and the Alberta Golden Bears/Pandas on Saturday.
“It’s the most difficult road trip in Canada West by far, but we’ll come out swinging and see what we can do,” Craddock said.