The UFV Cascades men’s basketball team continued its strong early start to the Canada West season, sweeping the MacEwan Griffins at home on Friday and Saturday.
An injury to Cascades forward Mark Johnson on Friday shook things up in the UFV rotation, but the bench stepped up to lead the team to a 74-64 win.
Marcus Morgan scored a career-high 17 points, and guard Kevon Parchment added 17 points and nine rebounds. The Cascades had a four-point lead at the half, and took over in the third quarter by outscoring MacEwan 24-14. The bench contributed with 31 points overall.
The clubs met again on Saturday, and UFV’s offence was on full display. The Cascades shot 49 per cent and outscored the Griffins 97-56. A balanced attack saw five players reach double digits, and head coach Adam Friesen said his team stepped up in the absence of starters Johnson and Nate Brown.
“It started with leadership from our core guys … recognizing that hey, life just got a little bit tougher due to injury,” he said. “We trusted everyone on the team, we spaced the floor, we shared the basketball. We knew we had to play with pace and move the basketball, and make the simple play. A lot of guys got a lot of good opportunities out of it, and it happened today that we shot the ball well.”
Brandon Burke (20 points, nine rebounds), Parchment (16 points, nine rebounds, five assists and Navjot Bains (16 points, eight rebounds) were key contributors for UFV. Morgan (14) and Vijay Dhillon (12) also broke double digits in points, and Matt Cooley added six points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
The Cascades also out-rebounded the Griffins 50-35, and committed only eight turnovers. UFV is now 4-0 and are tied for first place in the Explorer division with the TWU Spartans.
The women’s team earned a split, beating the Griffins 72-61 on Friday, but falling 63-59 on Saturday.
Defence was key to Friday’s win, as the Cascades held MacEwan to just 33 per cent shooting.
Kayli Sartori led the way with 25 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, with Shayna Cameron adding 18 points and eight rebounds. Sydney Williams (12) and Taylor Claggett (11) also reached double digits.
“I’m proud of the girls for how they executed the game plan,” said head coach Al Tuchscherer after Friday’s win. “They got gritty on at the defensive end of the floor and played hard, and played offence how we wanted to play.”
Saturday’s game was tied at 59 with less than a minute to go, but the Griffins scored on the ensuing possession and Sartori was called for travelling when the Cascades got the ball back. UFV quickly fouled but the Griffins made both of their free throws and time ran out for the Cascades.
Sartori had a double-double, with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Williams added 16 points and five rebounds.
The women now have a record of two wins and two losses, and sit fourth in their division.
The teams hit the road for the remainder of the calendar year, starting on Friday when they travel to Prince George for a pair of games against the UNBC Timberwolves.