From Adam Friesen’s perspective, there are positive and negative aspects to all the crunch-time reps his University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team has accumulated recently.
“We’ve put ourselves in positions like this too many times, in my opinion,” the Cascades bench boss said with a wry chuckle, after his team rallied to beat the Winnipeg Wesmen 68-62 on Saturday. “But we’re getting used to playing some tight fourth quarters, where every possession counts.
“We’re getting pretty comfortable with that, so hopefully that bodes well for us later on in the season.”
The Wesmen raced out to a 33-22 lead at halftime, but the Cascades battled back to take the lead in the waning minutes.
Sam Freeman (24 points, 6-for-9 from three) and Kevon Parchment (20 points, 12 rebounds) spearheaded the comeback, but it was power forward Kyle Grewal making many of the big plays down the stretch. He finished with 10 points and 11 boards.
Friday’s 83-59 win over the Manitoba Bisons was a rare blowout for the Cascades, whose previous four games vs. UVic and UBC went down to the wire. Parchment set the pace offensively with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor, with Freeman (18 points), Nathan Kendall (13 points, 10 rebounds) and James York (13 points, seven assists) stepping up in supporting roles.
The UFV men, ranked No. 7 nationally, are tied with UVic for second in the Pacific Division at 5-3.
Parchment, a Toronto native who transferred in from Alberta’s Lakeland College over the summer, has been a catalyst in the Cascades’ three-game winning streak, and he authored a pair of breakout performances on the weekend.
“He just keeps on improving,” Friesen said of Parchment. “He’s putting in the work throughout the week to get it to where he wants it to be, and the quality of his play the last few games has been outstanding.”
GRITTY EFFORT KEEPS UFV WOMEN UNDEFEATED
On the women’s side, the No. 2-ranked Cascades battled through some key injuries to run their undefeated record to 8-0, beating Manitoba 66-51 and Winnipeg 60-52.
Kayli Sartori missed both games with a concussion, and fellow starter Alexa McCarthy broke her hand on Friday and sat out vs. Winnipeg.
But the Cascades persevered – they crushed the Bisons 46-19 on the boards on Friday, with Sarah Wierks (18 points, eight rebounds), Celeste Dyck (nine points, five rebounds) and Sam Kurath (seven points, eight rebounds) leading the way.
On Saturday, Wierks and her sister Nicole tied for team-high scoring honours with 14 points apiece, and Sarah added 14 boards.
“I told the girls on Saturday night I was proud of their effort,” Cascades coach Al Tuchscherer said. “It takes us out of our rhythm when we don’t have the same order coming off the bench, but we battled.”
The UFV hoopsters wrap up the first semester with a road trip to face the Brandon Bobcats and Regina Cougars this weekend. The women’s game in Regina on Saturday is particularly fascinating, as the Cougars (7-1) are ranked No. 3 in the nation.
“The game will capture our girls’ imagination, for sure,” said Tuchscherer, whose team split a pair of preseason games at Regina in October. “We’re two teams that are pretty familiar with each other. Regina’s playing really well right now, and it’s a huge challenge for our team.”