Things weren’t looking great for the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades men’s basketball team at the half.
The club trailed 38-26 in its opening postseason game to the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves, and the team was ice cold from the field – shooting just 27 per cent (10-37) from the field.
But despite the rough first half, UFV ramped up the defensive intensity, made some adjustments and caught fire from the field, shooting 44 per cent in the second half, to take over the game and advance to the next round of the Canada West playoffs.
Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said his team’s defence, which he said was led by Sukhjot Bains and Navjot Bains helped turn the tide.
“It was actually energetic in the locker room at half,” he said. “We have a lot of character with this group, and they demanded that we keep battling and for no one to give up. We searched for an opportunity to get back into the game and started to get a good run in the third quarter.”
Friesen said the defence remained consistent throughout the game, and paid off as the game continued.
“We win because of our defence and to only be down by 12 in the first half after shooting that roughly – it kept us in the game,” he said. “Both teams offensively had ups and downs today, but we knew our defensive potential would eventually give us a chance to get back into the game.”
The Cascades trailed for the majority of the game, only managing 10 points in the first quarter. They began chipping away at the lead in the third quarter, and eventually took the lead for the first time late in the third.
The offence continued to build momentum in the fourth, and UFV went up 60-53 with 3:19 left. A dagger three-point shot by Sukhman Sandhu sealed the deal to put the Cascades up 65-55 with 35 seconds remaining.
🏀 MBB FINAL | Sukhman Sandhu hits an important late trey in the final minute to help wrap up the victory!!
— UFV Cascades (@UFVCascades) February 8, 2019
Sandhu had a strong game offensively, with a team-high 18 points on 7-14 shooting. Parm Bains added 16 points, while Andrew Morris contributed with 10 points and seven boards. Navjot Bains was efficient, with nine rebounds and six points in 16 minutes.
The win eliminated the Timberwolves from the playoffs, and advances the Cascades to the best-of-three quarter-finals. UFV will take on the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. The schedule has not yet been finalized, but games will run from Feb. 14 to 17.
The two teams have not met this season, and last met for a pair of games on Oct. 27 and 28, with UBC winning both times.
The Thunderbirds finished with a record of 17-3 in Canada West play this season, and ended regular season play by losing two straight to the Alberta Golden Bears.
For more on the team, visit ufvcascades.ca.