UFV’s Vik Toor dekes around a Heat defender during Canada West action on Friday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

UFV Cascades basketball teams cool the Heat

UFV wins all four games over the weekend over UBC-O

The UFV Cascades basketball teams completely extinguished the UBC-O Heat last weekend, winning all four games on Friday and Saturday.

The men’s team continues to gel and have now won three straight as they climb up the Canada West standings.

The club took over the fourth quarter of Friday’s game, outscoring UBC-O 20-11 in the final frame to post a 68-61 win.

Head coach Adam Friesen said his youthful squad seems to be getting on a roll.

“It’s a good win for us,” he said, of Friday’s victory. “They’re always a tough team and grind out every possession, so I’m glad the guys were mentally able to accept the challenge and play the way the game has to be played to win.”

UFV held the Heat to just 32 per cent shooting, while making 40 per cent of their shots. Andrew Morris scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Mark Johnson collected 17 points and eight boards.

Friesen said he hopes efforts like Friday are proof that his team is turning the corner.

“We knew this year was going to be a year of learning and getting better,” he said. “But they’re coming together and finding some chemistry.”

The momentum continued for the men on Saturday, as they caught fire from beyond the arc to post a 86-67 win over UBC-O.

The Cascades hit 50 per cent of their attempts from downtown (17-for-34), including 11 during a first half which saw the hosts lead by as many as 23 points.

Johnson went eight-for-13 from three-point land and scored 29 points to go with eight rebounds. Sukhman Sandhu went five-for-nine himself, with 21 points, five blocks and four rebounds.

“The threes were obviously fun,” Friesen said. “We worked the ball and found some good looks. But we also had more assists than turnovers (23 to 16), our transition defence was by far our best, and our combination with the low-post stuff was also really good.”

The men’s record now improves to four wins and six losses, and they are now tied for 10th in the Canada West.

One player the Cascades will now be playing without is Yale Secondary grad Riley Braich, who team officials said quit the team on Nov. 18.

Braich helped lead the Yale Lions senior boys team to a AAAA provincial basketball title in 2015, and committed to the Cascades in 2016. He had been averaging 7.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in seven appearances with the team this year.

The Cascades women also got back to their winning ways, with a pair of wins on home court against the Heat.

Sharing the ball was the name of the game for the team on Friday, as they racked up a season-high 21 assists en route to a 65-48 win over UBC-O.

Shayna Litman led the way with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Taylor Claggett grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.

“Give the girls credit – tonight they really embraced what we were talking about this week in practice about sharing the ball and finding the open man,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said.

The women then clamped down defensively on Saturday, holding the Heat to just 21 per cent shooting to pick up the 65-37 win.

Litman (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Sara Simovic (15 points, five assists) set the pace offensively.

“I feel like we’ve been somewhat of a solid defensive team for most of the year, and it’s good to see that trend continuing,” said Tuchscherer. “I just hope that we’re starting to develop a little bit of an identity for our team where we’re tough to play against and you’re going to have to take some tough shots to beat us.”

The women improved to a record of four wins and six losses, and are tied for 10th in the Canada West.

The men’s and women’s teams wrap up the 2017 calendar year with games against the Lethbridge Pronghorns in Alberta on Friday and Saturday.

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