The UFV Cascades men’s and women’s basketball teams hope it’s a Valentine’s Day to remember this Friday.
After strong regular seasons, both teams are set to host Canada West play-in games to open the postseason on the most romantic day of the year.
The women host the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack starting at 6 p.m., while the men welcome the Winnipeg Wesmen at 8 p.m.
The women finished off the season on a tear and sweeping the Regina Cougars on Friday and Saturday to conclude the campaign on an 11-game win streak.
Friday’s game saw the Cascades rally in the final minutes to edge the visiting Cougars 63-60.
Cascades rookie Jessica Parker was the late hero, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter to help secure the win.
🏀 WBB FINAL | Jessica Parker lays it in on the clean break, securing the victory for the Cascades! TEN. STRAIGHT. WINS.🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
— UFV Cascades (@UFVCascades) February 8, 2020
“We haven’t beaten Regina in a long time – we’ve got a lot of respect for their program,” stated head coach Al Tuchscherer. “Regina’s a lot better than their record. They’ve had players in and out of their lineup all year because of injury. Dave (Taylor, Cougars head coach) does such a good job with the stuff that he runs, and we knew it was going to be a real test for our team. One thing I’ll say about our team – we adapt to most situations quite quickly… . Tonight was more of that. We did a really good job of adapting to what they were trying to do offensively.”
Star forward Taylor Claggett led the Cascades with 20 points and eight rebounds on Friday.
The club roared to a fast start on Saturday, outscoring Regina 28-15 in the first quarter and posting the 74-65 win.
Saturday was the final regular season game for graduating seniors Claggett and Amanda Thompson, and Claggett again shined with 17 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Rookie sensation Deanna Tuchscherer added a team-high 20 points.
The women finished with a sparkling record of 16-4, and placed fifth overall. UFV defeated its first round opponent, the Wolfpack, in all four games they played this season. Most recently the Cascades beat TRU 91-76 in Kamloops on Feb. 1.
The men’s team’s nine game win streak was snapped on Friday by Regina, as a 32-14 third quarter helped the Cougars earn the 87-70 win.
“They just took it to us,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said afterward, reflecting on the third quarter. “They were aggressive taking it to the rim, crashing the glass, and they got their momentum getting too many easy shots, and it went from there.”
Parm Bains led the way for the Cascades with 17 points, while Sukhjot Bains added 11 points and six rebounds.
The club bounced back on Saturday, as a strong fourth quarter led them to the 85-74 win.
It was the final home game for seniors both of the Bains’ boys and Matt Cooley. Sukhjot had an excellent game with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Parm added 17 points and six assists. Cooley also has a solid final game, contributing with 10 points and 11 boards.
— UFV Cascades (@UFVCascades) February 9, 2020
Afterward, Friesen lauded the contributions of his three seniors.
“Those guys have meant a whole bunch,” he said. “They’ve come in and represented the program well on and off the court, and they’ve sacrificed a lot of time and energy for the program. They’ve really turned themselves this year into excellent leaders whose influence will be felt for years to come through our young guys.”
The men played Winnipeg twice this year, but lost both times. However, both games were played in the Manitoba city and were the first two games of the year. The Wesmen last beat UFV 92-82 back on Nov. 2.
If the teams are successful, they will advance to the Canada West quarter-final round running from Feb. 21 to 23.