2013 PACWEST Provincial Basketball Championships

February 17th, 2013

The PACWEST Provincial Championships will go next weekend (Feb 28-Mar 2)in Victoria.
VIU Men's and women's teams both earned a first round bye due to their seeding of #2 and will play on Friday.
Follow all the action on the Provincials website http://www.pacwestbc.ca/basketball2013/

READ MORE on the Men's team in the NDN

READ MORE on the women's team in the NDN

Olsen leads VIU to win in home finale
Josh Aldrich
Daily News


Tyler Olsen's final game at Vancouver Island University was typical of what he brought to the men's basketball program for the last five years - nothing flashy, but very effective.

While his stats may not jump off the page - a very workmanlike 13 points and 10 rebounds - it was a Kwantlen Eagles stat that speaks volumes. Olsen held the Pacific Western Athletic Association's leading scorer Ali Bosir to just 13 points and nine rebounds, as VIU rolled to a 10368 win on home court.

It was an emotional moment for the Fanny Bay native, who is trying to end his career on a high note with provincials in two weeks and a birth in the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championships on the line.

"It definitely was weird walking through the doors, knowing it was my last time coming in for a game. I think it will really hit me when it's all said and done," said Olsen. "I'm just looking forward right now, and when it's all over I will look back. I've had a great time, I've had a great five years."

As the lone fifth-year senior on the Mariners, Olsen has assumed a leadership role on the team. He learned a lot the last couple of years playing with the likes of all-Canadian guard Jacob Thom.

What awaits him basketball-wise after this year is unknown - maybe eventually getting into coaching - but he will graduate with a degree in tourism and a major in recreation. But this might be it for competitive hoops.

"It's definitely weird. Every time I think about it, I get chills. Five years just went by so fast," he said.

One thing driving him this year is the desire not to repeat last year's misery, when they lost 69-62 in the PacWest final to the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves, just missing out on a finals birth.

The task will not be as difficult this year to advance as the PacWest has a wild card birth to nationals this year, meaning the No. 2 seed Mariners will only have to win one game to punch their ticket to John Abbott College in Montreal.

"I had a taste of nationals two years ago and we had heartbreak last year, so it's all I think about, all I want to do is win," said Olsen. "If I have to score, rebound, play defence, whatever it takes to win is all I what I want to do."

The 45-point win over Kwantlen was in stark contrast to the Eagles 76-74 win at VIU on Dec. 1. The Mariners have come a long way since then in Kuzminski's offensive system.

Head coach Matt Kuzminski credits Olsen with shutting down Bosir, who came into the weekend averaging 22.5 points a game and 15.78 rebounds - both tops in the PacWest.

"(Olsen's) done well against him the last two times we've played them, he kind of takes it on as an individual challenge," said Kuzminski. "With his length, his versatility and toughness, he's definitely one of the better big men in the league and one of its better defenders."

On Saturday, VIU out-rebounded the Eagles 58-30, including 19 offensive boards, and they were also on fire from three-point range - Brandon Jones was 3-for-3 and Clayton Billett was 4-for-6. Billett finished with game-high 23 points while Jones had 17.

"We've been shooting the ball a lot better the last four or five weeks and we've been shooting a lot more in practice," said Kuzminski.

Provincials are in Victoria Feb. 28-March 2.