Going for GOLD

March 10th, 2013

VIU edges Sheridan 80-76, advances to the championship round
 
The Vancouver Island Mariners built up an 18-point second half lead and then had to withstand a furious rally by the Sheridan Bears to beat Sheridan 80-76 and advance to the championship game of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships being played at John Abbott College.
 
After Sheridan jumped out to a three-point lead in the first quarter the Mariners responded with an impressive array of outside shooting that included five three-pointers, two of them which resulted in four-point plays. They also benefitted from 20 foul shot attempts that enabled them to take a 45-35 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Mariners started the second half the same way they ended the first, hitting shots and playing good defense en route to a 60-42 lead. Just when it appeared that the Mariners were headed to a one-sided victory the Bruins gained momentum with aggressive defense play that triggered a 17-0 run that cut their deficit to s single point 60-59 as the third quarter came to an end.
 
The Bruins completed their comeback when a pair of baskets by Trevor Williams gave them a 65-63 lead. Suddenly it was Vancouver Island’s turn to answer and they did with three consecutive treys to go back up 72-65. Sheridan scored the next seven points to tie the game at 72-72.  With the game tied at 75-75 the Mariners finished the game with five foul shots to escape with a 80-76 victory.

“We knew that they were going to make some runs in the second half, we just didn’t think it would be such a big run,” Vancouver Island head coach Matt Kuzminski said after the game. “Sheridan is a relentless team, well coached and they have a lot of heart. We responded when we had to and I am so proud of my team.”
 
The Mariners’ All-Canadian Brandon Jones led all scorers with 28 points while Clayton Billett added 15. Williams led the Bruins with 18 points while Michael Selkridge chipped in with 17. Jones and Williams were named Players of the Game.   
 
The Mariners will now play the winner of the Langara-Holland game for the gold medal while Sheridan meets John Abbott on the consolation side of the draw.
 
In an earlier game the Red Deer Kings defeated the Keyano Huskies 89-78 and John Abbott knocked off Champlain 73-62.


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Mariners make early statement at nationals
Men beat RDC, face Sheridan in semis; women fall to Blues
 
Josh Aldrich
Daily News

The No. 6-ranked M's knocked off the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association champion Red Deer College Kings 87-75 in their opening contest on Thursday.

Third-year forward Ryan Davidson came off the bench for VIU to score a game-high 25 points while all-Canadian guard Brandon Jones had 22 points and 10 rebounds.

They will now take on the Ontario College Athletic Association champion Sheridan Bruins, the No. 2 team at nationals today in the semifinal at 3: 30 p.m. PST.

This the first time at nationals for many of the Mariners, and it showed early.

"When we came out we had a little bit of the jitters . . . which is to be expected," said Mariners head coach Matt Kuzminski. "But we settled in and got our defence rolling and were able to take it to our style of play."

No. 3 RDC jumped on those nerves early and grabbed an eight-point lead. But VIU did settle down and find their groove, finishing the first quarter on a 9-0 run and with a 22-20 lead.

That lead stretched double digits for most of the second half as the Mariners effectively shutdown one of the highest scoring teams in the country. The Kings have averaged 92.3 points a game this year.

"They really like to get up and down the floor, so transition defence, and defence in general, was key," said Kuzminski.

Key to the win was the play of back up forward Davidson, who had a monster game, taking a lot of the pressure off of Pacific Western Athletic Association first team all-stars Jones and Tyler Olsen, who recorded 15 points.

"He came in, was real aggressive, gave us a lot energy," said Kuzminski. "He had 15 (points) at the half and kept it rolling in the second half and gave us 10 more."

The Mariners now face the Bruins, who they saw for the first time on Thursday. The Bruins dispatched of No. 7 Keyano College Huskies, a wild card team out of the ACAC, 84-75.

Sheridan has a long, athletic team that plays a tough defence and plays a lot of full-court press. Kuzminski says their ability to handle the ball will be of the utmost importance against the Bruins.

The winner will clinch a spot in Saturday's gold medal game. The losing team will have to play in the bronze medal qualifying game on Saturday morning for the chance to stay in the medal hunt.

"As you go a long in this tournament the games become tougher, the opponents become tougher, but we're ready, we're excited," said Kuzminski.

Dawson College 65, VIU 43

It was a tough opening game for the No. 6 Vancouver Island University Mariners at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association women's final on Thursday, losing 65-43 to the No. 3 Dawson College Blues.

The M's trailed 33-14 at the half and never got back into it.

All-Canadian point guard Jocelyn Jones led VIU with 12, seven rebounds and three steals.