November 17th, 2013
Mariners sail through first big test
VIU men and women sweep weekend against Quest Kermodes, Capilano Blues
By Josh Aldrich, Nanaimo Daily News
The Vancouver Island University Mariners basketball teams passed their first major tests of the Pacific Western Athletic Association season.
The men followed up their 76-65 win over the Quest Kermodes (3-2) on Friday with an 80-58 blow out over a short-handed Capilano Blues (3-2) on Saturday at VIU.
The women, meanwhile, eked out a 69-67 win over the Kermodes (3-2) and then topped the Blues (2-3) 72-61 on Saturday.
Both VIU teams are the only remaining unbeaten teams in their conferences and host rival Camosun on Saturday.
For the men, it was all about getting the job done in their own end of the court.
"We got the ball stuck a little bit (offensively) and we had a few more turnovers than we would have liked, but our defence, both nights, paced us and we were able to build us a good lead," said VIU head coach Matt Kuzminski.
On Friday, all-Canadian point guard Brandon Jones had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead VIU while forward Jason Fortin had 17 points and nine rebounds. Clayton Billett added 11 points and Seth Goodman 10.
In Saturday's win, Billett led them with 22 points, while Jones had 19 points and nine rebounds, Goodman had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Harrison Stupich added 10 points.
They built a 22-9 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
They were aided by the fact the Blues were missing star guard Tony Rowe to an injury, but the M's were still on their game defensively.
They beat the Chargers 77-66 in the season opener, a score that flatters Camosun (1-4), as they crept back into the game after VIU went to their bench. The Victoria program has continued to struggle since then.
"They've lost a few in a row, so they'll be to get a win and get back on track," said Kuzminski. "They always seem to play well and hard against us, so I'm sure it will be a good game."
The women were playing two teams that had one loss between them heading into the weekend. VIU was also coming off arguably one of its most dominating weekends in program history, but they were able to back up that play against two strong programs.
"It was good for us, in the long run, to get a couple of close games in and have to execute under pressure," sad VIU head coach Bill McWhinnie. "I think we've got a lot of work to do in those aspects going forward."
On Friday, veteran forward Shayna Worthington led VIU with 18 points and six rebounds while star veteran point guard Jocelyn Jones had 17 points, six assists and six steals. Jenna Carver added 13 points and six boards and Erin Vekic had 10 points.
On Saturday, Worthington and Jones had 20 points each to lead the way.
Their biggest competition may have been the flu bug.
"Quite a few of them, are quite ill and played through colds and flus and that kind of thing, so to grind out two wins against two good teams I was quite proud of them," said McWhinnie.
They know Friday will be just as difficult a test. Camosun has not lost since that opening game.
"They're playing very well right now, and they are confirming what I thought at the beginning of the year that they are the most talented team in the league," said McWhinnine of his Island rival. "We're going to have to play very well and play good defensively to play with them."
The women tip off at 6 p.m. and the men at 8 p.m.
VIU basketball teams win big in home gym
By Greg Skaki , Nanaimo News Bulletin
The VIU Mariners made it a perfect home-opening weekend in their gym. Vancouver Island University's men's and women's basketball teams swept their games Friday at Saturday, defeating the Columbia Bible College Bearcats and Kwantlen Eagles, respectively.
The men's M's handled the Bearcats 89-59 and then soared past the Eagles 101-67. VIU's women won 72-34 and 65-45, respectively.
"Both games this weekend, I thought we started off really well, our starters set the tone," said Matt Kuzminski, coach of the M's men.
He said in the Kwantlen game his team focused on limiting turnovers and was successful, with point guard Brandon Jones dishing 12 assists against just one turnover.
"When he's rolling and getting everybody the ball, we're rolling," said Seth Goodman, M's forward.
Goodman said VIU's positive results on the weekend were a product of practice.
"We go hard every day, so this is the fruit of our labour," he said.
The first game Jones had 20 points, Jason Fortin had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Harrison Stupich had 12 points and Goodman had 11 points and 13 boards. The next day, Goodman had 22 points and 13 rebounds, Fortin also scored 22 and Jones added 17.
"We've got some momentum now," said Kuzminski. "We've won three games and we've played pretty well for this early in the season."
For VIU's women, Jocelyn Jones had 18 points against CBC, Heather McCarthy added 15 points and Jenna Carver and Shayna Worthington scored 11 apiece.
The next day it was McCarthy's 20-point outing leading the way, while Jones scored 18 points and Worthington had 10 points and nine rebounds.
"Good weekend with two league wins, got contributions from several different people," said Bill McWhinnie, coach of the VIU women, in a press release