wbball one game from perfection - DN feature

February 16th, 2014

VIU one game from perfection

Mariners women beat Langara Falcons and Douglas Royals, men split weekend

Josh Aldrich / Daily News
February 17, 2014 12:00 AM

- See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/sports/viu-one-game-from-perfection-1.856089#sthash.bQrp0Pf1.dpuf

VIU one game from perfection

Mariners women beat Langara Falcons and Douglas Royals, men split weekend

Josh Aldrich / Daily News
February 17, 2014

The Vancouver Island University Mariners are one game away from a perfect Pacific Western Athletic Association women's basketball season after sweeping their final two home games this weekend.

On Friday, they hammered the Langara Falcons 71-41 and on Saturday they held on to beat the Douglas Royals 74-60.

Despite two double-digit wins, however, head coach Bill McWhinnie was not completely happy with the effort.

"I thought Friday we played very well, considering it was senior night, I thought the girls came out and played with intensity and played about as well as we could have," he said. "Saturday we were a bit inconsistent, but we did get the win."

The Mariners had honoured their five graduating seniors - Jocelyn Jones, Shayna Worthington, Erin Vekic, Heather McCarthy and Alicia Grossi - after Friday's win, and Saturday just had the feeling of the lack of a killer instinct they have displayed all season.

Still McWhinnie is not too concerned.

"We were checking in and out mentally. We played really well for a quarter and then not for a quarter," he said.

"I think it was an anomaly. They've been pretty good this year and the girls are mature enough and we're a veteran group that I think will be fine."

Vekic made a lasting impression in her final time on home court. She led VIU in scoring on Friday with 14 points and added 12 rebounds and five assists. On Saturday she scored another 10 points.

"Erin Vekic was outstanding this weekend, she had her best weekend as a Mariner, I thought," said McWhinnie.

In Friday's win, VIU also got 12 points each from Jones, Worthington and McCarthy. On Saturday, Worthington scored 26 points and seven rebounds and Jones had 21 points and nine assists.

The Mariners have one game left in the regular season, and it will likely be their most difficult challenge yet. On Friday, they are in Victoria to play the

Camosun Chargers, McWhinnie's pre-season pick to be the best team in the province.

The Chargers, however, are in a heated battle with the Quest Kermodes for the No. 2 seed and a first round by at provincials. They will need to beat VIU to do just that.

"It's a huge game for them. .. I expect them to come out throw everything at us, play as hard as they can and with their talent it's going to be a very difficult game," said McWhinnie. "We've really got to focus on putting together 40 minutes of effort and mental toughness."

The VIU Mariners men split their weekend games, but in the process picked up a lot of momentum heading into their final game at Camosun.

Everything grew out of their 76-75 loss to the Langara Falcons on Friday, leading to their 118-69 win over Douglas College.

Normally a loss causes consternation, but a one-point defeat to the No. 1 team in the country gives them a belief that they can take down the Falcons.

"We were right there, we're building and hopefully we'll get another crack at those guys in the provincial final," said VIU head coach Matt Kuzminski.

All-Canadian guard Brandon Jones was back to his lethal self, putting up huge numbers in his final two games on VIU's court.

In Friday's loss to Langara he had a game-high 36 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. On Saturday he had 27 points and eight rebounds.

Those are numbers reminiscent of last year's Canadian Colleges Athletic Association and PacWest championships when he was named MVP at both tournaments.

"It's that time of the year for Jones, when mid-February hits, everything about him changes," said Kuzminski. "He goes into basically an assassin-mode, where he's all business at practice, he just seems so ready for the games and very confident in himself, confident in his teammates and what he can do."

He did get some help out there, Jason Fortin had 13 points and nine rebounds on Friday, while on Saturday Clayton Billett - also in his final home weekend - had 17 points, Jerod Dorby 13 and Fortin 10.

Unless Capilano pulls an upset over the Kermodes next weekend, the Mariners will finish with the No. 3 seed for provincials and with a likely first round meeting against Douglas. Though they just beat them by 49 points, Kuzminski does want them taking better care of the ball, continuing to cut down on their turnovers and to improve their rebounding.

"We were up around 20 (turnovers) every game, now we're down around 13 or 14, which is a decent mark," said Kuzminski. "If we can get that down around 10 or 11 I'd be happy with that."

Provincials for both men and women are at Douglas College Feb. 27-March 1.

 

The Vancouver Island University Mariners are one game away from a perfect Pacific Western Athletic Association women's basketball season after sweeping their final two home games this weekend.

On Friday, they hammered the Langara Falcons 71-41 and on Saturday they held on to beat the Douglas Royals 74-60.

Despite two double-digit wins, however, head coach Bill McWhinnie was not completely happy with the effort.

"I thought Friday we played very well, considering it was senior night, I thought the girls came out and played with intensity and played about as well as we could have," he said. "Saturday we were a bit inconsistent, but we did get the win."

The Mariners had honoured their five graduating seniors - Jocelyn Jones, Shayna Worthington, Erin Vekic, Heather McCarthy and Alicia Grossi - after Friday's win, and Saturday just had the feeling of the lack of a killer instinct they have displayed all season.

Still McWhinnie is not too concerned.

"We were checking in and out mentally. We played really well for a quarter and then not for a quarter," he said.

"I think it was an anomaly. They've been pretty good this year and the girls are mature enough and we're a veteran group that I think will be fine."

Vekic made a lasting impression in her final time on home court. She led VIU in scoring on Friday with 14 points and added 12 rebounds and five assists. On Saturday she scored another 10 points.

"Erin Vekic was outstanding this weekend, she had her best weekend as a Mariner, I thought," said McWhinnie.

In Friday's win, VIU also got 12 points each from Jones, Worthington and McCarthy. On Saturday, Worthington scored 26 points and seven rebounds and Jones had 21 points and nine assists.

The Mariners have one game left in the regular season, and it will likely be their most difficult challenge yet. On Friday, they are in Victoria to play the

Camosun Chargers, McWhinnie's pre-season pick to be the best team in the province.

The Chargers, however, are in a heated battle with the Quest Kermodes for the No. 2 seed and a first round by at provincials. They will need to beat VIU to do just that.

"It's a huge game for them. .. I expect them to come out throw everything at us, play as hard as they can and with their talent it's going to be a very difficult game," said McWhinnie. "We've really got to focus on putting together 40 minutes of effort and mental toughness."

The VIU Mariners men split their weekend games, but in the process picked up a lot of momentum heading into their final game at Camosun.

Everything grew out of their 76-75 loss to the Langara Falcons on Friday, leading to their 118-69 win over Douglas College.

Normally a loss causes consternation, but a one-point defeat to the No. 1 team in the country gives them a belief that they can take down the Falcons.

"We were right there, we're building and hopefully we'll get another crack at those guys in the provincial final," said VIU head coach Matt Kuzminski.

All-Canadian guard Brandon Jones was back to his lethal self, putting up huge numbers in his final two games on VIU's court.

In Friday's loss to Langara he had a game-high 36 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. On Saturday he had 27 points and eight rebounds.

Those are numbers reminiscent of last year's Canadian Colleges Athletic Association and PacWest championships when he was named MVP at both tournaments.

"It's that time of the year for Jones, when mid-February hits, everything about him changes," said Kuzminski. "He goes into basically an assassin-mode, where he's all business at practice, he just seems so ready for the games and very confident in himself, confident in his teammates and what he can do."

He did get some help out there, Jason Fortin had 13 points and nine rebounds on Friday, while on Saturday Clayton Billett - also in his final home weekend - had 17 points, Jerod Dorby 13 and Fortin 10.

Unless Capilano pulls an upset over the Kermodes next weekend, the Mariners will finish with the No. 3 seed for provincials and with a likely first round meeting against Douglas. Though they just beat them by 49 points, Kuzminski does want them taking better care of the ball, continuing to cut down on their turnovers and to improve their rebounding.

"We were up around 20 (turnovers) every game, now we're down around 13 or 14, which is a decent mark," said Kuzminski. "If we can get that down around 10 or 11 I'd be happy with that."

Provincials for both men and women are at Douglas College Feb. 27-March 1.

- See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/sports/viu-one-game-from-perfection-1.856089#sthash.bQrp0Pf1.dpuf