After running a gauntlet of teams ranked in the top five nationally in recent weeks, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball squad has emerged better for the experience.
The Cascades registered an impressive homecourt sweep of the UBC Thunderbirds on the weekend, winning 69-62 on Friday and 71-63 on Saturday to even their record at 5-5 heading into the Christmas break.
“We’ve faced some really good teams who have shown us what we weren’t so good at,” Cascades coach Adam Friesen said, alluding to recent losses to the Victoria Vikes, Alberta Golden Bears and Saskatchewan Huskies.
“We accepted the lessons and we got to work during the week at practice, and we’re starting to improve. It’s great to see.”
On Friday, the Cascades raced out to a 24-10 lead after the first quarter and fended off UBC’s subsequent comeback attempts. Saturday’s game was closer throughout – UFV rallied to take a 52-51 lead at the end of the third quarter, then pulled away down the stretch with Kevon Parchment snaring a series of crucial rebounds and Manny Dulay hitting a pair of clutch three-pointers.
Parchment had an absolutely massive weekend for the Cascades – he stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists on Friday, and racked up 26 points, 15 boards and four steals on Saturday.
CASCADES WOMEN SHAKE OFFENSIVE SLUMP
Coming off road losses to Alberta and Saskatchewan the previous weekend, the UFV women’s squad found its reservoir of offensive confidence at a low ebb.
It evaporated further on Friday, as unranked UBC came into the Envision Athletic Centre and scored a 56-54 upset win. The No. 6-ranked Cascades got off to a horrendous start, shooting just 17.9 per cent in the first half and 33.3 per cent for the game.
UFV found its mojo on Saturday, though – they lit up the T-Birds in the first half, knocking down 50 per cent of their shots to seize a 45-17 lead, and they cruised to a 71-43 victory.
“I think we’re a team that’s had our confidence shaken a little bit at the offensive end of the floor, and I think you were seeing a little bit of that (on Friday),” said Cascades coach Al Tuchscherer, whose team reclaimed first place in the Pacific Division at 7-3.
“Some shots weren’t going, and you start really questioning some things. Tonight, we hit some shots early, which was good, and we built on that.”
Sarah Wierks led Saturday’s offensive onslaught with 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Nataliia Gavryliuk chipped in with 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
UFV’s Aieisha Luyken drives past Harleen Sidhu of the UBC Thunderbirds on Friday at the Envision Athletic Centre. (John Morrow photo)