Cascades host basketball showcase

The University of the Fraser Valley women's basketball team still has plenty of Chilliwack talent on the roster.

Basketball season revs up in a big way this week, as the University of the Fraser Valley hosts its annual preseason showcase series.

The Cascades men’s and women’s teams will face a series of stiff tests against CIS programs from Ontario and B.C. on their home court, Abbotsford’s Envision Athletic Centre.

Friday’s action features the women’s hoopsters facing the Queen’s Golden Gaels (3 p.m.) and the men playing the Trinity Western Spartans (7 p.m. in the North Gym).

The event wraps up on Saturday with the women clashing with the UBC Thunderbirds (5 p.m.).

With just three weeks to go before the Cascades tip off the Canada West regular season – they open on the road vs. the UBC Okanagan Heat on Nov. 7 – these games are crucial preparation opportunities.

“Right now, it’s just immersing ourselves in quality teams and trying to learn as much as we can from those experiences,” UFV women’s coach Al Tuchscherer said. “We’re trying to build from one game to the next.”

Headlining the visiting women’s teams, the Kingston, Ont.-based Golden Gaels figure to be among the OUA’s elite this season.

They won their conference’s silver medal in 2013-14 to punch their ticket to the CIS Final 8, where they dropped both of their games to Canada West foes Saskatchewan and Alberta.

“Queen’s is probably going to be one of the top teams out of Ontario this year,” said Tuchscherer, whose team won the bronze medal at the 2014 CIS Final 8. “They were at nationals last year, and they have their entire team back. They’ve been building their team for a few years now.”

UBC finished second to the Cascades in the Pacific Division of Canada West last season, posting a 16-6 record.

“They’re a veteran squad and have a lot of real nice pieces – obviously good guard play, and they’re tough inside,” Tuchscherer said of the T-Birds.

See ufvcascades.ca for more.