Weekend preview: Cascades hoopsters hit the road to face Griffins

Nate Brown, Kate Head, and the rest of the Cascades hoopsters are in Edmonton this weekend to face the MacEwan Griffins.

Nate Brown, Kate Head, and the rest of the Cascades hoopsters are in Edmonton this weekend to face the MacEwan Griffins.

It’s a quiet weekend at the Envision Athletic Centre.

The University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams are on the road to face the MacEwan Griffins in Edmonton, while the volleyball teams are on a bye.

MBB: Cascades aim to slow Griffins’ playoff push

Cascades (8-4, 2nd in Explorer Division) vs. MacEwan Griffins (5-7, T3rd in Explorer Division)

Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 7:30 p.m. Mountain time, MacEwan University City Centre Campus (Edmonton)

Webcast (pay-per-view): ufv.canadawest.tv

The Cascades (8-4) sit solidly in second place in the Explorer Division, but they can expect to be tested by a Griffins squad which is in a tooth-and-nail battle for a playoff berth.

MacEwan (5-7) is part of a three-way tie for third in the Explorer Division, and the top three teams qualify for the post-season. Both the Cascades and Griffins have eight regular-season games remaining.

“We expect two tough games this weekend,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. “We understand that they’re a talented team that’s going to be ready to go, and we have to be the same.

“They tend to want to play an up-and-down style of game, and that sort of helps get the scores a little bit higher. There’s going to be more possessions than usual.”

Season series: The Cascades beat the T-Wolves twice in Abbotsford in mid-November, prevailing 74-64 on Nov. 13 and 97-56 on Nov. 14. The latter game marked UFV’s highest offensive output of the season.

Key Cascade: Kevon Parchment, the reigning Canada West male first star of the week, is the only player in the conference to rank in the top 10 in all five major counting stats: points (17.4 per game, seventh), rebounds (9.1, fourth), assists (5.1, second), blocks (1.6, fifth) and steals (2.0, sixth). If he’s able to maintain that pace, he’d become just the second player in the past 15 Canada West seasons to achieve the feat, joining Alberta’s Jordan Baker (2011-12).

Key Griffin: Point guard Thadius Galvez spearheads the Griffins’ offence – he leads his team in points (14.4 per game), assists (3.2) and steals (2.0).

WBB: Cascades tangle with first-place Griffins

Cascades (7-5, 4th in Explorer Division) vs. MacEwan Griffins (9-3, 1st in Explorer Division)

Friday 6 p.m., Saturday 5 p.m. Mountain time, MacEwan University City Centre Campus (Edmonton)

Webcast (pay-per-view): ufv.canadawest.tv

Like the men’s hoopsters, the Cascades women figure to be facing a motivated opponent this weekend.

The Griffins lead the Explorer Division with a 9-3 record, but they’re coming off a pair of home losses last weekend to the Thompson Rivers WolfPack. Their only other defeat on their ledger came at the hands of UFV on Nov. 13.

The Cascades, though, have plenty at stake themselves – they’re a game and a half out of a playoff spot, and will look to make some headway this weekend.

“I’m sure MacEwan’s going to be motivated after two tough losses at home this week,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer noted. “They have some outstanding talent, especially (Megan) Wood and (Kendall) Lydon, who are a handful in the post and at the point. We need to be ready to play some physical basketball against an experienced team that’s played together for a long time.”

Season series: The Cascades and Griffins split a two-game set in Abbotsford in November. UFV won the opener 72-61 on Nov. 13, and took MacEwan down to the wire the next night only to drop a 63-59 decision.

Key Cascade: Kayli Sartori is coming off a tremendous performance last Saturday, racking up 24 points to spark UFV to an 83-56 win over the UNBC Timberwolves in Tuchscherer’s 500th game as Cascades head coach. The fourth-year guard/forward leads Canada West in scoring at 19.0 points per game, and is also among the leaders in rebounds (7.5, 11th), assists (3.7, eighth), blocks (1.6, fourth) and steals (2.8, third).

Key Griffin: The Griffins boast a talented veteran core, led by Megan Wood. The fifth-year forward ranks fifth in Canada West scoring (17.0 points per game), and hauls down 6.8 boards per game.

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The University of the Fraser Valley is situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Stó:lō peoples. The Stó:lō have an intrinsic relationship with what they refer to as S’olh Temexw (Our Sacred Land); therefore, we express our gratitude and respect for the honour of living and working in this territory.

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