The University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams wrap up their 2017 regular-season schedules this weekend, as they face the Lethbridge Pronghorns on the road.
MBB: Cascades take three-game win streak into Lethbridge
Friday, Dec. 1: Cascades (4-6, T-10th in Canada West) at Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-2, T-2nd in Canada West), 8 p.m. MT / 7 p.m. PT
Saturday, Dec. 2: Cascades at Pronghorns, 7 p.m. MT / 6 p.m. PT
The Cascades put a season-high three-game win streak – the most recent triumphs coming at home last weekend at the expense of the UBC Okanagan Heat – on the line this weekend as they face a tough Lethbridge team in Southern Alberta.
The Pronghorns have been among the top teams in Canada West this season, reeling off eight straight wins to open conference play before stumbling last weekend in a pair of road losses to the Regina Cougars.
“They’re a really good team, and we’re looking to test ourselves to see how much we’ve improved from our first road weekend of the year up to this one,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said, noting that Pronghorns guard Dejon Burdeaux presents a huge challenge for his team defensively. “We’re going to have to try to make Burdeaux uncomfortable and make his life as difficult as possible. He shots the basketball well, so we’ll have to make sure we have someone close to him on his catches.”
Players to watch: Cascades fourth-year forward Mark Johnson is coming off a spectacular weekend, highlighted by a season-high 29-point outburst in Saturday’s win over UBCO that included eight three-pointers – more than any other player in Canada West has hit in a game this season. He’s the Cascades’ top scorer, averaging 12.7 points per game while shooting 48.1 per cent from beyond the arc. The aforementioned Dejon Burdeaux is building a strong case for Canada West player of the year. The fifth-year guard from Oakland, Calif. ranks fourth in the conference in scoring, averaging 22.4 points per game to go with 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
WBB: Cascades aim to maintain momentum
Friday, Dec. 1: Cascades (4-6, T-10th in Canada West) at Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-2, 2nd in Canada West), 6 p.m. MT / 5 p.m. PT
Saturday, Dec. 2: Cascades at Pronghorns, 5 p.m. MT / 4 p.m. PT
The storylines are similar on the women’s side, as the Cascades, coming off a pair of wins over UBCO, look to continue to their progress against a second-place Pronghorns squad which is surely motivated after a pair of losses at Regina.
“Lethbridge is a team we haven’t played in a few years, so we’re not overly familiar with them, or them with us,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “They’ve clearly had a fantastic start to their season, and it looks like they’re playing some great basketball. They have some dynamic players on their roster, led by Kacie Bosch, and Lethbridge is always a tough place to play. It’s a big challenge for us this weekend.”
Reflecting on last weekend’s wins over the Heat, Tuchscherer said that the results were arguably less important than how they were earned.
“We played together, we played from the defensive end of the floor, and we shared the ball offensively,” he explained. “Those are important things to have success, and to come away with wins reinforces that idea. Hopefully those trends can continue.”
Players to watch: Cascades fifth-year forward Shayna Litman sparkled against the Heat, averaging 20.5 points and 10.5 boards over the course of the two victories. For the season, the Coquitlam product ranks 10th in Canada West scoring (16.4 points per game) and 12th in rebounding (8.5). The Pronghorns’ egalitarian offence features seven players averaging between 11.9 and 7.5 points per game. At the top of that scoring list is fourth-year guard Kacie Bosch, a Lethbridge product who transferred back to her hometown school after a stint with the NCAA’s Gonzaga Bulldogs.