SEASON REWIND AND LOOK AHEAD: PART 8 - MEN'S BASKETBALL

 

MEN'S BASKETBALL
TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
SEASON REWIND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SEASON REWIND AND LOOK AHEAD: PART 8 - MEN'S BASKETBALL

LANGLEY, British Columbia – After yet another outstanding year for the Spartans in the sporting arena and with the 2010-11 season just over a week away from being officially put to bed, we take a look back at each team and the season they had competing for Spartans Athletics and a look forward into what the future might hold in 2011-12.

Today: Men's Basketball
April 13: Men's Volleyball

 

For the Trinity Western men’s basketball team, the 2010-11 season was a year to remember.

Although the season ended on a sour note when the Spartans lost to Carlton 82-59 in the CIS gold medal game, it was far and away the best men’s basketball season in Spartans history.

In their first trip to the CIS national championship tournament, the Spartans earned their first CIS medal and got to the final by beating local rival UBC in the semifinal 74-72, which was Trinity Western’s first playoff win over the Thunderbirds since a 96-73 win Feb. 21, 2004 and just its second win overall against UBC since that victory in 2004.

 So, while you could say the season was rather bittersweet, generally, when you recall that Trinity Western finished the year with a 21-3 regular season record, won a CIS silver medal and a Canada West bronze medal and compiled a Spartans record 15-game winning streak in the process, it was a lot more sweet than bitter.

The Spartans started the year with a preseason tilt against the University of Minnesota, a team that would go on to garner votes for, but fall just short of, the Top 25 in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.   

Although Trinity Western lost 80-68 to the Tubby Smith coached Gophers, at one point in the fourth quarter they trailed just 64-62 and, in doing so, proved they could well be a legitimate threat in the CIS.

From there, the Spartans beat Laurentian 90-76 in their only other preseason game against university competition and then it was off to the regular season.

The Spartans started the regular season with a record-breaking 116-79 win over Lethbridge in which they set team records for most points in regulation and most field goals made in regulation with 42. They followed that up with a 98-82 win on Saturday to start the year 2-0.

But then a pair of losses to UBC in the Spartans home-opening weekend sent them back to 2-2.

Then the streak started. The Spartans won their next 15 games and established themselves as one of the top five teams in Canada.

The streak didn’t stop until a 101-93 loss to defending CIS champion Saskatchewan in late-January but it was a loss that destined them for a second place finish in Canada West.

And that second place finish set the Spartans up for a best-of-three series with Fraser Valley, which was the Spartans first home playoff series at the Langley Events Centre.

But in their first post-season game at the LEC, disaster struck late in the fourth quarter as the Cascades rallied with 15 straight points to end the game as they took Game 1 by a score of 81-80.

However, from there, the Spartans rallied.

Trinity Western won the next two games 86-69 and 89-75 to secure a spot in the Canada West Final Four. Back in the Final Four after a one year hiatus, the Spartans lost to Saskatchewan in an 80-78 thriller in the semifinal before beating Alberta 82-74 to win the bronze medal.

The next day, having been amongst the best in Canada all year, the Spartans were awarded the CIS Final 8 wildcard berth and were able to book their tickets to Halifax.

From there, the run to the final began. The Spartans beat OUA champion Lakehead in the quarter-final 82-74 with Jacob Doerksen and Kyle Coston each contributing 20 points. Then came the game against UBC in which Coston went off for 20 second half points, including the winning 3-point shot with 11.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter, to lead Trinity Western to the win.

In the final, the Spartans struggled to gain momentum early and were down by nine points after the first quarter and 18 by halftime en route to a tough loss and the end of what was a remarkable year.

In the regular season the Spartans averaged 94.4 points per game while giving up only 75.4 points per game.  They also only allowed the opposition to shoot a conference low 40.0 per cent while collecting a conference high 44.9 rebounds per game.

Doerksen led the team with 21.6 points per game in the regular season while Tyrell Mara had a team high 8.9 rebounds per game.

Doerksen also set the Spartans record for points in a game with 42 against Fraser Valley on Dec. 4, 2010 while Mara set the school record for rebounds in a game with 21 against Brandon Feb. 4, 2011.

For the fifth time in five years of eligibility, Doerksen was named a Canada West All-Star, this time to the First Team, and  was also named a CIS First Team All-Star. Tyrell Mara was the Canada West nominee for the Ken Shields Award, given to the top student athlete.

A LOOK AHEAD…

The Spartans will lose arguably the best player this program has ever seen in Jacob Doerksen and arguably the hardest worker this program has ever seen in Tyrell Mara along with Daniel Horner, their best 3-point shooter this year, Lance Verhoeff, the Spartans record holder for most blocks in a game with six, and Clint Wickham, all to graduation.

So, indeed they have some spots to fill in 2011-12.

Fortunately for Trinity Western, with the exception of Horner, their backcourt returns intact with Tristan Smith, Calvin Westbrook and Eli Mara all a year older and more mature.

Up front, the Spartans will be in decent shape if Coston can play like he did at nationals, if Tonner Jackson can take another leap forward, if Niko Monachini – an injury redshirt this year – can harness his athleticism and strength and be a presence down low, if Lucas Nugteren – an injury redshirt this year – can be a valuable addition and if they can get quality minutes from Jesse Jeffers and/or Tyler Lintell.

There are a lot of ifs, but if they can find an answer to most of those questions, those who expect a regression might by surprised.

“It’s going to be big time different,” Coston said. “We were more big bruisers this last year and we didn’t get out on the transition very much. This next year we’re all lean, athletic wing players that like to get out and run. We’re going to push transition and play a fast paced game and score a lot of points.”

Last Updated: 2011-09-21
Author: Mark Janzen