Cougars stay ahead of the pack
author: nathan mccarville | sports writer
Just hoopin‘ / nathan mccarville
Back to back weekend wins for the basketball teams
Nov. 2 marked the beginning of the Homecoming weekend for the University of Regina’s two basketball teams, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Cougars men’s basketball program, both playing against the Trinity Western Spartans. The opening weekend for the men’s basketball team could not have gone better if the organizers had asked for it. A good way to put the event’s exposure and high attendance to good use was the show the men’s basketball team was able to put on as they showed off their skills as they rolled over their recent rivals, the Trinity Western Spartans, who proved to be not much of rivals that night in particular, the visiting team being better described as practice dummies for the better team on the court.
Whether the players were on or off the court, aiding in the advance against the lesser known Spartans, who couldn’t keep just couldn’t keep up with the Cougars, or on the sidelines watching their teammates continue to climb higher on the scoreboard unable to sit down most of the time from the excitement of the event. On the event, assistant coach for the Cougars, Wade Hackl talked about the events.
“It was a special weekend for our program and our alumni. A great deal of time and effort from our alumni group allowed an extremely memorable weekend to occur for all involved. On top of that, we were able to capture two important wins.”
As for the games themselves, the first game ended with a result of an astounding 111 points for the Cougars, the Spartans managing a little more than half of that with 65 points for the game. The Cougars who played with distinction in the first game included newcomer Greishe Clerjuste, hailing from Montreal, who scored 17 points, as well as Brayden Kuski who scored 17 points, followed closely by Matt Barnard, scoring 16 points. The following game, the men came out with a result of 82-69 in favour of the Cougars. The top scorers on the Cougars included two former Leboldus Golden Suns players Benjamin Hillis with 14 points, Carter Millar with 13 points, and again the Greishe Clerjuste with 13 points in the game.
With six new additions to the team, the Cougars coaches looked beyond their options among the Regina-based students started their first year at the U of R, and rather recruiting players already in their prime to play. Taking two new players from Montreal, third-year Greishe Clerjuste, and fourth-year Gregory Rene, a player from California, third-year guard Kameron Vales, Torontonian Forward Frank Agyemang in his second year, Myles Hamilton, a fourth-year guard form Ohio, and the lone new Regina recruit Zakkery Tamlin, a third-year forward, the Cougars coaching staff has built a formidable roster which they showcased for the first time in Regina this season at the Homecoming weekend. Wade Hackl commented on the results relative to the rest of the upcoming regular season
“We are excited about the year ahead. Canada West is a very tough conference and every weekend is a battle. We like our team and their team first attitude. If we commit to playing the right way and compete together, we will have a good year.”
The event extended invitations to all alumni of the Cougars basketball team, reserving courtside seats for the attendees who had previously played for the basketball teams at the U of R and even hosted an Alumni game on the third. On the importance of having so many alumni enthusiastically attending the Homecoming weekend for the Cougars, Coach Hackl said, “That was very special. The visual of our former players lining the sidelines was an impressive sight. The amount of alumni that came back to support our event shows how important our program has been to so many people.”
Though the true start to the season didn’t end as fortunately as the games at the home opener, the Cougars previously playing the University of Calgary Dinos and coming out of the weekend without a win. The results for the weekend showed a less than prepared team of Cougars facing off against the Dinos, the first game on Oct. 26 having a result of 91-68 in favour of the Dinos, and the second game played on Oct. 27th having a result of 95-60 also in favour of the Calgarian prehistoric beasts.
This past weekend, the Cougars have played against the Brandon Bobcats with the favourable results of 100-82 in the first game, top scorers for the Cougar including the Hillis Brothers with 19 points scored by Benjamin Hillis, and 17 scored by Samuel Hillis, while Greishe Clerjuste scored a reliable 19 points for the game. The second game brought a slightly different result, yet no less favourable with a final score of 97-82 points with max baskets from Brayden Kuski with 25 points, Cartern Millar with 20 points, and Samuel Hillis with 17 points.
As for the preseason, the coaching staff of the team has been hot on the heels of the team, organizing trips to Thunder Bay where the team played against the Lakehead Timberwolves, winning both games by a small margin, each game ending in favour of the visiting Cougars with scores of 88-84 and 87-86. The Cougars also traveled to Prince Edward Island, where the team played against the UPEI Panthers, U Maine at Fort Kent Bengals, and the McMaster Marauders at the Mickey Place Tournament winning all three games against those teams. As well, the team also traveled to Montreal for the Concordia Classic, losing the first game against the Concordia Stingers with a score of 82-63 in favour of the Stingers, but winning the two subsequent games against the Waterloo Warriors, the Cougars attaining a score of 100-60, followed by another win against the Acadia Axemen, winning only by a single point, the game ending with a score of 85-84 for the Cougars.
The next two weekends, the Cougars will be staying at home, playing against the Manitoba Bisons on Nov. 16 and 17, followed by the MacEwan Griffins on November 30 and Dec.1 at the CKHS.