The weekend of Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 was an exciting one in the Duckworth Centre as the Wesmen basketball teams hosted the Fraser Valley Cascades, and won three of the four games.
The women swept the Cascades, and the men came out of the weekend with a split.
Friday night, the women’s game was so close throughout that in the second quarter, it looked like the Wesmen were going take the game away.
However, the Cascades fought back and closed the score to 42-36 by halftime.
In the third, the Cascades dominated. They outscored Winnipeg 20-6 and shot 50 per cent from the field.
Fourth-year point guard Mackenzie Prasek said the Wesmen went into the fourth quarter determined to shut down the Cascades.
“We knew we had to go back to what was working for us in the first half, which was our defence,” she said.
Winnipeg regained the lead, but were unable to hold onto it.
The game was tied by a three-pointer from Fraser Valley’s Aieisha Luyken with 1:45 left in regulation time. Neither team was able to score after that and the teams went into overtime tied at 67.
In overtime, the Wesmen were without starting guard Stephanie Kleysen and starting forward Amy Ogidan, both of whom had fouled out in regulation time.
It didn’t matter though, because Prasek along with rookie Ashleigh Chichlowski stepped up their games and each drained a three-pointer in the opening minute.
Winnipeg had the momentum, and went on to win the game, 79-70.
The men’s game followed and was just as satisfying for Wesmen fans.
Winnipeg, who had not won a game since Jan. 8, came out strong and destroyed the Cascades.
Head coach Mike Raimbault said his team stuck to the game plan of playing hard and out-hustling their opponents.
“We wanted to play with a positive energy,” he said. “Play together, defend the three-point line and win all of the loose ball and rebounding situations.”
That’s exactly what the Wesmen did.
Led by team captain and fifth-year guard Nick Lother, who finished with a game high of 27 points, the Wesmen defeated the Cascades 88-73.
For the first three quarters, Winnipeg fought to hold onto a narrow lead. At the end of the first quarter they were up by five, and at the half, they lead 46-42.
Winnipeg held onto their lead during the third and went into the final quarter of the game ahead by five points.
The last quarter was close until Winnipeg’s third-year forward Benny Iko stepped up to change the game.
Iko had seven points in the final five minutes of regulation time, leading the Wesmen to victory.
On Saturday night, it was a whole different story for the Wesmen women’s team. They demolished the Cascades, defeating them 75-47.
In the men’s game, it was a battle.
Winnipeg played well, but fell 75-68 to the Cascades.
Also that night, the Wesmen said goodbye to their fifth-year players. It was the last regular season home game for Alex MacIver, Kaitlin Rempel, Catie Gooch and Nick Lother.
For Rempel, the night was special, but not as emotional as her final game in a Wesmen jersey will be.
“Our teammates did so much for us and it was really amazing,” she said. “The actual game wasn’t as emotional as I had anticipated because we’re not close to the end. We still have league games and playoffs.”
Published in Volume 65, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 10, 2011)