Sports

Mariners in good position after fall b-ball schedule

VIU Mariners guard Brandon Jones, top, goes for a lay-up during Saturday’s game against the Kwantlen Eagles at the VIU gym. The M’s lost 76-74. - NIOMI PEARSON/The News Bulletin
VIU Mariners guard Brandon Jones, top, goes for a lay-up during Saturday’s game against the Kwantlen Eagles at the VIU gym. The M’s lost 76-74.
— image credit: NIOMI PEARSON/The News Bulletin

Vancouver Island University's basketball teams completed the first half of their schedules in pretty good positions in the standings.

The VIU Mariners men's team (6-2) won one of its two games on the weekend, defeating the Columbia Bible College Bearcats 77-64 on Friday before falling 76-74 to the Kwantlen Eagles on Saturday.

VIU's women's team (4-4), meanwhile, won both its games, handling CBC 67-41 and then coming up with a 61-52 victory over Kwantlen the next day.

Matt Kuzminski, coach of the VIU men, said his team had slow starts both games on the weekend.

"It didn't seem like our energy was quite where we wanted it to be," he said. "On Friday night we did enough to overcome that and get the win. Saturday afternoon we had a lot of chances; we missed a lot of opportunities."

In that Saturday game, the M's trailed by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter. They came back to give themselves a chance at a game-tying lay-up late, but the rally fell just short.

Brandon Jones scored 18 points and hauled down eight rebounds in that game and Clayton Billett scored 13 points. The night before, Tyler Olsen led his team to victory with 20 points and 12 rebounds.  Clayton Billett scored 12 points and Adam Connolly added 10.

The women's Mariners, meanwhile, had a "positive final weekend," said Bill McWhinnie, the team's coach. "Especially Saturday beating a good Kwantlen team at home. We played with energy and enthusiasm for 40 minutes, which we lacked in the past few weeks."

VIU had lost three straight going into the weekend, but got back their starting point guard Jocelyn Jones and she made an immediate impact. Jones came just one rebound shy of a triple-double in Friday's win, contributing 10 points, 10 assists and nine boards. Shayna Worthington led the M's offensively with 20 points in that one.

The win over Kwantlen allowed VIU to edge past that team in the Pacific Western Athletic Association standings and move to .500 before the holidays.

"We handled their pressure quite well; we changed defences which kind of slowed them down a little bit," McWhinnie said. "And our kids just made plays when it mattered."

Heather McCarthy was top scorer with 14 points in that game. Jones scored 13 and Worthington had 10 points and nine rebounds.

GAME ON … The next PacWest action for the VIU Mariners b-ball teams is Jan. 4, when they get a jump on the winter semester and play games even before classes resume. The Camosun Chargers will visit the VIU gym that night and the women tip off at 6 p.m. before the men take the court at 8 p.m.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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