VIU basketball teams win all their games to begin new year

VIU Mariners point guard Montell Lindgren, left, goes up for a lay-up against Quest Kermodes opponent Daniel Canzater during Friday
VIU Mariners point guard Montell Lindgren, left, goes up for a lay-up against Quest Kermodes opponent Daniel Canzater during Friday's PacWest game at the Vancouver Island University gym.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

The VIU Mariners basketball program was perfect to start the new year.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s and women’s teams swept all their home games this weekend in Pacific Western Athletic Association action at the VIU gym. The men came back to beat the Quest Kermodes 81-75 on Friday and then handled the Langara Falcons 86-66 the following afternoon. VIU’s women were 70-48 winners against the Kermodes and followed up with a 74-34 blowout win against the Falcons.

The game of the weekend turned out to be Friday’s men’s matchup as the undermanned Kermodes led by double digits early in the fourth quarter before the Mariners found success with outside shooting.

“They had guys in the key the whole time, so it was very difficult to drive,” said Matt Kuzminski, Mariners coach. “So that’s kind of what the defence gave us. We had to make some of them and we made some really timely ones.”

Bryson Cox led VIU with 24 points, Montell Lindgren scored 17 and Jalen Schlegel added 16.

The M’s men made sure the next day’s game didn’t require a comeback as they outscored the Falcons 36-9 in the first quarter.

“We wanted to come out and just kind of punch them in the mouth…” said Schlegel. “We had kind of a tough game [the night before] so we wanted to come out and get started on them right away and kind of set the pace for what we wanted to do.”

He led the way with 30 points and 12 rebounds and Cox added 12. Lindgren had nine assists. VIU star Usama Zaid was ejected from Friday’s game, which made him automatically suspended for Saturday’s contest.

As for the Mariners women, they had things under control all weekend with wire-to-wire wins.

“I’m happy with our effort and the fact we got back to playing defence. We had a defensive mindset…” said Bill McWhinnie, Mariners coach, after Friday’s victory. “We made things very difficult for their better players and it showed.”

Sienna Pollard started 2017 with a big night, scoring 21 points to go with 17 rebounds. Avery Snider scored 16 and Emily Clarke added 12.

“There’s still some things that can be worked on, things like staying focused throughout the whole game,” Pollard said. “But other than that, I felt like we played strong, we played together, we had good ball movement, we executed in many ways.”

In Saturday’s matchup, Snider led the way with 18 points and Pollard and Celina Guadagni had 16 apiece.

GAME ON … The Mariners basketball teams are on the road this coming weekend (Jan. 13-14), taking on the Douglas Royals and Capilano Blues, respectively.

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