VIU anticipates second-half surge

The VIU Mariners resume the PacWest schedule Friday (Jan. 13) and Saturday with games against the Quest Kermodes and Capilano Blues.

VIU Mariners player Jason McKee

VIU Mariners player Jason McKee

The Vancouver Island University Mariners put team-building above all else over the holiday break.

Now, as one, they eagerly anticipate tipoff of the second half of the basketball season.

The VIU Mariners resume the Pacific Western Athletic Association schedule this Friday (Jan. 13) and Saturday with games against the Quest Kermodes and Capilano Blues, respectively.

The M’s men hope to be a tighter group than the one that bounced off the court in the fall with a strong 5-1 record. Since then, they took a road trip to California that was a great benefit, said coach Tony Bryce.

“We played a little basketball but also connected a little more off the court and kind of built on the team chemistry aspect,” he said.

“The goal for us now is the long-term picture and in order for us to succeed in the end goal, we need to start showing up mentally and physically every single game for 40 minutes. If we do that I think we have the talent to be a very very good basketball team that could challenge for a national championship. But we’re not there yet.”

Still, they’re closer now, they think, after hooping and hollering together over the holidays.

“I feel like the bond will be better…” said Brandon Jones, VIU guard. “Our talent is there. If we come together as a team, not anyone can beat us.”

GAME ON … The VIU men play Quest on Friday at the Vancouver Island University gym at 8 p.m., following a women’s game at 6 p.m. Saturday’s tipoff times against Cap are 1 p.m. for the women, 3 p.m. for the men.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com