VIU Mariners guard Harry Fayle, right, is the PacWest Player of the Year for 2018-19. Fayle and his Mariners are the No. 1 seeds at provincial championships starting this week. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

VIU Mariners basketball teams favoured at provincials

Men and women are the No. 1 seeds at PacWest championships this week in New Westminster

Vancouver Island University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams practised and played hard all season to earn top seeds in the playoffs, and now they’ll try to parlay that advantage into championship gold.

The VIU Mariners teams are off to New Westminster for PacWest provincials starting Thursday, Feb. 28. Both M’s teams have byes into Friday’s semifinals; the VIU men (16-2) play Langara or Camosun and the VIU women (17-1) take on Douglas or Langara.

“I think we’re in a good spot,” said Matt Kuzminski, coach of the M’s men. “I like the way our team’s playing but I think it’s going to be a war … I think both the games we play are going to be really tough.”

The men are led by guard Harry Fayle, announced today as the PacWest Player of the Year, top scorer Landon Radliff, PacWest Defensive Player of the Year Tyus Barfoot, and graduating veteran post Jerod Dorby. Fayle and Barfoot were chosen first-team all-stars and Dorby is a second-team all-star.

Kuzminski said whichever side of the brackets the Mariners had ended up on, they would be facing a challenging semifinal opponent. He said versus Langara or Camosun, VIU has a good idea of how those teams will want to play and how his team can find an edge.

“Against both those teams, we have to get out and get running and really attack the basket and put pressure on the rim,” the coach said. “I think we’re such a good three-point shooting team that it’s important for us to remember to attack, attack, attack before we settle for too many threes.”

Should the Mariners make it through the semis, they could find themselves up against the No. 2-seeded Douglas Royals. That potential final would be a marquee matchup especially because playing Douglas in that team’s home gym would create symmetry with last year’s PacWest final that saw the Royals defeat the Mariners in the VIU gym.

“It’s more just about who we’re going to play Friday night and getting through that…” Kuzminski said. “We’re locked in on the first game and trying to take care of that step.”

VIU women want to control the pace at provincials

The Mariners women are also putting all their focus on the semifinals right now. Tony Bryce, coach of the M’s women, said the possible opponents present significantly different challenges, with Douglas a physical squad and Langara a team that will “junk it up” to try to be competitive.

“It’s hard to prepare for both and that’s why our focus has been on preparing us, really,” Bryce said. “If we do that, we should be ready for whoever we may face through the weekend.”

For the Mariners to be able to control the flow, the way they want, it will start with responsibility in their own end of the court, the coach said.

“It’s making sure that we’re engaged and mentally locked into the defensive side of the ball, and if that happens, then that tends to naturally let us flow offensively and we get to get up and down the floor and play with pace and use our depth to wear people down,” he said.

Bryce was chosen PacWest Coach of the Year at the close of his team’s near-perfect regular season. Guards Amber Lease and Avery Snider were selected as first-team all-stars and Shayce Johnston is a second team all-star. Other key contributors are graduating vets Emma Platner, Emily Clarke and Victoria Brown.

“I really like this group,” Bryce said. “They’ve worked hard and you’ve got to trust the process this week and trust the work you’ve put in.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Multiple arrests made at Tour de Rock jail-and-bail fundraiser in Nanaimo

Suspects make bail in support of Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock on Wednesday at Woodgrove Centre

Big top set up in north Nanaimo as circus comes to town

American Crown Circus Circo Osorio will be at Woodgrove Centre from Sept. 19-23

Nanaimo area United Way kicks off fundraising campaign

Money raised benefits many, including those affected by opioid crisis

Council adopts whistleblower policy for City of Nanaimo

Policy designed to protect staff members who wish to report potential wrongdoing

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

Nanaimo Search and Rescue to build a long-term base in Harewood

Group will sign 25-year co-management agreement for Fourth Street rec centre

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Most Read