Spartans Fall to Cascades in Final Regular Season Game

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LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western women’s basketball team dropped its final game of the regular season as they fell 74-65 to Fraser Valley Thursday at the Langley Events Centre.

The Spartans are now 8-10 on the season and will now need a lot of help from other teams to make the playoffs while the Cascades are 12-6 and have secured second place in the West Division.

The Cascades were led by Aieisha Luyken, who had 19 points and six rebounds, Tessa Klassen, who had 15 points and was six for six from the free throw line and Sarah Wierks, who had eight boards and seven points.With the score 65-63 for the Spartans midway through the fourth quarter, the Cascades went on an 11-0 run to end the game, sparked by a Nicole Wierks 3-pointer, en route to what would turn out to be a nine-point victory.

For Trinity Western, it was Holly Strom leading the way with 20 points and five rebounds, including a fourth quarter run in which she scored 12 straight points for the Spartans, Sarah Cleveland, who had 15 points and three rebounds, and Laurelle Weigl, who had 13 points and seven boards.

The Spartans will now need Thompson Rivers to lose both of their remaining two games if Trinity Western is to have a chance to make the playoffs.

“I think in terms of effort, we really fought hard,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “I just wanted to make sure our team showed the character they had been showing all season long and they did that today. At the end [Fraser Valley] hit some big threes and had some momentum scores that we just didn’t have enough time to respond to.

“There were a few turning points. In the first half when we had a double-digit lead, we kind of went into panic mode and allowed them to get back into the game.Then in second half Holly really found her groove…but I think there were just a few sequences that could have gone either way and didn’t go our way and suddenly we’re down. And even when we were down five or six down, it just didn’t go our way.”

With Luyken leading the way with six  points early on, the Cascades raced out to an 8-2 lead in the first few minutes of the first quarter.

They extended that lead to 10-3 after a Kayli Sartori jumper before the home side got things rolling. Cleveland and Janelle Traber each knocked down field goals to spark a Trinity Western surge.

With Fraser Valley up 12-7 after a pair of Sartori free throws, the Spartans Strom converted a three-point play to launch what would turn out to be a 23-6 run.

With a Weigl lay-up late in the first quarter, the Spartans evened the contest at 14-14 heading to the second frame.

In the second quarter, Trinity Western kept coming.

The Spartans scored the first six points of the quarter and then built as much as a 12-point lead after an Emily Knauff jumper made it 30-18.

However, before the Spartans could pull away too far, the Cascades reeled them right back in with a 9-0 run to end the quarter, closing to within three points, 30-27, at haltime.

Fraser Valley’s Alexa McCarthy finished the half with the final six points.

Luyken had a half-high eight points for Fraser Valley while both Knauff and Cleveland had seven points to lead Trinity Western.

The Cascades came out in the second half as hot as they finished the first, scoring the first seven points, which capped what woud turn out to be an 16-0 halftime-crossing run that gave the visitors a 34-30 lead.

From there, after a Tiffany Olsen free throw, followed by a Weigl three-point play tied it 34-34, it was back and forth the rest of the quarter with neither team taking more than a two-point lead.

With 16 seconds left in the quarter Cleveland hit a 3-pointer to give Trinity Western a 48-47 lead heading to the final quarter.

Just like the latter stages of the third quarter, the fourth quarter was tight throughout and filled with lead changes.

With the score 55-53 for the Cascades, Strom went off for the Spartans, scoring 12 straight points for Trinity Western to give the Spartans a two-point lead, 65-63.

That’s when Fraser Valley took over.

With Weirks’ 3-pointer getting the Cascades rolling, Fraser Valley finished the game with nine straight points, never allowing Trinity Western a single basket the rest of the way.

The first lead of more than two points in the quarter came when Fraser Valley’s made it 69-65 with 53.2 seconds left.

Game Notes – UFV finished 41.9 per cent from the field while TWU was 35.8 per cent…TWU had 35 rebounds to UFV’s 31…UFV shot 42.9 per cent from 3-point range (6/14) while TWU shot 16.7 per cent (3/18).

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