Spartans end Canada West season on down side

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by Scott Stewart

February 15, 2014, ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia (ISN) – Fourth year forward Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) was spectacular as he finished with a career best 30 points and 14 rebounds, but it was not enough for the Spartans as Trinity Western lost their final Canada West conference game 83-78 to the Fraser Valley Cascades Saturday night at UFV in Abbotsford, B.C.

The loss ends the Canada West season for TWU at 10-12, while the win moves UFV to 17-5.

“A disappointing way to end the season, but Denny was impressive in his bounce back game, unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of support for him.” Commented TWU head coach Scott Allen. “We have to find ways to be able to hit shots under pressure situations, we are doing lots of other things well, but we need to be able to make the shots.”

Three point shooting costs the Spartans tonight as they finished under 10 percent (2-21), while the Cascades finished at 44.4 percent (12-27).

In addition to McDonald the Spartans had scoring from fourth year guard Justin Bakuteka (Toronto) with 18 points, fourth year forward Anthony Ottley (Toronto) with 13 points and second year guard Lucas Mannes (Chilliwack, B.C.) with 10 points.

Leading the way for the Cascades were forward Kadeem Wills and guard Aaron McGowan with 15 points each.

The first quarter ended up being the difference in the contest as the Cascades jumped out to a 12 point, 25-13, lead after 10 minutes. TWU would cut the lead slightly but still trailed by double digits, 46-35, going into the half time break.

The two teams matched each other in the third quarter with the Cascades leading the Spartans 65-53 going into the final frame.

Led by second year guard Matt Blackaby (Maple Ridge, B.C.) the Spartans came into the fourth quarter playing aggressive scrambling defense and quickly cut into the Cascades lead. And after a McDonald lay-up with 6:49 remaining the Cascades had seen their lead whittled down to a single point, 66-65.

“Matt played well and he created a lot of turnovers for us and got us back in the game,” added Allen.

From that point, however, Fraser Valley was able to slowly build their lead back to double-digits before ending the contest with the five point, 83-78, win.

Fraser Valley will now open the Canada West play-offs at home against the University of Lethbridge.

Game Notes: Fraser Valley is currently on a 14 game winning streak. The Cascades last loss, 83-62, was Nov. 23 at Saskatchewan…McDonald’s previous high was 29 points on Feb. 7 at Mount Royal University…McDonald also finished with a career best 14-17 from the foul line.