Preview: Cascade hoopsters tip off regular season on road vs. UBC Okanagan


The University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams open the Canada West regular season on the road this weekend, as they travel to Kelowna to face the UBC Okanagan Heat.

Games run Friday (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.), and will be webcast live on

The Cascades’ home openers are next weekend, Nov. 14-15, against the UNBC Timberwolves.

The UFV basketball teams are coming off preseason schedules characterized by a high degree of difficulty – both the women and the men played four games against teams ranked in the top 10 in the first CIS national poll. Women’s head coach Al Tuchscherer and his men’s counterpart Adam Friesen both believe that stands them in good stead as they hit the road to Kelowna.

“Our preseason schedule was extremely challenging, intentionally,” said Tuchscherer, whose team took on CIS preseason No. 2-ranked UBC, No. 6 Saskatchewan, No. 8 Regina and No. 9 Queen’s in exhibition action. “Now we’re going to see how that pays off as we start our divisional play. I think we’re a lot better now than we were six weeks ago. When you’re playing elite competition, you’re either going to get buried by it or find a way to get better. I think we’ve gotten a lot better.”

According to the Canada West coaches’ polls, both UFV teams are favoured to finish in first place in the new six-team Explorers Division; the UBC-O women are pegged to finish fourth and the men sixth. But Tuchscherer and Friesen are both wary of how tough the Heat play on their home court.

Friesen, whose team already has games against preseason No. 3-ranked Ryerson, No. 5 Windsor (twice) and No. 10 Victoria under its belt, noted that his team lost to UBC-O the last time they made the trip to Kelowna, back in February 2013.

“(Third-year point guard) Mitch Goodwin’s given us trouble every time we’ve played them,” Friesen said. “They’re a young, talented team, so we expect a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy. They beat us the last time we were up there, so we know how dangerous this road trip can be for us.”

Cascades men’s and women’s basketball previews are below. For previews of every Canada West team, click here for men and here for women.


University of the Fraser Valley Cascades mens basketball

CW Preseason Coaches’ Poll Ranking: 5th overall, 1st in Explorers Division

2013-14 CIS Tournament Placing: N/A

2013-14 CW Tournament Placing: 4th

2013-14 CW Record: 17-5

Last CIS Title: N/A

Last CW Title: N/A

Key returnees: Jasper Moedt, Kevon Parchment, Kadeem Willis, Manny Dulay

Key additions: Nate Brown, Dominque Brown, Vijay Dhillon

Key departures: Klaus Figueredo, Kevin Ford

With more size and depth than they’ve had in recent memory, the Cascades have the pieces to contend in 2014-15.

Head coach Adam Friesen brings back a solid core of returnees, headlined by Kevon Parchment and Jasper Moedt. Fourth-year guard Parchment was the team’s top scorer in 2013-14 – his 17.2 points per game ranked eighth in Canada West, and he stuffed the stat sheet with 7.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Fifth-year centre Moedt was a second team Canada West all-star last season, averaging 15.5 points and 9.1 rebounds. His rebounding total was second-best in the conference.

Other key returnees include forward Kadeem Willis (10.5 points, 6.7 rebounds per game) and point guard Manny Dulay (9.5 points per game, .393 shooting from beyond the arc).

Nate Brown, a 6’6” newcomer from Fresno, Calif., joins forces with Moedt and Willis to give the Cascades a great deal of strength in the post, while backcourt transfers Dominique Brown (University of Texas Permian Basin) and Vijay Dhillon (Victoria Vikes) bolster the team on the perimeter.


University of the Fraser Valley Cascades womens basketball

CW Preseason Coaches’ Poll Ranking: 8th overall, 1st in Explorers Division

2013-14 CIS Tournament Placing: 3rd (Bronze)

2013-14 CW Tournament Placing: 2nd (Silver)

2013-14 CW Record: 17-5

Last CIS Title: N/A

Last CW Title: N/A

Key returnees: Sarah Wierks, Nataliia Gavryliuk, Celeste Dyck, Katie Brink, Shayna Litman

Key additions: Jenika Bannerman, Danielle Vanbergen

Key departures: Aieisha Luyken, Nicole Wierks, Courtney Bartel

The Cascades are a far different team from the one that won the Canada West silver medal and the CIS bronze last spring, but the 2014-15 edition of the squad still has the type of talent and experience to be a contender once again.

The Cascades waved goodbye to six key players after their deep playoff run last season, including starting point guard Aieisha Luyken, lockdown defender Nicole Wierks and three-point shooting ace Courtney Bartel.

But they bring back a number of key veterans, led by fifth-year centre Sarah Wierks. The Chilliwack, B.C. native was the team’s leading scorer in 2013-14, averaging 11.9 points per game, and her 8.1 rebounds per game ranked sixth-best in Canada West. Between Wierks and third-year forwards Katie Brink and Shayna Litman, the Cascades’ frontcourt figures to shoulder an increased share of the team’s scoring load.

In the backcourt, fifth-year point guard Celeste Dyck takes over the starting job, and Hailey Kendall and Kaitlyn McDonald will take on larger roles as sophomores. Nataliia Gavryliuk, a third-year guard/forward from Kiev, Ukraine, brings a playmaking flair and will be among the team’s scoring leaders.

– with files from Canada West communications