Cascade hoopsters headed stateside for exhibition games


The University of the Fraser Valley basketball teams are ticketed for sunnier climates between Christmas and New Year’s as they gear up for the second semester of Canada West regular-season action.

The Cascades men’s hoopsters are headed to Costa Mesa, Calif. to take part in the Bill Reynolds Holiday Classic, an exhibition tournament hosted by the Vanguard University Lions. UFV faces the Northwestern College Red Raiders of Iowa in their opener on Dec. 30 (tip-off at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time), and they take on host Vanguard in their second and final game of the event on Dec. 31 (5:30 p.m.).

The UFV men (8-0 in league play, No. 9 in the CIS national rankings) are the last undefeated team in Canada West and sit in top spot in the Explorers Division, and have won 22 straight conference games dating back to last season. Both of their opponents at the Reynolds Classic are National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) programs.

“It’s nice to get away and enjoy some warm weather, but also getting back into a basketball frame of mind and getting our legs back,” said Cascades head coach Adam Friesen.

The UFV women’s basketball team is off to Arizona for a pair of exhibition games against National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) squads. They play the Glendale Community College Gauchos on Dec. 27 (tip-off at 1 p.m. Pacific), and the Phoenix College Bears on Dec. 28 (11 a.m.). The latter game is part of the Phoenix College Holiday Basketball Classic tourney.

“It gives us a head start on our January games,” noted UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer, whose team wrapped up the semester in third place in the Explorers Division with a 4-4 record. “We have a chance to practice a bit down there, and play a couple of different teams to make sure we’re ready to go that first week of 2015.”

The next league games for the Cascades basketball teams are at home vs. the Mount Royal Cougars on Friday, Jan. 9 (women 6 p.m., men 8 p.m.) and Saturday, Jan. 10 (women 5 p.m., men 7 p.m.) at the Envision Athletic Centre.