Kamloops, BC—For the first time in their CIS history, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s basketball team has won a post season series. The WolfPack disposed of the visiting University of Winnipeg Wesmen 2-0 in a best of three Canada West play in series. The score of game two at the TRU gym was 62-61.
The series clinch by the WolfPack was the first time for the men’s basketball program at TRU (formerly the University College of the Cariboo and Cariboo College) since 2007-08 when the then UCC Sun Demons were members of the Canadian College Athletic Association.
A few of the alumna of that squad were in the stands on Friday and saw their team battle back from a one point half time deficit (28-27) with a strong third quarter and then had to battle back and forth with a pesky Wesmen team in the fourth. And they did it with their two ‘big men’—Tallon Milne (fifth year, forward, Vanderhoof, BC) and Josh Wolfram (fourth year, forward, Kamloops, BC) sitting on the bench after fouling out.
Reese Pribilsky (fourth year, guard, Victoria, BC) was good on a lay-up with 55 seconds left to give the ‘Pack a 62-58 lead. Winnipeg’s Jelane Pryce (fourth year, guard, Innisfil, ON) hit a layup with 12 seconds remaining to cut the margin to 62-61.
Josh Mayorga (first year, guard, Langley, BC) went to the line with four seconds left after being fouled but missed on his two shots from the line. The spirited game ended when the Wesmen’s Jordan Clennon (fifth year, guard, Brampton, ON) turned over the ball.
“Both teams played really hard,” said WolfPack head coach Scott Clark about the series. ” I thought you saw a couple of tired basketball teams today. A lot of grit on both sides of the basketball. I thought it was a game that could have gone either way.”
The WolfPack had three players in double figures led by Brett Parker (fifth year, guard, Langley, BC). He had 17 points.
Wolfram and Brett Rouault (fifth year, guard, Vernon, BC) each had 10 points.
Milne contributed 11 rebounds (10 on defence).
Winnipeg was led by Pryce who had a game high 22 points. Christopher Baxter (third year, guard, Inglewood, CA) had 15 points. Denzel Lynch-Blair (first year, guard, Toronto, ON) contributed 10 points.
“Both teams made plays down the stretch but we didn’t capitalize,” said Wesmen head coach Mike Raimbault. “I have to give credit to TRU who executed better than we did.”
Thompson Rivers moves into the Canada West quarter finals and will head to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan next weekend to meet the Huskies. The best of three series begins Friday, February 27 th. The Huskies and the WolfPack met in 2013-14—in TRU’s inaugural appearance in the Canada West post season. Saskatchewan won the series in two straight.
FOUL SHOTS: Clark on the significance of winning the playoff series at home and after almost a decade for the school. “We came here to rebuild the program. It is a process. We built every year and take an additional step every year. It is not how I feel—it is how the players feel. The players make sacrifices throughout the summer and the season. They have their roles and they fill them. They are the ones who have built the program to where it is today.”