SPARTANS EARN CONVINCING WIN OVER VISITING BISONS
LANGLEY, British Columbia – Trinity Western took an early first quarter lead and never looked back as the home side ran away with an 80-62 win over Manitoba Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
The Spartans (5-12) opened a 12-point edge through the first quarter and maintained control the rest of the way. TWU extended its lead to as much as 29 points over the Bisons (1-18) midway through the fourth frame, before cruising to a critical win that helps keep the Spartans playoff hopes alive.
With the win, the Spartans remain two wins back of a three-way tie for fifth place in the Pioneer Division with three games to play. The top seven teams in the division qualify for the Canada West post-season.
TWU was led by Kayla Gordon (Prince George, B.C.), who had 16 points, Jessie Brown (Langley), who had 15 points and Tessa Ratzlaff (Abbotsford, B.C.), who added 14 points.
“I thought today was a good game for us,” said Spartans coach Cheryl Jean-Paul. “All week, we have been preparing for a team that is going to come in and work hard. Manitoba has been decimated by injuries and they’re very young, but they work hard. We needed to make sure we could match how hard they work and I thought today, we worked hard and we worked effectively. We were able to create great scoring looks in transition and we were able to create some great half-court looks on some good movement.”
Led by Gordon, who had eight points in the opening quarter, the Spartans built a 12-point lead, 24-12, after the first 10 minutes. The Spartans shot 57.9 per cent (11-19) from the field while holding the Bisons to 25 per cent (4-16).
The teams traded points in the second quarter, with the Spartans holding at a double-digit lead throughout. TWU extended its lead to as much as 16 points before settling for a 42-28 halftime edge.
With momentum already on their side, the Spartans continued to roll in the third quarter, outscoring Manitoba 23-16 in the frame to go ahead by 19 points, 65-44, after 30 minutes. The Spartans opened a 26-point advantage, at 63-37, before the Bisons put a dent in the TWU lead late in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Spartans pushed their lead to 76-47 before holding off Manitoba down the stretch. The Bisons closed the gap, getting to within 16 points, at 78-62, before the Spartans rounded out the scoring late, hitting 80 points for just the second time this year.
“This is where you’re supposed to benefit from playing ranked teams nearly every weekend this semester,” Jean-Paul said. “It was really nice to see everyone contribute to that. I thought we did a good job of making sure we maintained the momentum of this game. Overall, this is the kind of basketball we need to play to finish off the season well.’
The Spartans and Bisons will play the back end of their two-game weekend series Saturday at 5 p.m. at the LEC. Saturday’s contest will be the final game of the regular season for Manitoba, while the Spartans finish their regular season on the road against Lethbridge (1-16).
Game Notes: TWU has won two of its last three home games, which includes a weekend split with Brandon in the Spartans last two-game set at the LEC…The last time the Spartans made the playoffs was in 2008-09, when they finished the regular season with an 11-12 record…That year, they lost to SFU in the Pacific Division semifinals, losing the best-of-three series in two straight to the eventual CIS champions.