Huskies basketball to host Final Four

Jamelle Barrett leads Huskies to win against Spartans

Forward Michael Lieffers scored 26 points in the Huskies sweep of the Spartans.

The No. 3 ranked Huskies men are set to host the Canada West Final Four for the first time ever following two wins against the Trinity Western Spartans at the Physical Activity Complex Feb. 24 and 25.

The men played a close first game against the Spartans on Feb. 24, but pulled ahead in the final quarter to win 98-83. Fourth-year guard Jamelle Barrett scored 36 points for the Huskies — more than a third of the team’s total.

The Spartans proved just as difficult the following night, as the two sides were again neck-and-neck, staying within three points of one another for almost the entire game.

However, another late push by Barrett, the Canada West MVP, made the Huskies’ win all but inevitable. The No. 7 jersey was seemingly everywhere in the final frame with Barrett sinking three-pointers, muscling his way to the basket and collecting free throws at an astounding work rate. Barrett ended the game with 41 points.

The final score was 111-97 between the teams.

“It was going into halftime, I knew I was going to have to come out and be a little more aggressive, looking for my shot and getting my team involved,” an exhausted-looking Barrett said after the match.

Barrett agreed the games had been close, but he wasn’t surprised.

“They’re a really good team and they have good players,” he said. “They came out and played hard, and gave us a run for our money — but we found a way to win.”

Although Barrett was undoubtedly the architect of the Huskies win, it was also a team effort. Rookie forward Matthew Forbes had an impressive game with a season-high 23 points, while Duncan Jones added another 16. Michael Lieffers recorded a double-double with 14 points and an impressive 19 rebounds while Peter Lomuro added 11 points to the scoresheet.

With the Spartans defeated, the Huskies now focus on hosting the Final Four March 2 and 3 at the PAC. Head coach Barry Rawlyk says he’s looking for full support from the fans on the weekend.

“These guys have worked so hard all year for this,” said Rawlyk. “This was an objective they set for themselves at the start of the year and it’s now happening, and it would be great to see a full house here to really support them.”

 Women sweep Thompson Rivers in two-game series

Despite a wobbly start on the first night of a two-game series against the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack, the No. 3 ranked Huskies women’s basketball team ended the weekend by sweeping their opponents.

On Feb. 24, Saskatchewan trailed the Wolfpack 33-28 at halftime. A strong performance in the second half, however, let the women come out on top with a 66-59 win.

The Huskies win was driven by fifth-year guard Amy Lackie’s 13 points, including a three-pointer in the fourth quarter that essentially clinched the game.

Dalyce Emmerson, Katie Miyazaki and Kiera Lyons each recorded double-digit scores with 13, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Things were less shaky the following night as the Huskies dominated all quarters, never falling behind in points and finishing with a comfortable 13-point lead in the 56-43 victory over the Wolfpack.

Head coach Lisa Thomaidis knew exactly what made the difference the second night.

“Definitely our defensive execution,” she said. “Things that hurt us yesterday we did a much better job of defending tonight.”

The only cause for concern came when fifth-year guard Miyazaki briefly left the court in the third quarter with a charley horse. Although Miyazaki is usually the engine of the team, it was Emmerson and second-year guard Kabree Howard who led the charge, collecting 12 and 17 points, respectively.

The win propels the team into the Canada West Final Four on March 2 to 3, hosted by the University of Regina Cougars.


Photo: Pete Yee