DEVIN R. HEROUX
Former Huskies men’s basketball head coach Greg Jockims was at the Physical Activity Complex Feb. 26 to watch game two of the Canada West quarter-finals against the University of Regina Cougars.
You could tell it was killing him not to be on the sidelines prepping the Green and White for another national title playoff run.
“It didn’t bother me during the season, but now that it’s playoff time it’s hard to be sitting in the stands,” said Jockims. “I talk to the team often, though, so I feel close to it still.”
Jockims took a year leave of absence and having just won a national title it seemed like the right move. But now with the Huskies looking poised for another strong post-season run, Jockims is having second thoughts. Can you blame him?
Let’s be honest; there was no way Regina was going to win a game this weekend in the first round of Canada West playoffs. Besides, earlier in February the Dogs beat up on the Cougars to the tune of 104-76 and 110-83. It wasn’t much better this past weekend only this time the playoff losses by Regina were season-ending. After the initial weekend loss of 98-75 the Huskies set their sights on a weekend sweep, and did just that the following night with a 92-75 victory.
On Feb. 25 the Huskies were lead offensively by the local fifth product Rejean Chabot who cashed in for 29 points. Canada West scoring leader Jamelle Barrett racked up 23 of his own points to help the cause. But perhaps most impressive was Nolan Brudehl’s Huskies’ playoff record-setting performance; the Bishop James Mahoney graduate had 22 rebounds, the most in Huskies playoff history. It all tallied to be a dominating 98-75 win.
Saturday night was much of the same for the high-flying Huskies, however, it took them a while to find their offensive rhythm. It wasn’t until a dominating third quarter that saw the Huskies outscore Regina 31-15 that allowed head coach Barry Rawlyk and company to breathe easy. Again, led by the offensive attack of Jamelle Barrett with 30 points and Rejean Chabot with 24 points, the Huskies ran away with a 92-75 win. Michael Lieffers was big on the boards with 10 rebounds.
So now the Huskies find themselves in familiar territory, joining UBC, Alberta and Trinity Western in the Final Four. The Dogs will take their No. 3 ranking in the country to Vancouver, just like they did last year when they won the Canada West title. There are two tickets to the CIS championship on the line for the top two of four teams.
A win on March 4 against Trinity Western University and the Huskies are headed back to the championships. A loss means they’ll be homeward bound. In their only two meetings this season the Huskies and Trinity Western split their games with their last encounter being an impressive Huskies win 101-93.
And what about Jockims? What does he think of his former team’s chances?
“The biggest thing is that there are still a lot of guys on this team that know how to win,” said Jockims. “Sure, they can win it all again.”