Tuesday, March 11, 2008

T-Wolves Heading to Halifax

Photo: T-Wolves Square Off Against Camosun in the Opening Tip-Off

by Andrew Bailey
Sports & Clubs Editor

The UNBC T-Wolves are the Champions of the world. Well, at least the champions of the best part of the world, British Columbia, as they defeated the Camosun College Chargers 71-54 in the BCCAA Provincial gold medal game on Saturday. They will now head to Halifax to represent UNBC in the BCCAA National tournament. The gold medal game was intensely exciting and was played in front of a huge crowd. Without an empty seat in the house many fans were left with standing room only but it was well worth the strain on legs as the T-Wolves provided their fans with one last tremendously memorable performance on their home court this season.
“Coach of the Year” recipient Brett Westcott is a prat who absolutely 100% did not deserve the award. Throughout the game, whether his team was winning or losing, Westcott continuously lost his temper and acted extremely inappropriately and childish. His outrageous behaviour included an embarrassingly red faced rant just 4 minutes into the game into the face of a referee as well as singling out his own players violently pointing his finger in their faces while yelling at them, including a long rant to Charger Post Jill Proudfoot, as she looked away from his face in embarrassment. At one point during the first quarter Charger forward Carmen Lapthorne signaled at her own coach to sit down and relax, not exactly an inspiring moment.
Loralyn Murdoch, on the other hand, was extremely influential and motivating to her T-Wolf players, pacing up and down the bench keeping their intensity and determination high with quick pep talks and keeping a positive attitude among her team. Murdoch was also extremely calm and composed with the referees despite many obvious blown calls during the game, which caused the fans to lose their tempers and boo the refs harshly on many occasions. Murdoch’s positive coaching style proved to be sufficiently more effective that Westcott’s foolishness as the T-Wolfs outpaced and outplayed the Charger women throughout most of the game.
Camosun did have a strong first-half carried by the impressive play of forward Ashley MacKay who was huge in the paint and constantly successful flushing baskets from around 8 feet out. Charger point-guard Kate Carlson seemed to realize this, as she fed MacKay to the max, usually completely ignoring the other three Chargers on the court. Camosun center Carmen Lapthorne did manage to get rare rocks dished to her however, scoring five points in the last thirty seconds of the first quarter by nailing a three-pointer from well beyond the arch and hitting an eleven footer to close off the quarter with the Chargers up by 3.The 2nd quarter saw the same Carlson to MacKay combo remain effective, as Camosun would lead by 2 at the end of the half.
The T-Wolves played a much more team oriented first-half than their opponents. Kady Dandeneau played with her usual Edmund Hillary-like courageousness under the basket causing her to draw a lot of fouls, making use of her meticulously well-polished skills from the free throw line. Lindsay Anderson was incredibly thrilling to watch as she was possessed with an overwhelming drive to win the provincial championship game throwing overhand cross-court Favre like passes and hitting 3 pointers with amazing precision. Jaclyn Nazareno’s leadership and play calling abilities, which she brought to every game this season, was again a huge factor as she played unconsciously well and lead the team with enthusiastic play, highlighted by a tremendous shot clock beater from well beyond the three-point line in the second quarter. Nazareno’s play was also highlighted by a fake pass glide to the lay- in basket, which was so smooth your grandma would wish she could spread it on toast. Nazareno was almost able to tie the game before the close of the half but her buzzer-beater shot rolled around the rim and fell the wrong way, bringing the hearts of T-Wolf fans with it, and the half closed out 39-37.
Now I don’t want to pull the hammy of the whole coaching issue, but if Westcott said anything inspirational to his team at half time his players either did not hear it or just completely ignored his words, as they played the second half with the intensity and desire of a closeted homosexual banging his “just for show” wife. The Chargers were outscored by nineteen points in the second half by Loralyn Murdoch’s inspired UNBC Timberwolves, who ruthlessly hammered the importance of teamwork into the heads of the Charger women.
Ashley MacKay, trying to continue where she left off in the first half, cooled down greatly in the second half largely due to the tighter defense surrounding her, especially from Jaclyn Nazareno who guarding her with, what CBC Hockey analyst Pierre McGuire would describe as, incredibly “active legs,” caused Mackay to travel early in the third quarter. Down by only one point after a three point grate of the cheese from Laurel Wallace, Theresa Smith went up hard and secured a hugely aggressive offensive rebound dishing the ball off to Carlye Hicks who easily put it through the net giving UNBC the lead by one. Another basket by Hicks followed by a huge steal and basket by Laurel Wallace, on the inbound pass, put UNBC up by five points and caused Westcott to panic and call a Camosun timeout to try to stop the Timberwolf momentum. The crowd rose to their feet to give the UNBC Timberwolves a standing ovation as they went to their bench during Camosun’s timeout and it seemed that no one sat down again until the end of the game. The time-out stopped nothing as Lindsay Anderson put in a great effort and found an open lane charging through for the lay-up on the post-timeout possession. With MacKay continuing to struggle and the Chargers with no chance of scoring without their one offensive threat, the Camosun players began falling deeper and deeper into despair and became visibly frustrated, receiving no rallying motivation from their coach who spent the entire game, it seemed, slouched in his chair with arms and legs folded unless yelling viciously at his players.
Adding to the Charger’s scoring frustrations was the incredible defensive abilities of Laurel Wallace and Lindsay Anderson who both had amazing offensive games as well. Anderson’s defensive talents were on display as she saw teammate Nazareno had lost containment on Charger Guard Kate Carlson and came in to help by laying down a huge prime time Sharapova smash rejection on a perplexed Carlson. Wallace also wowed the crowd with a huge rejection when she rode the glass elevator to the ceiling smacking down a shot by the monstrous 5’11” Charger forward Carmen Lapthorne.
T-Wolf freshman Chelsea McMullen played with tremendous tenacity in her first ever BCAA Provincial Championship game, out-hustling every Charger on the court all quarter, and coming up with a huge steal in the third which lead to a beauty finger roll as the T-Wolves began running away with the game with the score at 55-41. McMullen’s tenacity and hustle eventually caught up with her as she was forced to the Accelerated Sport and Spine physiotherapy tent to receive treatment. She would come back late in the fourth quarter, however, with no sign of fatigue getting another steal after which she drew a hard foul and fell to the floor only to bounce back up again showing incredible toughness with no sign of pain. Fellow freshman teammate Kady Dandeneau also played a terrific game and raised the eyebrow of every spectator in attendance with an amazing show of athleticism as being checked to the floor Dandeneau somehow never stopped dribbling while getting up and charged down court. I have never seen anything like it in my entire life, and neither have you.
It was amazing to see the crowd so intensely into the game, even when it became obvious the T-Wolves would be the champions, going ballistic at every basket and booing every bad call. When the final buzzer was heard, with Kady Dandeneau holding the ball and the scoreboard reading 71-54 Timberwolves, the crowd went absolutely nuts. The T-Wolf players themselves were not outmatched in excitement as they flew into each other’s arms celebrating as champions. Lindsay Anderson was named the player of the game, while Laurel Wallace was named the tournament MVP. They will not be celebrating too hard yet, however, as they now move on to the BCCAA National Championships in Halifax from March 14th to 16th. There they will undoubtedly dominate the rest of the field bringing the trophy back with them to the North of British Columbia. Go T-Wolves! Now show some school spirit and give your best Spirit Fingers immediately after reading this article, seriously.

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