Hoopsters shock fans with wins

By Kevin Rothbauer

Everything is so normal in the NBA, it’s unusual. It’s like the status quo squared. Members of the Mavericks front office have been fined. Latrell Sprewell is whining. The Lakers-Kings rivalry has escalated to fisticuffs. And the season hasn’t even begun.

In the world of Dinos basketball, the season also has yet to begin. However, everything is anything but normal. The men’s team has two tournament victories to its name, and the women’s team is in fine form and showing constant improvement with one tournament victory to its name. Hell, Whit Hornsberger is showing signs of being a “team player.”

Two weeks ago, in a tournament at McGill University, Hornsberger put together double-doubles of points and assists in each of the Dinos’ three games and was named a tournament all-star. Teammate John Riad scored 89 points over the course of the tourney and was named MVP.

The Dinos beat playoff contenders Toronto 90-89, McGill 93-87, and Acadia 81-64.

“It was an interesting test for us,” said men’s Head Coach Dan Vanhooren. “We played pretty well against Toronto, although we were shaky at times. We played a very strong level of basketball against McGill. And we elevated our play again–against Acadia.” The Dinos continued their storm across the nation at the University of Saskatchewan last weekend, beating Memorial University of Newfoundland 88-64, Brandon 101-91, and the U of S 82-79.

“We still have a lot to work on,” Vanhooren admitted. “Like twisting the dagger when we get teams down.”

Aman Heran was named MVP of the tournament, making a good impression on his new teammates. Although Heran is a rookie, he brings a wealth of experience, having played at De Anza College and Eastern Oregon University.

Word of the men’s team’s success had travelled as far as the office of women’s Head Coach Shawnee Harle.

“I think they’ve won more games in the pre-season this year than they did in the regular season last year,” Harle quipped.

Harle’s own team has put together an impressive exhibition record of their own. At the University of Alberta Hoopfest two weeks ago, the Dinos lost the opener 68-63 to the

U of A before putting together an 86-53 victory over Prince Edward Island and a 72-61 victory over Victoria. Jessica Foltinek captured MVP honours and Anna Bekkering joined her as a tournament all-star.

At Brandon this weekend, the Dinos lost 81-71 to Winnipeg, beat the hosts 69-49, then lost 75-71 to Manitoba in overtime. Tanya Hautala, who scored a career-high 20 points in the first game, was named a tournament all-star.

“The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was that we were without two starters Shari Jonker and Julie Smulders. But it provided some great opportunities for other players to shine.”

The women’s team is taking this weekend off, while the men’s team is hosting Simon Fraser University in a one-game showdown on Saturday night. Both teams begin the regular season on Nov. 8 in Brandon.

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