In the final episode of last year's basketball season, faithful fans of the Dinos men's team rode both high and low as hopes were bolstered, then dashed, with the team's final defeat at the hands of the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Most believed the deciding match had been poorly officiated, and wondered bitterly when the Dinos would get another chance to prove their worth as competitors in league playoffs. After all, it had been ten years since the University of Calgary had even hosted a playoff basketball game.
Sat., Oct. 5 saw the Dinos defeat the Akron Wingfoots 100-90 at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium in the first exhibition play of the season--hopefully a precedent for the coming months. It was a close game, as the score was evened early in the second half after the Dinos finished the first 20 minutes leading by only four points. By the final minutes, however, the gap had widened and Calgary emerged victorious.
Head Coach Dan Vanhooren was pleased with the night's results.
"The team put in some hard work over the summer," he said. "It's a good group this year."
Key returning players like fifth-years Aman Heran and John Riad and leading scorers Chris Wright and Whit Hornsberger will continue to contribute to an even stronger leadership core, but as new players showed on the weekend, there is even greater cause for Vanhoooren to be confident. Rookies Dean Pedersen and Lindsay Thouret both played Saturday night, with Pedersen scoring four points and demonstrating impressive confidence on the floor for a first-year player. Third-year transfer Rick Brar also scored seven points, another promising addition to the team.
Vanhooren declined to note any precise goals for the year so early on, but was optimistic about the general direction of the season. With the combined strength of returning starters, strong supporting players and the potential of newcomers, he has every reason to set his sights high.
Fans can check out the new team for themselves November 21-22 at the Jack Simpson when they host the University of Alberta Golden Bears in the first re-match since last year's playoff debacle.