It was raining on the East coast Oct. 14-16. But this time, it rained tears as the Dinos men's basketball team shipped off to show Nova Scotia that Western Canada will not be alienated.
What started off as a weekend to get away and strengthen the team, twisted like the plot of Hoosiers--minus a disgruntled Gene Hackman.
The Dinos faced the top-10 Cape Breton University Capers with gale force on Friday, coming back after trailing at the half to lead by three. However, the big-shooting Capers took the close game in the end, 81-77. Assistant Coach Wayne Thomas attributes the loss to poor free-throw attempts and bad timing.
"Plagued with injuries, the Dinos [had] nine players travelling on this exhibition series," he added. "Josh Feist, Whit Hornsberger and Sonny Khangura did not make the trip."
Pushing past the loss, our men conquered the St. Mary's University Huskies with an 85-77 win on Saturday. They played a determined and driven game that set the bar for the weekend's final game.
Despite trailing the Acadia University Axemen by six points at the half on Sunday, the Dinos cleaned themselves up. Ross Bekkering lit it up in the last two minutes of the game, scoring seven points and blocking a significant shot. All eyes were on his huge three-point shot at the buzzer--the one that pulled the Dinos ahead 89-88.
"The ball ended up in my hands," recalled Bekkering, "I shot it and was pretty happy when it went in."
The newcomer is pleased with his Dinos experience so far.
"It's a big change from high school; a lot more aggressive. But, overall, it's been a good experience and, for my first pre-season, I had a lot of fun."
Another big scorer was veteran Chris Wright, who had a 62-point weekend and multiple rebounds. Fellow forward Brian Finniss wound up St. Mary's with 20 points and six rebounds, then conquered Acadia with 15 points. Cody Darrah out-matched opposing guards, adding 39 points to the Dinos' grand total.
"The ball fell pretty well this weekend," Darrah rhymed. "Everyone played really hard. We played a good game."
Yet even after such a good showing, the team remains focused on what needs to be sharper. Turnovers and defense are two areas that could use improvement according to 6ïž´6ï›¸ Robbie "The Chief" Sihota, who started the Dinos off strong against the Capers with 14 points.
After some fine-tuning, the men head back east to Ontario Oct. 21-22 to take on the Brock University Badgers and the McMaster University Marauders for more pre-season education.