By Lethbridge Herald on February 18, 2020.
There’s never a bad time to take a game off the number-one ranked team in the country.
Still, the Lethbridge College Kodiaks women’s basketball team couldn’t have picked a better time to pull off such a feat.
The Kodiaks edged the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association top-ranked Olds Broncos 64-63 in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference play Friday night at the Val Matteotti Gymnasium in a wild finish.
The Broncos scored some payback in Saturday afternoon’s rematch with a 63-54 win, but as the Kodiaks fight for a playoff spot heading into their final weekend, Friday’s win was a monstrous pair of points.
The Kodiaks move to 10-9 and into third place in the ACAC South Division, four points up on the Red Deer Queens (8-9), who have two games in hand on the Kodiaks, but play the second place St. Mary’s Lightning (13-5) on the final weekend.
The 9-10 Medicine Hat Rattlers are in the fourth-and-final playoff spot, but get an automatic berth as this year’s ACAC Championship hosts.
Which makes Friday’s win over the 16-2 Broncos that much more important.
“The win helps us Friday night so that we only need Red Deer to lose one of their next four rather than having them lose two,” said Kodiaks head coach Deanna Simpson, whose team will wrap up the regular season in Caronport, Sask this weekend against the Briercrest Clippers. “So they’ve got Ambrose and St. Mary’s left, so we can go take two and Briercrest, which I think is possible for us if we play the way we did Saturday, it’s going to be tough to beat us. That way, we only need Red Deer to have one loss. That’s why the win Friday was so big, it takes away the pressure of having to rely so much on other people.”
On the men’s side, the Kodiaks tacked on two more wins, defeating the Broncos 128-67 Friday and 89-73 Saturday to sit at 18-1.
In the women’s game Friday, a Matlin McMurray layup with three seconds left was enough to give the Kodiaks the one-point win.
“We were struggling to shoot and kind of went cold for the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, but we were continuing to defend,” said Simpson. :We were up 62-61 with maybe 12 seconds left, going back-and-forth. They came down called a timeout, took it out of bounds and ran a mid-line jumper that put them up by one. We called a timeout and drew up the play. Millay (Johnson) made a perfect pass to Matlin for the layup. We executed and did what we were supposed to and got the shot off.”
However, the Broncos didn’t hit the road empty-handed with Saturday afternoon’s win.
“They are a team that’s going to stick with their bread and butter and what works for them,” said Simpson. “We saw their two-three and their aggressiveness, but it something they do all the time. I was surprised they didn’t press us today at all and I think that’s a testament to how fast we ran the game yesterday and the pace we want to play at that got them more tired than normal. When they were trying to press us Friday we were able to break through it and they had to play catch-up. We talked about being prepared for their comeback. They are number-one in the country for a reason, they’re a good team and they’ve got good players who step up and play their roles and you have to expect to get everybody’s best whenever they come out.”
Emily Greeno led the Kodiaks Saturday afternoon with 13 points and Natalie Hoyt had 10.
McMurray grabbed 17 rebounds and added seven assists.
“Win or lose, we talked about coming out this weekend and playing hard and playing together as a team and that’s how we’re going to win games,” said Simpson. “So to get a split is just the cherry on top. I think it just continues to prove to the girls that if you follow the game plan and you come in and work hard and keep going even after you make mistakes it shows in anything can happen. If you show up and compete for 40 minutes the result could be anything. To go from a team that we lost two by 51 points in the first half to beating them by one and losing by nine, there were a couple of different things where a few shots go down for us (Saturday) it could be a different game.”
On Friday, Hoyt scored 18 points and Greeno hit for 14.
Kirsten Barwegen had 16 rebounds.
On Saturday, all five Kodiaks men’s starters hit double digits, led by Chris Thomson’s 17-point outing.
Brock Dewsbery added 16 points, Jaxon Davison had 14, Jackson Kasko drained 12 and Chase Bohne put up 11.
Dewsbery added 11 rebounds to complete the double-double. He also had six assists, as did Kasko.
In Friday’ high-scoring win, Dewsbery led the way with 23 points and Dyson Surmik came off the bench to score 16. Thomson also scored 16 points and Davison and Trey Bohne — also off the bench — scored 14 each. Thomson also grabbed 10 rebounds and had eight assists to narrowly miss the triple-double.
Chase Bohne and Jett Stef had 10 points each. Chase had seven assists.
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