University of Fraser Valley Cascades took down the TWU Spartans in overtime on the basketball court at Langley Events Centre Thursday night. (TWU/Special to Langley Advance Times)

University of Fraser Valley Cascades took down the TWU Spartans in overtime on the basketball court at Langley Events Centre Thursday night. (TWU/Special to Langley Advance Times)

After defeats Thursday, Langley Spartans prepare to battle Wolfpacks

In both men’s and women’s play at Langley Events Centre, TWU’s basketball teams fell to UFV Cascades

Trinity Western University’s men’s Spartans basketball team fell 99-95 to Fraser Valley in a thrilling overtime bout at the Langley Events Centre on Thursday.

The Spartans (0-7) forced the game into overtime late, cutting UFV’s (4-3) substantial lead in the fourth quarter.

Zubair Seyed headlined UFV’s night, scoring 27 points while adding 10 rebounds. Seyed iced the game for the Cascades late, hitting a 3-pointer to plunge the final nail into the coffin.

Ja’Qualyn Gilbreath (Amarillo, Texas) was outstanding once again, scoring 38 points while grabbing 12 rebounds. Mason Bourcier (Kelowna) was also a major standout for the Spartans, hitting the game-tying basket, scoring 23 points while totalling 11 rebounds and seven assists as well.

AS IT HAPPENED

After both teams traded 2-point buckets to start the game, the Spartans exploded with a 12-point orchestrated by Bourcier’s speedy offence run to push the game to 14-2 in favour of the home side.

Although the Cascades were caught on their heels to start the game, UFV rode Seyed’s wave, scoring 11 points on four of five shooting to bring the cross-town rival back into the game. The quarter ended at a 19-15 line in favour of the Spartans.

The second quarter started with the Spartans regaining control, riding Gilbreath’s offensive stardom.

TWU’s lead grew to 11 points by the midway point of the quarter.

When they were in what head coach Trevor Pridie called attack mode, he said they were good.

“We lost our pace for a bit, so our offence got stagnant for a while. Zubair had an outstanding game. He came off the bench when we were pulling away and changed the game. The free-throw line killed us. We went 50 per cent from the line. We didn’t have many turnovers, but we made costly ones on two-on-ones and other situations where we shouldn’t be turning the ball over,” noted the head coach.

Yet again, the Cascades refused to bow to the home side, moving to a 10-point run of their own to whittle TWU’s lead down to one point by the end of the first half.

The early stages of the third quarter belonged to the Cascades as the visitors did well to disrupt any sort of offensive flow generated by the Spartans.

As a result, UFV claimed a 46-41 lead halfway through the quarter.

UFV’s defensive efforts were strong throughout the entire quarter as Kyle Claggett, Dario Lopez, and Seyed set a gritty tone for the match.

Although the Spartans showed flashes of life, one of which being an and-one bucket by Gilbreath, the quarter continued to tilt in favour of the Cascades as they claimed a substantial 61-49 lead of their own.

“The guys battled,” said Pridie.

“They fought back after a bad third quarter, but we need to find a way to play our game for 40 minutes so we can give ourselves a chance to win every game. Sam [Dyck] also played well in his limited minutes. We have a lot of adversity to face this weekend with a lot of hurt guys, and others coming off being sick, so we have to bear down for these next two.”

The final quarter of play saw the Spartans come out with all they had to give.

Bourcier darted around the court, giving way for Sam Dyck (Almonte, Ont.) to hit a timely 3-pointer.

On the other end, Claggett put on a beautiful spin move to draw a momentum-killing and-one.

Although the game still remained in UFV’s hands, the Spartans bumped up the pace of the game as Vlad Mihaila (Surrey) hit two timely 3-pointers to bring the Spartans to a seven-point deficit.

As the offence seemed to sort itself out for the Spartans, the Cascades started to move the ball incredibly well to slow down the pace of the game while getting easy buckets.

With the final two minutes bearing a seven-point lead for the Cascades, a timeout called by TWU head coach Trevor Pridie lit a fire under the Spartans.

With all five Spartans making massive contributions on the court, Bourcier hit a layup to tie the game with 18 seconds remaining.

With an opportunity to win it, Andrew Goertzen blocked a layup with three seconds remaining.

After the block, the ball found its way into the hands of Tre Fillmore. Fillmore rushed the ball up the court, finding Gilbreath a couple feet past the half-court line.

Gilbreath rose up, shot the ball, and sunk it.

Although the Langley Events Centre (LEC) seemed convinced that the game was over, referees convened to disallow the basket, extending the wild finish that this game had brought to the LEC.

Although the fourth quarter was filled with wild moments, overtime was far more composed.

As both teams traded leads, it was Seyed, who scored a team-high of 27 points for the Cascades, who iced the game with a 3-pointer to put the Cascades up by three with 23.7 seconds remaining.

Gilbreath, who tied his career-high of 38 points on Thursday, came back with an effort to tie it up, but the ball clanged off the back-rim as the Cascades corralled the rebound, forcing the Spartans to foul.

This was Gilbreath’s second consecutive performance with 30+ points scored.

The game rolled to a close as Seyed and Claggett hit all of their free throws.

UP NEXT

Spartans now host Thompson Rivers University in back-to-back games at the LEC, tonight (Friday) at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, the women’s team also played Thursday.

In a battle between the top two teams in the division the Fraser Valley Cascades made a statement with a 23 points, 70-47, victory over the Spartans last night at LEC.

The loss drops the Spartans to 8-1 and stops their program best eight game winning streak at eight games, while the victory improves the Cascades to 8-1 and moves them into top spot of the West division of Canada West.

Jolene Vlieg (Leduc, Alta.) with eight points and 11 rebounds, and Nicole Fransson (Edmonton) with nine points and seven rebounds led the Spartans in the loss. While Deanna Tuchscherer (Chilliwack) with 18 points and six rebounds, Alexis Worrell (Liberia, Costa Rica) with 17 points, and Maddy Gobeil (Kamloops) with 15 points led the Cascades.

AS IT HAPPENED

It was a slow start to the game for both teams as five minutes into the contest the two squads were tied 2-2. The offence opened up over the second five minutes which saw UFV end the opening quarter with five point lead, 15-10.

The Cascades continued to be strong to start the second quarter as they extended their lead to nine points, 25-16, four minutes into the quarter.

The Cascades continued to have the advantage of the remainder of the quarter as UFV went into the break with a 13 point lead, 37-24.

TWU struggled finding the bottom of the basket in the third quarter.

The mental side of the game is half the battle, said TWU head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul.

“It’s not necessarily about missing shots, and we did miss shots, but it is about how does it impact who you are as a defender and how does it impact the next offensive scoring play and the offensive looks that you are going for,” she said.

The Spartans finished the half shooting 14.2 per cent (2-14) from the field in the third quarter, while the Cascades shot 42.8 per cent (6-14) as Fraser Valley headed into the final 10 minutes with a 24 point, 54-30 lead.

In final quarter the Cascades expand their lead to 30 points, 60-30, before TWU closed the gap with a 17-10 run over the final eight minutes to make the final score 70-47 for UFV.

“I think we became very stagnant,” said the coach.

“We went back to a lot of bad habits that we have been working out in the first half of the season, so I think we just need to go back to some of the things that gave us success in the first semester. Better movement, better off ball movement, better screening off the ball. Being more assertive in what we are trying to accomplish. I’m looking forward to making some adjustments and seeing what we look like next time. We do get them back and we want to be a better version of ourselves next time we play them.”

The Spartans have now lost three consecutive games against the Cascades. TWU’s last win against UFV was February 2019.

UP NEXT

The Spartans have an off day today (Friday) before hosting the Thompson Rivers WolfPack on Saturday afternoon. Game time at the Langley Events Centre is set for 3 p.m.

The game can be seen live on Canadawest.tv.

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University of Fraser Valley Cascades took down the TWU Spartans in overtime on the basketball court at Langley Events Centre Thursday night. (TWU/Special to Langley Advance Times)

University of Fraser Valley Cascades took down the TWU Spartans in overtime on the basketball court at Langley Events Centre Thursday night. (TWU/Special to Langley Advance Times)

University of Fraser Valley Cascades took down the TWU Spartans in overtime on the basketball court at Langley Events Centre Thursday night. (TWU/Special to Langley Advance Times)

University of Fraser Valley Cascades took down the TWU Spartans in overtime on the basketball court at Langley Events Centre Thursday night. (TWU/Special to Langley Advance Times)

University of Fraser Valley Cascades took down the TWU Spartans in overtime on the basketball court at Langley Events Centre Thursday night. (TWU/Special to Langley Advance Times)

University of Fraser Valley Cascades took down the TWU Spartans in overtime on the basketball court at Langley Events Centre Thursday night. (TWU/Special to Langley Advance Times)