Lakehead Thunderwolves Basketball Second in Canada

Lakehead Thunderwolves
Lakehead Thunderwolves - Quinn Spyrka Photo

Lakehead Thunderwolves Basketball Windsor LancersKANATA, ON – The Lakehead Thunderwolves had few answers for a Carleton Ravens’ team that continued to do what they have done with robotic efficiency over the past decade. With a stifling defense and a near impeccable offense, Carleton ran Lakehead out of Scotiabank Place, winning 92-42, and capturing their record 9th CIS title. 

There was little question of the Ravens’ potency right from the hop, running and gunning out to an 11-0 lead. Matthew Schmidt (Thunder Bay, ON) hit back-to-back threes to give the T-Wolves a lift, although they still trailed 16-6. Joseph Nitychoruk got Lakehead’s next basket with a jumper to keep the T-Wolves’ pulse alive, the 1st quarter ending with the Ravens up 18-8. 

Lakehead Thunderwolves Basketball Second in Canada

The same trend continued through the second quarter, with the Ravens leading 40-19 at the break. 

In the second half, the Thunderwolves were hapless against a Ravens team that didn’t stop attacking, and a coach that didn’t stop excoriating his players, no matter how big their lead got.  

CIS Coach of the Year Dave Smart stresses being competitive no matter what the score. At the beginning of the tournament in a casual meeting Smart pondered rhetorically out loud, “Who would win a basketball game with no clock, a game to infinity?” The notion certainly typifies the effort he expects from his players any time they step on the court, whether it be a scrimmage in July or the CIS Championship game in March. 

Smart’s players lived up to his expectations, and the 40 minutes that Lakehead got to battle them went from bad to worse in the second half, as the Ravens removed all doubt in the third quarter, out-scoring Lakehead 26-9, thus rendering the fourth quarter a moot point. That being said, both benches battled hard to the bitter end, with Carleton winning the 4th quarter 26-14.  

The Ravens’ bench out-scored Lakehead’s 33-21 on the game.  

Dwayne Harvey (Hamilton, ON) led the ‘Pack with 10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. Joe Hart was next with 7 points (2-10 FG), while Matt Schmidt scored the duo of opening three pointers to finish with 6 points (2-4 FG) and 2 rebounds in 11 minutes played in his final game as a Thunderwolf. 

Greg Carter, who was nursing a semi-dislocated shoulder he suffered under a dog pile of Gee-Gees the night prior (on a play he was called for a foul), was held scoreless in 19 minutes of play. Pictou, N.S. gunner Ben Johnson’s sights were off, hitting only 1-of-8 from the field for a 4 point, 2 assist total. Brendan King added 5 points. 

Joseph Jones, while only scoring 3 points with 2 rebounds and 2 assists, was still named as a Championship All-Star for his efforts over the weekend. 

Carleton had 5 players reach double digits, led by Player of the Game and Championship MVP Thomas Scrubb with 17 points (7-12 FG) with 8 rebounds, followed by his brother Philip with 15 points (4-6 3FG), 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Tyson Hinz scored 11 points with 8 rebounds. Clinton Springer-Williams kicked in 13 points with 5 rebounds. Box Score 

Carleton out-rebounded Lakehead 57-41, and shot 45% from the field, 58% from three, and 79% from the stripe. Lakehead’s numbers meanwhile were a paltry 15-61 (25%) FG, 6-31(19%) 3FG and 6-17 (35%) FT. 

Coach Scott Morrison stated, “Regarding today’s game it was clear that Carleton came out intent on winning the game on the glass. Between their rebounding and timely outside shooting they were on a mission. I asked our guys to leave everything on the floor today and they did just that. We had nothing left in the tank and while we fell short today, in the process we again made history for our school. This group of seniors has helped elevate the program from the literal bottom of the heap to the silver medal – their accomplishments will be applauded for years to come. Now it is up to us coaches and our returning players to get to work and try to get this team over the final hump.”

This was Lakehead’s first Canadian Championship game since 1977 (which also ended in a Silver medal), and their 4th straight trip to the CIS Final 8 tournament. Lakehead also won Silver in their inaugural year in the CIS (then CIAU), in the 1973 Championship. 

Today’s game was the final one for 6 graduating Thunderwolves: Matthew Schmidt, Joseph Jones, Brendan King, Greg Carter, Yoosrie Salhia and Ben Johnson.