THUNDER BAY – Sports – The Valentine’s Day weekend heralds the end of the regular season in OUA basketball, as the women’s and men’s teams will play host to the Guelph Gryphons.
Valentine or not, here’s no love lost between the Gryphons and Thunderwolves, especially on the women’s side, which saw the Gryphons edge out the ‘Wolves the past two seasons for the final playoff spot in the OUA West.
Game times are slated for Friday and Saturday night, women at 6pm, men at 8pm. Saturday night’s game will feature presentations to 4th and 5th year seniors.
Women (10-10, 5th OUA West)
While the Lakehead women are guaranteed a playoff berth this year, they are taking nothing lightly this weekend against Guelph (7-13).
Coming off a signature victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks, Lakehead is proving themselves to be among the best defensive teams in the OUA. Their defense will look to disrupt Guelph forward Katherine MacTavish, who enters the weekend averaging 18.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
Coach Jon Kreiner states, “We are fortunate that this weekend won’t have bearing on making playoffs but there are still a few things to figure out and we need to be playing more consistent on back-to-back nights. Two wins this weekend will guarantee us 5th and will also give us the confidence to know we can play on any night. Guelph is a very good team. They can score in many ways and their strengths are getting to the free throw line and rebounding. We will need to execute a smart game plan defensively and continue to move the ball on offence.’
Kreiner continues, “Saturday’s game will be the last regular season game for Ayse Kalkan, Kelsey Bardsley, Ashley Randall, Lindsay Inkila and Jessica de Haan. We hope to see our fans out to support them and our team as they prepare for the playoffs.”
Men (7-13, 5th OUA West)
There is much to be determined in the OUA West playoff picture, with 3 games separating 3rd and 6th place. Lakehead can guarantee themselves the 5th seed with one win this weekend.
The Guelph men’s team (6-14) hasn’t beaten Lakehead in the Thunderdome since sweeping the ‘Wolves in the 2008-09 season. With new rosters (and coaches) at the helm for this matchup, it promises to be a hard-fought battle to determine playoff seeding.
Zach Angus is the Gryphons’ leading scorer with 12.8pts/game this season, but leads a team that spreads the scoring and playing time among the whole team, with no player playing more than 30 minutes/game. Such a challenge could prove to be a grinding 80 minute match up for Lakehead’s 12 Thunderwolves.
Coach Matt Erdman says, “Guelph is always a tough match up for us. They are an extremely physical team with a number of guys that can hurt you off the bounce and from beyond 3. Hopefully this weekend is a way for our guys to build some confidence going into playoffs.”
Players on the men’s team being honored in Saturday’s Senior Night presentations include Nathan Wainwright, Dwayne Harvey, Anthony McIntosh and Justin Bell.