Briercrest remains first in the Nation after defeating Kings
By Mitch Ferreira
In a battle of the top two ACAC teams and the first and third ranked in the nation, the Briercrest Clippers fought hard to pull off a 95-90 win over the Red Deer Kings.
The home side Clippers came out slow in the first half, falling to a ten-point deficit early on in the game. During the frame, Briercrest struggled to assert themselves in the paint, giving up costly offensive rebounds to the determined Kings. Burnaby South Secondary Alumni Ashaunti Hogan of the visiting Kings had an incredible first half, draining multiple threes and forcing turnovers. Clipper Nation, who turned up in force at the Hangar for tonight’s matchup, was quiet in the half as they witnessed what rookie Lucas Mannes admit to as “their worst half of the season.” Yet despite their tough go in the first half, Briercrest entered the third quarter only down by nine, to a score of 45-36.
It was in the second half that Briercrest showed why they are currently ranked number one in CCAA men’s basketball rankings. Relying on their veteran core of Gradyn Childerhose, Matt Myers and Kendell Boese, Briercrest battled through the half, eliminating the Kings lead on a Caleb Klassen basket with 4:04 left in the game. This brought the uncharacteristically quiet Briercrest fans to life, which they remained till the end. Until that point in the game, the Clippers had not led. What proved to be the greatest strength for Briercrest was their production off the bench (35 points), with Mannes (20 points, 4-8 three-pointers) and Sacoman (13 points, 3-3 three-pointers) hitting clutch threes. The third quarter was highlighted by back-to-back threes by the returning Sacoman and a huge block from captain Matt Myers (five blocks on the night). After a difficult first half, Gradyn Childerhose had an excellent showing in the second, earning the night’s player of the game. Childerhose managed to fight through tight coverage down low to come up with some big buckets and rebounds, finishing with the double-double. At the end, Briercrest pulled ahead, riding a five-point lead to victory, much to the joy of the home town crowd.
Coach Rod Adrian was proud of how his team handled the adversity in the game.
“Moving to 14-1 on the season with a great win tonight,” Adrian said, “We worked through some adversity against a hot-shooting Red Deer College, we came from behind with relentless defense and our own brand of hot shooting with a break-out game by Christian Sacoman who was 5-for-5 from the field including three shots from behind the arc (13 points). Despite a slow shooting night for Kendell Boese and Matt Myers they were solid on the defensive end and Kendell had three crucial steals and Matt had 10 defensive rebounds to go along with his eight assists, and five huge blocks. Caleb Klassen had a solid game pushing the pace and ended with 11 points, five rebounds, and six assists. As a team we had 23 turnovers, but limited their scoring in the second half and had 1.1 points per possession. In the fourth quarter we scored 31 points to seal the win.”
Players of the game were two of the top basketball players in CCAA, the second ranked rebounder in the nation Robert Pierce for the Kings (16 points, 23 rebounds, four steals and three assists) and the second ranked scorer Gradyn Childerhose for the Clippers (24 points, 14 rebounds, one block, one steal).
Game notes: Briercrest was outshot 93-81 by the Kings, making 43% of their shots to 36.6% of the Kings. From outside the arc, both teams shot 25 times, with Red Deer edging Briercrest by one, hitting nine of their attempts (Briercrest made 32% to 36% for Red Deer). Rebounds favoured Red Deer 60-49, as well as turnovers, committing 22 turnovers to Briercrest’s 23. The Clippers led in assists 19-17 and blocks 7-0. Both teams amassed 11 steals. Game leaders for Briercrest were Gradyn Childerhose (24 points, 14 rebounds), Matt Myers (eight assists, five blocks), and Kenny Boese (three steals).
Briercrest’s hosts Red Deer again tomorrow at 3:00pm at the Margaret P. Reimer Memorial Gymnasium in Caronport. If you cannot make it to the game be sure to follow online at SportsCanada.tv or like Briercrest Basketball on Facebook.