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VIU’s basketball teams finish first half of season in first place

Mariners men and women conclude PacWest semester with road wins
VIU Mariners player Richard Henderson heads for the basket versus the Langara Falcons during the final PacWest home game of the semester Nov. 26 at the Vancouver Island University gym. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Vancouver Island University’s basketball teams are heading into the holidays atop the PacWest standings.

VIU’s hoops teams concluded the fall semester with road wins against the Columbia Bible College Bearcat on Friday, Dec. 2, with the women dominating 90-37 and the men prevailing 81-65.

In women’s action, Harriette Mackenzie led the way with 26 points and 12 rebounds, C.J. Buckley had 15 points, Kayla Gregory added 13 and Kiayra Hohlweg scored 12.

In the men’s game, Richard Henderson scored a game-high 24 points, Peter Li scored 18 and Kai Leighton contributed 16 points.

The VIU men go into the break undefeated at 6-0, while the VIU women find themselves tied for first place at 5-1.

Matt Kuzminski, VIU men’s coach, said when his team shows energy, enthusiasm and life on the defensive end of the court, it translates to offence and allows the Mariners to play the style of basketball that makes them successful.

“The challenge goes to all of us to bring that energy, but especially our leadership group,” the coach said.

Henderson said following the team’s final home game of the semester that the team can draw from experience and know when “it’s go time” in close games. He said communication and high energy improve the team’s defence, and extends to the team’s play at all areas of the court.

Henderson said he’s “very happy” with where the Mariners are at for this point in the season.

“I feel like the starters are doing well and people off the bench are bringing us a lot of big-time points and minutes and they’re doing everything the right way,” he said.

GAME ON … The Pacific Western Athletic Association season doesn’t resume until Jan. 13, but the Mariners men have three home exhibitions scheduled after Christmas as they face the defending national champion Humber Hawks on Dec. 28, then play a pair against the U Sports squad the UNBC Timberwolves on Dec. 29-30.

READ ALSO: VIU Mariners win basketball home openers

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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