UFV Sports Saturday – Hoops and Wrestling

Wrestling: Cascades excel at SFU tourney

The University of the Fraser Valley wrestlers posted a series of solid results at the SFU Clansman International on Saturday in Burnaby.

Competing against elite opponents from across Canada and the northwest United States, Brad Hildenbrandt, Karla Godinez Gonzalez and Marko Kolobara were the Cascades’ top performers.

Hildenbrandt battled his way to the bronze medal in the men’s heavyweight (125 kg) division. The Surrey, B.C. product posted a 4-1 record, highlighted by a win over the University of New Brunswick’s Charles Thoms – an alternate for the Rio Olympics – in the consolation semifinals to advance to the bronze medal match. He secured the podium finish with a 10-0 win over Justin Ramgotra of the Alberta Golden Bears.

UFV rookie Godinez Gonzalez, likewise, was competing against some tremendously strong opponents in the women’s 53 kg division. She managed a 2-2 record, which was impressive considering that her losses came against a pair of athletes – Cara Nania and Farah Taj – who have represented Canada internationally.

While Hildenbrandt and Godinez Gonzalez were competing in open international divisions, Kolobara was in the collegiate men’s 78 kg bracket, where he finished second to Ben Burgess of Douglas College.

“Our kids wrestled really, really well,” Cascades co-head coach Raj Virdi said. “You can see they’re progressing quickly, especially Karla and Brad. We expect a lot out of Brad, but for Karla to be competing against athletes like that is amazing, because she’s only been wrestling for a year. It’s crazy how fast she’s picked it up.”

The SFU event was the last pre-Christmas tourney for the Cascades. They resume Canada West conference action Jan. 7 at the Golden Bear Invitational in Edmonton.

Women’s Basketball: Sartori comes through in clutch, Cascades edge Bobcats 68-66

Kayli Sartori took over the game in the final minute, sparking the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team to a 68-66 road win over the Brandon Bobcats on Saturday evening.

In the Cascades’ final conference game of the fall semester, Sartori saved her best for last. The fifth-year guard/forward from Chilliwack, B.C. scored a game-high 29 points, including the last four points of the contest at the free throw line. She also had a couple of clutch defensive plays in the dying seconds to help deliver the victory.

UFV improved to 5-3, good for sixth place in Canada West, while Brandon fell to 3-7.

“I think Kayli was not happy with her performance last night,” Cascades head coach Al Tuchscherer said afterward. “We really challenged her to be better tonight – we need her to be better, and she was. You could see she was focused all afternoon, and she made big plays. You saw her full skillset on display.”

The Bobcats had handled the Cascades 75-62 on Friday behind 37 points from Keisha Cox, and it looked to be more of the same early on Saturday – the hosts hit three of their first four attempts from beyond the arc and raced out to a 13-4 lead.

But the Cascades maintained their composure and responded with a 12-2 run, en route to a 37-35 lead at halftime. Much of their offensive mojo came from Sydney Williams, who went 4-for-4 from three-point range in the first half.

UFV pushed the lead to 52-41 midway through the third quarter after a Sartori and-one layup, but the Bobcats’ Mikaela Stanton heated up at that point – she scored nine points over the next five minutes, including a pair of three-pointers, to cut the deficit to 57-52 heading to the fourth.

The Cascades struggled offensively for much of the final frame, allowing the Brandon to find some traction. They reeled off an 8-0 run, capped by Stanton’s fifth triple of the night, to take a 62-60 lead with 2:40 remaining.

The Bobcats’ edge was 64-62 with less than a minute left after UFV’s Taylor Claggett secured a rebound in traffic after a three-point miss by Kylee Howard. Sartori got into the paint and drew a foul with 22 seconds left, and calmly swished both free throws to knot the score.

With the shot clock turned off, the last shot appeared to belong to the Bobcats, but Sartori stepped in front of a pass intended for Cox and bolted the other direction, ultimately drawing contact at the rim with 3.9 seconds left. Once again, she hit both free throws.

After a timeout, Brandon entered the ball to Cox in the post, but her shot over Sartori’s outstretched arms drew iron.

Sartori shot 9-of-13 from the field and 11-of-13 from the charity stripe for her 29 points, and she added eight rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks. Williams finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Claggett had 11 points and nine boards.

Stanton paced the Bobcats with 20 points, Lauren Anderson scored 11 off the bench, and Cox had 10 points on 5-of-16 shooting.

That Cox managed 27 fewer points than the night before was indicative of UFV’s defensive focus.

“Our game plan was pretty much the same as it was yesterday, we just executed it tonight,” Tuchscherer said. “Last night, we left whoever was defending Cox on an island, high and dry. In our video session this morning, we talked about needing five people to stop her and not just one, and I thought the girls really embraced that.

“It was a lot more focused effort tonight with way fewer defensive breakdowns, and we made some key plays down the stretch when we needed to. There was an opportunity for us to fade away when they took the two-point lead at the end, but I was proud of the girls for sticking with it and taking it home.”

Men’s Basketball: Dulay, Cascades get back in the win column, beat Brandon 76-65

One night after surrendering 101 points to the Brandon Bobcats, the University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball team made a priority of tightening up their defence.

Playing on the road in Brandon on Saturday, the Cascades allowed 36 fewer points than they did in Friday’s 101-84 loss, prevailing 76-65 to wrap up their pre-Christmas schedule.

UFV (3-5) snapped a three-game losing streak behind a game-high 21 points from Manny Dulay and 16 from Andrew Morris. Brandon (3-7) got 16 points from Girece Kazumba and 14 from Earl Thompson Jr.

“They missed a few shots they were hitting yesterday, but we also did a good job of not letting them get into a rhythm and feeling confident,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said. “We kept our turnovers low (13 to Brandon’s 20), and we did a nice job on the defensive glass. They had to earn a few more of their buckets today, instead of us giving up those extra layups.”

The Cascades had been on their heels from the start on Friday, but they had some spring in their step to open Saturday’s rematch, racing out to an early 13-4 lead. The Bobcats hung around, but UFV took a 41-39 advantage into the half.

Brandon levelled the score briefly late in the third quarter, but the Cascades responded with a 10-0 run, capped by a Daniel Adediran layup. UFV’s smallest lead from that juncture was five points, and Dulay’s three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining – extending the lead to 72-63 – was the dagger.

Dulay, the Canada West assists leader, registered five assists to go with eight rebounds and three steals. Morris’s 16 points off the bench were a UFV career high, and Mark Johnson chipped in with nine points and eight boards.

“We’ve been struggling, and the guys, to their credit, have really worked, stuck together, kept grinding and figured out a way to have some success,” Friesen said. “I’m glad they were able to get a win heading into the Christmas break.”

The Cascades basketball teams return to action Jan. 6-7, when they host the MacEwan Griffins at the Envision Athletic Centre.

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