Going for gold! Kodiaks basketball into two ACAC finals

March 3, 2017 - It was a huge night for the Kodiaks athletic program on Friday, with both men's and women's teams emerging victorious in semifinal action.

WBB | Kodiaks charge past SAIT, will face St. Mary's in the ACAC final

Two long-time southern Alberta rivals squared off in the final semifinal of the RE/MAX 2017 ACAC Women’s Basketball Championship, as the host and top-ranked Lethbridge College Kodiaks took on the third seed from the south division, the SAIT Trojans.

One year ago, a perfect regular season by the Kodiaks fell to the wayside with a semifinal loss at the ACAC championships. This year’s club made sure the same fate did not await, as all three of the Kodiaks ACAC south division first team all-stars factored into a red-hot start to the second quarter that propelled the Kodiaks (23-0) to a 66-50 win over the Trojans (15-8), maintaining Lethbridge’s perfect record this season.

The Kodiaks’ Sunder West, coming off a 28 point game in Thursday’s quarterfinal, hit a pair of three pointers early in the game to give Lethbridge a quick five point lead. But SAIT was able to battle back, led by ACAC rookie of the year Alexa Tan’s eight first quarter points, to lead 15-14 after one quarter. But the Kodiaks showed why they are ranked second in Canada to start the second quarter, firing off 16 straight points to break the game open, eventually outscoring the Trojans 25-8 in the frame. ACAC player of the year Logan Moncks had eight points in the opening three minutes of the second quarter to push the Kodiaks to a 39-23 lead at half.

The Kodiaks continued to press in the third quarter, with five quick points by Leah Ekubazgi helping them to an 18-12 advantage in the frame, and a 57-35 lead through three quarters. The Kodiaks were led by Lowry’s 20 points, while Moncks had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Alexa Tan was SAIT’s leading scorer with 14 points, including three from three point land.

The Kodiaks will attempt to win their second ACAC championship in three seasons when they host St. Mary’s in the gold medal game at 7 p.m. on Saturday. SAIT will face Medicine Hat in the bronze medal game at 4:30 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to arrive at the Val Matteotti Gym early to secure their seat the Gold Medal game.

Players of the game:

SAIT - #34 Melissa Woolley (8pts, 3ast, 2 3 pointers)

Lethbridge - #22 Emma Lowry (20pts, 5reb, 2ast)

*****

MBB | Kodiaks upset nationally ranked Medicine Hat, earn ACAC finals and national championship berth

The Kodiaks men also advanced to the ACAC gold medal game by upsetting the host Medicine Hat Rattlers in stunning fashion Friday night. 

Medicine Hat entered as the number two ranked team in Canada and had owned an 18-3 record during the regular season, with two of those losses coming via forfeit. The host Rattlers were no doubt hoping to celebrate a championship berth on their home floor in front of a standing-room only crowd, but instead were left to watch the Kodiaks celebrate a 78-66 victory on the Snakepit floor. 

The teams traded points throughout the first quarter but Lethbridge was able to pull away in the second with a huge 24-12 run. Medicine Hat turned on the pressure while storming out of the gate in the second half, trimming a nine point deficit to just two just four minutes into the quarter. Lethbridge was able to rebound, however, and played especially strong in the early going of the fourth quarter to hold off the Rattlers the rest of the way.

Robert Myles III led the Kodiaks with 23 points and seven rebounds, while ACAC south division All-Conference first team member Cory Richardson also put in a stellar performance, dropping 20 points.

The victory was particularly significant because it secured the Kodiaks a place in the CCAA National Championships later this month in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. 

With the win, the Kodiaks advance to tomorrow's gold medal game against the SAIT Trojans. Lethbridge faces another stiff challenge against their rivals from Calgary, who knocked off Red Deer College to reach the finals. SAIT took the season series against the Kodiaks 2-1. 

Tip-off goes at 7:30 p.m. from the Snakepit at Medicine Hat College. The game will be available to watch online through ACACTV