Kodiaks crowned ACAC champions!
March 5, 2017 – The bitter taste of defeat stuck with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks for an entire year, but it was rinsed away by a gold medal in the RE/MAX 2017 ACAC Women's Basketball Championship on Saturday. The Kodiaks were undefeated in the regular season for a second straight year, but held memories of being upset in last year's conference semifinal. They made sure a similar fate did not await them this year, rolling through all three games of the championship tournament to claim gold with a 31-point win over Calgary's St. Mary's Lightning in the final.
While the Lightning (18-6) showed flashes early, it was the dynamic offense and relentless defence of the Kodiaks (24-0) was too much, as Lethbridge College earned its second conference championship in three years with a 85-54 triumph. The win caps one of the greatest seasons in ACAC history as the Kodiaks followed up a second-straight undefeated regular season with the 13th conference championship in college history. The Kodiaks will go on to represent the ACAC at the CCAA national championship beginning March 16 in Edmonton, hosted by NAIT.
The Kodiaks wasted no time jumping out to an early lead, putting together a 10-3 run late in the opening quarter, highlighted by back-to-back three pointers from Shantaya Strebel and ACAC south division first team all-star Sunder West, to take an 18-13 lead after one quarter. West continued to push the pace in the second quarter, opening with another three as part of her 15 first half points. A 7-2 run by the Lightning, including an Abby Gibb, triple closed the Lightning back within four, but the Kodiaks ripped off a 14-2 run just before the half to take a 43-29 lead into the break.
The third quarter is where the nationally second-ranked Kodiaks took total control, dividing the offense around as they outscored the Lightning 26-9, to lead 67-38 heading into the final frame. Lethbridge’s Brad Karren, the ACAC south division coach of the year, turned the keys over to his bench late in the game as the Kodiaks rolled to the 85-54 final.
Sunder West, who was named the tournament MVP, had a game-high 25 points for the Kodiaks. Emma Lowry had a triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while ACAC player of the year Logan Moncks added 12 points. Kassandra Baptiste led St. Mary’s with 16 points, while Mary Jean Ritchie had a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Players of the game:
St. Mary’s - #10 Mary Jean Ritchie (10pts, 15reb, 2ast)
Lethbridge - #22 Emma Lowry (20pts, 11reb, 10ast)
Sunder West - Lethbridge
Tournament all-star team:
Emma Lowry - Lethbridge
Montana Romeril – St. Mary’s
Laura Belisle – St. Mary’s
Alexa Tan – SAIT
Kennedy Werre – Medicine Hat
MBB | Kodiaks fall to Trojans in ACAC final
After an emotional semifinal victory over host Medicine Hat the previous evening, the Kodiaks title dreams fell just short on Saturday, as they fell 85-65 to the SAIT Trojans.
With spots in the CCAA National Championship tournament in Charlottetown already secured for both teams, the battle was on to see who would enter the national tournament as the ACAC champion. Lethbridge and SAIT fought neck and neck in the standings all season, setting up an intriguing and unexpected final that did not disappoint.
The teams traded buckets in the early going, with Lethbridge riding a one-point lead into the first quarter break. SAIT began to find their shooting touch in the second, however, draining 25 points in the quarter to build a 41-36 lead at half.
The Trojans continued to press in the third, stifling the Lethbridge offence while building up an eleven-point advantage. The Kodiaks showed flashes throughout the second half but couldn’t make a dent in the Trojan lead the rest of the way.
SAIT was led by John Smith, who was an offensive force all weekend long. He collected 40 points and 4 rebounds and was named tournament MVP. The Kodiaks were led by Chris Maughan, who scored a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Keanu Funa also shone for the Kodiaks, picking up 13 points and 4 rebounds.
Lethbridge now has two weeks to prepare for the CCAA National Championship tournament, which will be hosted by Holland College in Prince Edward Island from March 15-18.
FUT | Kodiaks women wrap up inaugural season with victory over Olds; men fall to Broncos
Competing in the first ACAC futsal championship tournament in program history, both Kodiaks men’s and women’s teams went 1-2 over the weekend and missed qualifying for the playoff round on Sunday. It was a positive learning experience for the players, however, who were getting their first taste of the indoor game at the ACAC level.
Despite already being eliminated from semifinal contention, the Kodiaks women’s team picked up a historic 2-1 victory over Olds in their final game of the tournament on Saturday. Lyndee Saler and Sarah Fawcett picked up the goals in the win, which was the first in program history. The result represented a nice bounce-back effort for Lethbridge, who fell on the wrong side of lopsided scores in their first two games.
The men entered the day needing a win to advance to the finals but were stifled 5-1 by the Olds Broncos. The Kodiaks controlled the play for most of the match but were unable to mount a comeback after suffering an early deficit.
Head coach Sean Carey was pleased with both of his team’s efforts over the weekend, recognizing it was the first tournament experience for the Kodiaks. “It’s a completely different type of game than what most of our players are used to, so it was a good learning experience for both of our teams” said Carey. “I’m proud of the effort we saw this weekend, and it leaves us excited for next season.”
About the Lethbridge College Kodiaks
Lethbridge College is a member of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) and competes against 16 other member institutions from across Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Kodiaks offer ten men’s and women’s varsity intercollegiate athletics programs, including basketball, volleyball, soccer, futsal, cross country and indoor track. The Kodiaks are proud owners of 57 ACAC championships and 11 national titles.