Richard Wiebach isn’t a household name, even to most Dinos basketball fans. He doesn’t start, and he doesn’t usually see a lot of court time. Last Saturday, though, he was finally handed the opportunity to prove himself, and came through.
The Dinos didn’t win either of their games against the Brandon University Bobcats, but they came close on Friday, losing 77-72. On Saturday, the Dinos lost 73-43, but Wiebach provided a apark of sorts, coming off the bench in relief of the injured Wes Jickling to score 10 points and adding five rebounds.
"We played a good 20 minutes on Friday, in the second half," said coach Cory Russell. "But we missed something like five of our last 10 free throws. You can’t win doing that. On Saturday, they outquicked us. We had 30 turnovers. Two of our starters [Jeff Loomis and Brad Gallup] didn’t even score. It was very frustrating."
Two players–Wiebach, and Andy Stordeur who led the Dinos with 17 points on Friday and 11 on Saturday.–made positive impressions on Russell.
"Andy Stordeur continues to be a real rock," said Russell. "He’s clearly our most consistent player.
"[Wiebach] played well. He’s had a couple of good weeks, coming at a good time with Wes Jickling being out. We need Rich."
"Saturday was probably my best game as a Dino," said Wiebach.
A third-year Dino, Wiebach joined the team straight out of his North Vancouver high school.
"Cory Russell recruited me," he explained. "This was pretty much the only Canadian university that actively recruited me. I got letters from other universities, but Cory was the only won who talked to me."
Wiebach’s surge over the last two weeks can be attributed to a number of elements.
"I’ve been getting minutes," he notes, "but I don’t think that’s the reason. It’s the right time. I was talking to the coach and he said he wasn’t surprised. Practice the last two weeks has been a lot better."
The Dinos will be looking to Wiebach to have another solid pair of games this weekend when they host the Trinity Western University Spartans. The Spartans are 3-13, one game back of the Dinos’ 4-12.
"It’s a battle," said Russell. "I think they’re better than their record indicates, from what I’ve seen on tape. I think we’re better than our record indicates."
The Dinos need a pair of wins this weekend to clinch a playoff spot.
"If we sweep, we’ll automatically be in [the playoffs]. We have to play well. We need Chris Harris to play well. He only had two rebounds on the weekend. We need Brad [Gallup] to step up and show fifth-year leadership."
After the Spartans, the Dinos will host the University of Regina Cougars. Two successful series will help the Dinos move into better playoff standing.
"We have to beat TWU," said Wiebach. "We’re playing two of the easier teams in the west. It’ll be two big weekends, so hopefully we’ll get some wins."