Dinos miss golden opportunity

The Dinos men’s basketball team was disappointedly eliminated from playoffs Feb. 18-20. The 2004 Canada West Champion Dinos lost to the University of Alberta Golden Bears in a best-of-three Mountain Division semi-final.

After defeating the Bears 78-76 on Friday, the Dinos were trounced 79-69 and 86-68 on Saturday and Sunday respectively. This is the third consecutive year that a Dinos-Bears showdown has taken place in the Mountain Division playoffs and gone into a third game.

Friday night saw the Dinos struggling to keep up with the aggressive U of A. After leading at the half 42-31, the Bears fended off multiple Dino attempts to close the margin. The U of A led 70-60 with five minutes of play remaining, but the Dinos then narrowed the margin to 74-71 on an 11-4 run. Sandy Brar shot a crowd pleasing three to tie the game and send the Bears scurrying into a frightened time-out. Phil Sudol sunk a basket with 55 seconds remaining to put the U of A back in the lead, 76-74. Sudol and Scott Gordon of the U of A then sent Brendan Groat to the charity stripe twice in the last 30 seconds. Groat made all four baskets to secure the win.

Surinder “I surrender” Grewal and Chris “long socks” Wright carried the team with 25 and 29 points respectively. Wright also had 10 boards, giving him a double-double.

Saturday night the Dinos were schooled by the U of A’s fancy shooting and strong defence. A quick catch-up by the Dinos to close the half cut the score to 40-27 for the Bears.

Calgary was within four with 11:30 remaining thanks to a turnover from the Bears. Following a refreshing time-out, the spectacled Bears returned to crush all hopes of victory. Grewal and Wright carried the Dinos once again with 17 and 13 points respectively. With 12 rebounds, Wright had his second double-double of the series. Mmmm… so delicious.

On Sunday night, the U of A put the Dinos over their knee and spanked them good. The Bears were relentless, and led 50-22 at the half. The final score was 86-68. Alberta shot 69 per cent from beyond the arc and 57 per cent from the field. Calgary lagged with 33 per cent over the rainbow and 43 per cent from the field of dreams. Wright battled bravely against extinction with 21 points. Rick “the rock” Brar added 10.

“The goal was to get to nationals and the loss was a real disappointment. We were looking forward to advancing,” said assistant Head Coach Wayne Thomas. “Alberta outplayed us. They had full value for their win; they shot really well and they ambushed us.”

“We had some very fine moments, but there was also a tremendous number of injuries, and we did well with that in mind,” he said of the season as a whole.

The team is now focusing on re-building. The coaches are looking to the strong high school talent pool here in Calgary and elsewhere in the wild west for recruits. The men are losing many fine players as Jon Salgado, Ian Ferguson, and Grewal are venturing into the great beyond.

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