Canadian University College hosted the Alberta College Athletic League Basketball (ACAL) Championships on March 13 and 14. Both the CUC men’s and women’s Aurora teams made it to the final, but were both defeated by the Ambrose Lions and had to settle for silver.
Games don’t get much closer than the ACAL Men’s Championship final. It was an intense game with both teams fighting tooth and nail and each wanting the gold medal just as bad as the other.
Aurora started scoring for the game, but was quickly overtaken by the Lions. However, Aurora was able to gain back the lead without much time lost and were able to hold it for most of the game, but only just.
In the last few minutes of the game, the Lions strongly pressed defense proved to be too much for Aurora. While CUC could compete with Ambrose on the offense, they couldn’t maintain control of the ball long enough to regain the lead after Ambrose won the upper hand and CUC lost the game 79-73.
Aurora men’s Coach Peter Ford said he may be a little disappointed with how his team finished but couldn’t be happier with how they played.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game,” said Ford. “It was well fought and there was good sportsmanship on both sides.”
Ford went on to say that he is very proud of how far the team has come this year overall. He added many of the veteran players the team had at the beginning of the season were lost partway through and Aurora had ended the season with mostly rookies on the roster, some of whom hadn’t even played ball in high school.
“It’s actually pretty impressive, what they’ve done.”
On the women’s side, the gold medal game was not quite as close. Aurora struggled in the first half of the game to keep up with the Lions, who had established a comfortable lead by the end of the first quarter.
In the second half, Aurora played harder, faster and stronger. Some changes made by coaching staff to the lineup also helped the ladies to score more baskets and it looked like they might be getting back in the game.
However, CUC could not keep up to the momentum of Ambrose or break its strong defense and the Lions continued scoring as well. While Aurora was able to score enough so that the Lions didn’t get too much further ahead, they still could catch up and lost the game 77-41.
Aurora women’s Coach Randy Chenowith said he was happy with the team.
“We are pleased with the way we played,” said Chenowith. He added this year showed enormous improvement from last, where Aurora finished the season in last place.
Chenowith went on to say that the tight, pressing defense from Ambrose, which is typical for the Lions, is what made the difference in the game.
“Ambrose does that,” said Chenowith. “They are really good at pressing the ball and you have to be on your game or they are going to do what they did. So I was expecting that.”