Spartans come up short

Trinity Western falls in gold medal game in first-ever appearance at national championships

Trinity Western's Kyle Coston goes up for the dunk during Sunday's CIS men's basketball gold medal game at the Halifax Metro Centre. The underdog Spartans lost to the Carleton Ravens 82-59. The national championship was the seventh in the past nine years for Carleton.

In the end, the glass slipper didn’t fit Cinderalla.

Playing in the national championship game, Trinity Western — student body population of 2,735 — was up against the Carleton Ravens, who boast an enrolment of 23,000 students and had won six of the past eight Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s basketball championships.

But after a last-second dramatic 74-72 victory, with Kyle Coston hitting a three-pointer with 11.6 seconds remaining in Saturday’s semifinal over archrival UBC, the Spartans were denied the gold medal, falling 82-59 to the Ravens. This was the Spartans first ever appearance at nationals.

The tournament was held at the Halifax Metro Centre.

“We learned something about the intensity required to win a championship,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen.

“We had a good game plan but we underestimated how physical they would be on defence.”

With Trinity Western concentrating on shutting down CIS player of the year and tournament MVP Tyson Hinz in the post, the Ravens responded with some deadly outside shooting.

Carleton shot 16-for-38 from beyond the arc, hitting 42 per cent of their three-point shots. The Spartans countered with just a trio of three-pointers.

“They are so good in the post, we had to pick our poison and mix it up,” Allen said. “Full credit to (Carleton), they’re a machine.”

Jacob Doerksen, who was named a CIS first team all-Canadian prior to the tournament, led the Spartans with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The team was done in by some poor shooting, as they hit just 35.4 per cent of their field goals, down from their season average of 47.2 per cent.

The Ravens were ranked first in the country all season long, but a loss in the playoffs, dropped them to the tournament’s second seed.

The Spartans came in ranked fifth for the eight-team tournament and as the third-place team from their conference, they earned the only at-large bid for the final eight championships.

In their opener, they ousted the fourth-seed Lakehead Thunderwolves 82-74 and faced top-ranked UBC in the semifinals.

And Trinity Western erased a 16-point second quarter deficit to defeat the Thunderbirds by a single bucket.

Both Coston and Doerksen were named tournament all-stars.

In the bronze medal game, UBC defeated Saskatchewan 111-95.

Playing his final game as a Thunderbird, Brookswood Secondary graduate Brent Malish had 16 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Malish appeared at nationals all five seasons he spent with UBC, with the team winning two silvers and now a bronze.

Another former Brookswood grad, Graham Bath, had six points in Sunday’s game. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

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