Dinos Capture Central Division Title

Filed under: — Matt Skinn @ 6:55 pm

CALGARY – The fourth-ranked Calgary Dinos certainly picked the right moment to play their best game of the season as they took a convincing 90-66 decision over the Alberta Golden Bears Saturday night.

The Dinos clinched the Central Division title with the victory following an 87-78 win in Friday’s series opener.

“’Wow’ is probably a good explanation of it,” said Calgary coach Dan Vanhooren following the contest. “That was the best basketball game we’ve played all year. It shows we’re peaking at the right time.”

After a sloppy first-half effort on Friday, the Dinos broke open a tight game late in the opening quarter with a 7-0 run and never looked back, taking a 23-16 lead into the first break. The run was highlighted by a block from Ross Bekkering (3rd year, Taber, Alta.), turning the ball over to Calgary. Cody Darrah (5th, Edmonton) then found Henry Bekkering (4th, Taber) with a spectacular alley-oop dunk that brought the near-capacity crowd of 2804 to its feet in the Jack Simpson Gym. Ross Bekkering then sealed the run with a long three at the buzzer.

Alberta began to press in the second and kept it close, thanks in large part to Richard Bates (5th, Sherwood Park, Alta.), who made several tough shots in traffic in the quarter. Calgary was totally dominant on the glass, however, out-rebounding the Bears 26-12 in the first 20 minutes and taking a 45-34 lead into the half.

Foul trouble loomed for the Dinos early in the third, with six team fouls called in the first 3:45 of the period. Alberta was able to close the gap to seven points, but the Dinos bench performed very well in limiting the Bears’ success – and even built on the lead.

“I think the difference in the game was in the third quarter when we got in a little foul trouble, and our bench comes on, and they play well,” said Vanhooren. “Not only did they maintain our lead, but they increased it. I’m really proud of our team right now.”

The fourth quarter was all Henry Bekkering, who scored 13 including two more brilliant dunks as the Dinos ran away with it. Bekkering led all players with 31 points on the night on 12-of-21 shooting.

Ross Bekkering went a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line to score 17 points to go with 12 rebounds. Robbie Sihota (3rd, Calgary) had another stellar game for the Dinos with 17 points in just 21 minutes on the floor.

The Golden Bears were led by CG Morrison’s (3rd, Victoria) 21-point effort as Calgary held the entire Alberta starting lineup to just 27 points on the night. Alex Steele (5th, Edmonton) added 12 points while Bates poured in 11.

On the night, the Dinos out-rebounded their archrivals 46-31 and shot 48.3 per cent from the floor.

Calgary earns the right to host the Canada West Final Four tournament, which will take place Feb. 29-Mar. 1 in the Jack Simpson Gym. Teams and seeding are to be determined, but the Dinos will play at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 29 in the second semi-final game. The bronze and gold medal games will go at 5 and 7 p.m. on Saturday night, respectively.

“It’s been our goal to host the Final Four next weekend, and now that we have that we have to make sure we’re focused,” Vanhooren said. “This fan base and this group of people that came out to the games this weekend helps our team, and to have them here at home supporting us next weekend is only going to be that much better.”

Fans are strongly encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long line-ups at the door on game night. Full ticket information will be available at goDINOS.com on Monday, Feb. 25.

The top two teams from the Final Four will advance to the CIS Final 8 in Ottawa Mar. 14-16.

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