Kings of the court
Depth, unselfishness and good old-fashioned hard work have led the Cougars men’s basketball team to its first Canadian Colleges Athletic Association national title in 40 years.
Head coach Marc Dobell said that while he knew this year’s group was talented, he never could have imagined the team would go all the way.
“It was awesome, no question,” Dobell said of his team’s accomplishment at the national tournament held in Prince George, B.C. “We were all very excited, it was very satisfying to see all that effort pay off.”
After fighting off a determined team from Toronto’s Humber College in a thrilling 64-61 semifinal victory, the Cougars advanced to the championship game against the Champlain College Cavaliers from Saint Lambert, Que. The big cats fought to a near stalemate in the first half before using their deep bench to pull away in the third quarter. Cam Dodd and Stephen Trinidad led the way with 17 points apiece as eight Cougars chipped in on the 79-67 victory.
Mount Royal’s Craig Jantzen received first-team all-star honours for the tournament and Cam Dodd earned a spot on the second team. Mount Royal’s Jordan Hone was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“(Jordan) had a great showing and he really deserved the recognition,” Dobell said.
The national title came on the heels of the Cougars claiming their third Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference title in four years. The team also took the regular-season title in the ACAC South Division with an impressive 18-2 record. Dobell is already confident that next year’s squad will be a contender. Fifth-year guard Jantzen will be the only player ineligible to return.
“We have got a lot of guys coming back and we’re excited about that. For right now we are going to take some time to relax and reflect. At the same time, it is hard to not look forward to next year and coming back and competing again,” Dobell said.