Holiday basketball


author: nathan mccarville | sports writer

Cougars net positive on the road.  / nathan mccarville

Recapping the holidays for the Cougars

The Cougars basketball teams have just gotten back from the invitational tournaments that were played over the course of the break . The men’s basketball team travelled to Costa Mesa, California where they played two games in the Billy Reynolds Holiday Classic on Dec. 28 and 29. The men played their first game of the Classic against the Vanguard University Lions, who hosted the tournament.  

Unfortunately, the Cougars failed to make waves in their first game against the California-based team. The first game that the Cougars played ended with a result of 50-80 in favour of the Lions. Top scoring players from the U of R included Greishe Clerjuste with ten points, Samuel Hillis with nine, and Myles Hamilton with eight points. Winning by 30 points, the Vanguard Lions’ Malachi Hoosein scored 16 of those points.  

The following day, the Cougars played against the Hope International University Royals. The game ended with a similar result, though the Cougars put up a better effort in the second game, losing by 23 points against the Royals. Top scorers for the second game included Cougars Zakkery Tamlin with nine points, and Samuel Hillis, Myles Hamilton, and Kameron Vales all with eight points for the game.  

The Calgary Dinos also made the trek to Costa Mesa, playing the Vanguard Lions in their second game, the game ending with a score of 60-55 in favour of the Lions, though the Dinos managed a win in their first game against the Hope International Royals, the game ending with a score of 84-76 for the Dinos.  

The women had different results in their tournament. Playing within the confines of Canada, the Cougars women’s basketball team made waves in the Wesmen Classic where they played against universities such as Lakehead, Winnipeg, and Algoma. The first game of the classic was against the Algoma Thunderbirds on Dec. 28, with the Cougars taking the win with a final score of 70-38 for the Cougars. The top scorer was Christina McCusker, who scored 18 points. Kyanna Giles followed McCusker’s score closely with 17 points, and Faith Reid and Michaela Kleisinger picking up 10 points each.  

The following game played on Dec. 29 against the Lakehead Thunderwolves led to another victory for the Cougars. Winning by a small margin, the game ended with a result of 85-81 in favour of the Cougars. The top scorer for this game was, yet again, Christina McCusker, who scored 22 points in the game, followed by her teammate Kyanna Giles with 20 points, and Michaela Kleisinger with 13 points.  

Finally, the Cougars faced off against the hosts of the Classic, the Winnipeg Wesmen on Dec. 30. At this point, it was no surprise that they won their final game in the Wesmen Classic with a score of 65-54. The three previous players performed well in the final game of the Wesmen Classic with McCusker scoring another 18 points, Michaela Kleisinger scoring 13, and Kyanna Giles 10 points. The three high-scoring games won McCusker the title of MVP of the tournament, while Kyanna Giles was named as part of the Tournament All-Star Team.  

Back to the regular season hustle, both teams travelled to Victoria, B.C. to play against the UVIC Vikes on Jan. 4 and 5. Both teams attained similar results for the weekend. Starting off with a rundown of the men’s games, the Cougars finished their first game with a close score of 82-79. Clerjuste scored 21 points in the game, while Myles Hamilton scored 17 against the Vikes and Hillis nailing a last second three to end the game. The following game had a similar, less positive, score, the game ending with a score of 83-80 in favour of the Vikes. Top scorers for the Cougars included Clerjuste and Myles Hamilton with 20 points each.  

The women’s team crushed the Vikes in their first game of the weekend, achieving a score of 85 against the Vikes’ 50 points for the game. Top scorers for the one-sided game included Macaela Crone with 24 points, followed by Christina McCusker and Kyanna Giles with 10 points each. The final game of the weekend for the women’s team showed a different result. The Vikes stepped it up in their second game against the Cougars, the game ending with a score of 70-69 for the Vikes. Kyanna Giles was the top-scoring player for the Cougars with 22 points in the game, followed by Macaela Crone with 15 points.  

The Cougars men’s and women’s basketball teams are set to play their next home games on Jan. 11 and 12 agains the University of British Columbia Okanogan, comfortable on their home court after their time on the road.

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