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Pilots men’s basketball team soars into share of first place
The Providence Pilots men’s basketball team is finding its groove.
Since tipping off its Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference schedule with a November 4 defeat to the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen the Pilots have won three matches on the bounce—the latest of which came Saturday at home to the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers.
Winnipeg’s Daniel Dekleva led the way with 26 points in the 65-60 win and sunk four of six three-pointers. Romeo KC of Falls Church, Virginia contributed eight assists and grew his league lead in the category to 20 on the campaign.
“Tonight was a grind-it-out kind of win for us,” remarked head coach Colten Gryba, who added that he was nevertheless pleased with his team’s defensive effort. “We still need to find some consistency in our game as we get deeper into the season.”
With six points from four matches Providence is now joint-top of the standings, although the Wesmen—also on six points—have a game in hand. The two will meet in a much-anticipated January 19 showdown in Winnipeg.
Next up for the Pilots is a Friday appointment at Red River College.
In Saturday’s early game the women’s basketball team lost 83-45 to the Blazers in Otterburne. La Salle’s Courtney Engel compiled 15 points and eight rebounds while Winnipeg’s Amber Harms added 10 points and nine boards.
“CMU is a tough team; they have lots of girls who can score,” analyzed head coach Joel Coursey. “We played two quarters well but didn’t have the legs to cut into their lead.”
Third-place Providence will look to get back into the win column on Friday at Red River.
In volleyball the Pilots ladies grew their latest winning streak to four matches and are now 27-5 on the season in all competitions.
Playing catch-up in the MCAC because of previous National Christian College Athletic Association commitments (they finished runner-up at the National Championship in Kissimmee, Florida) Providence beat Les Rouges de l’Universite de Saint-Boniface 3-1 on November 25 and the next day overcame a two-set deficit to top the Wesmen.
Despite observing a lack of intensity among his players in the early sets against the U of W, head coach Scott Masterson was impressed with how his side eventually grew into the match.
“Once we started to play with more fight we started to play with more confidence,” he said. “This was a great match for our players and fans to be part of and I was glad we were able to show up part-way through the match to make it close.
NCCAA 1st Team All American Shayna Staerk executed 16 kills against the Wesmen while Sam Bridle provided 33 assists.
On the men’s side the Pilots defeated USB 3-1 in an exhibition contest.
Assistant coach Ryan Hamm used the opportunity to try various players at different positions and also handed a debut to Cullen Klassen, who he said “performed well” at both libero and setter.
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