Heat finish exhibition season with two wins at VIU tournament

Heat Post Steve Morrison (Photo by Steve Shulhan)

The Heat men’s basketball team finished up their exhibition tournament this past weekend at a tournament at Vancouver Island University. The Heat lost on the opening day of the tournament to the Mount Royal Cougars 83-70, on Saturday the Heat took down the Camosun Chargers 64-51 followed by a 78-54 victory over the MacEwan Griffins.

Head coach Darren Semeniuk did his best Nostradamus impression as he said during the half time speech of the first game versus Mount Royal when he said, "the first five minutes of the second half would decide the game."  Not only was this true in the Mount Royal game, but the third quarter proved pivotal for the Heat in both of their victories on Saturday and Sunday.

In the Mount Royal game the third quarter was the harbinger of doom for the Heat, as the Cougars during the first three minutes of the half went on a 17-3 run and eventually built a 24 point lead. The Heat were unable to keep up the pace as their shooting went cold in the second half, the team shot 1 of 12 from the three point line and just 13 of 34 from the field.

On Saturday in the third quarter the Heat's defence really excelled, led by veteran forwards Steve Morrison and Dave Mackay. The Heat held the Chargers to just two field goals in the third as UBC Okanagan extended their lead to fifteen points 48-33. Micah Cockrill cashed in 8 of his game high 13 points in that quarter to help extend the lead.

The third quarter, as has been the case with every game in this tournament, was a deciding factor in Sunday’s game as UBC Okanagan shut the door on the Griffin offense. The Heat allowed just 8 points in the quarter as the Heat post defenders, Steve Morrison and Dave Mackay held 6’8” Andrew Bates to zero points in the third after scoring 16 in the first two quarters. Mackay led the way on the offensive end for the Heat as well scoring 8 of his 17 points in the third.

Heat wing Micah Cockrill (Photo by Steve Shulhan)

The Heat were led this weekend offensively by Micah Cockrill, a highly touted recruit out of Chilliwack who is really starting to find ways to score for UBC Okanagan. Cockrill was the game high scorer in all three games; on Friday versus Mount Royal he hit for 19, Saturday he finished with 13, and Sunday tallied 18. With Alex Roth out due to injury second year guard, Iain Con from White Rock Christian, excelled in the lead guard position scoring when needed and defending well on the perimeter.

The Heat’s defence really started to take shape in the two victories and were led by third year forwards Steve Morrison and Dave Mackay.  “In the early part of our exhibition season we struggled to find an identity,” added coach Cary Mellon, “I think in these last two games we are starting to see what kind of team we need to be to win games. We really locked those teams up in the second half on Saturday and Sunday, I think we can build on this.”

"I really liked the way the team let the defensive end translate to opportunities offensively," added head coach Darren Semeniuk. "This is what exhibition games are for; I think the team is really starting to believe that playing with that intensity on the defensive end of the floor will be a fun style of play for us."

The last two wins of the tournament closed up the Heat’s exhibition schedule in which they won four games and lost six. The Heat will open their league schedule at Capilano University on Friday November 5th, game starts at 8:00 pm

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