Volume 92, Issue 83
Wednesday, March 5, 1999
Old rivals meet in West final
© Dipesh Mistry/Gazette
By John Dinner
March Madness, Canada style, has begun and it's only going to get better.
Last night at Alumni Hall the Western Mustangs took on the Lakehead Nor'Westers in Ontario West semifinal action. Despite an incredible individual effort from Lakehead's jack-of-all-trades Ramon McElmurray (32 points, 13 rebounds and six assists), the Nor'Westers could not deal with the depth and talent of the Mustangs, eventually losing 93-75.
"We knew he's a guy that would get his points," said Mustang forward Nat Graham, who led the Mustangs with 21 of his own. "We just focused on making sure that no one else hurt us."
Mustang head coach Craig Boydell was pleased with the way his team has come together at the most important time of the season.
"We're maturing at the right time as a team," Boydell said. "We felt we had to go inside-out to get the right match-ups and our guys did that successfully."
In the other semifinal, the fourth ranked McMaster Marauders fell to the unranked but streaking Waterloo Warriors. Starting out the season 2-5, the Warriors have reeled off nine straight victories and looked poised to repeat as Ontario West champs.
"They are obviously a good team, they seemed to hit all their shots," Graham commented. "What was especially surprising was their defence. They held one of the best offences in the OUA to under 50 points."
The finals match of Waterloo and Western on Saturday afternoon poses some interesting match-ups for both teams and Boydell is confident his team can continue to execute the way they have so far.
"Every team is different and we have to adjust accordingly," Boydell said. "[Waterloo] play an aggressive defence. They're aggressive playing man to man and they played an aggressive zone against Mac [last night] as well."
Waterloo also boasts all-Canadian guard Mano Watsa, who according to his coach Tom Kleswetter, is playing the basketball of his career right now. His game could pose a problem for the Mustangs as the Warriors have a lot more weapons.
"We just came out to play the way we should. People didn't expect a lot from us because of our slow start," Watsa said. "We've put together a nice little streak. Most people don't know this, but we're one of the most experienced teams in the country [two fifth-year players, five fourth-year players]."
The weapons which Watsa has at his disposal are five guys over six foot seven and one guy standing six foot 10.
This height advantage concerns Boydell but he still believes his big men will be able to control the paint, much like they did last night as Chris Brown grabbed a double-double, netting 12 points to go along with 12 rebounds.
The Ontario West final between Waterloo and Western tips off at 2 p.m. in Alumni Hall tomorrow and will decide who gets the birth in the CIAU championships.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999