Volume 92, Issue 84
Tuesday, March 9, 1999
Mustang men dig deep
© Dipesh Mistry/Gazette
By Jamil Jalal Jaffer
In sports, preparation can only go so far and sometimes what's needed is to lay it all on the line.
The Western Mustangs, ranked second in the country, did just that when they met the Waterloo Warriors, the defending champions, for the Ontario University Athletics West division championship Saturday afternoon.
The game came down to the last minute before the Mustangs put it out of reach on clutch shooting from fifth-year senior guard Micah Bourdeau. Western prevailed 66-61.
The game featured a number of OUA West all-stars, including Waterloo guard Mano Watsa, Western forward Nat Graham and Bourdeau. In addition, it also showcased OUA West rookie of the year guard Jim Grozelle and coach of the year Craig Boydell.
The contest was a see-saw struggle with neither team able to break it open. The second half turned into a defensive battle which proved to be the Warriors' undoing. Boydell commended his team's defensive mentality. "We started September with defence, knowing that stopping another team from scoring was going to do it and that's what we did."
The win was especially sweet for Bourdeau. The Mustang guard gave in a huge performance with a bad back, scoring Western's last seven points, including a break away dunk which nearly took the roof off Alumni Hall.
"He's made so many sacrifices all year to do whatever he could," Boydell explained. "It's just so fitting that in the end he was the guy who did it. That dunk at the end was the exclamation point."
Bourdeau finished with 19 points and 7 rebounds.
Western also received strong games from forwards Matt Tweedie and Chris Brown. Tweedie had 12 points and Brown had his ninth straight double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Waterloo was led by their all-star guard, Watsa, who finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, with most of the points coming in the last 5 minutes of the game.
Having blown out fourth-ranked McMaster on Thursday, coming into Saturday's contest Waterloo was hoping for the same result.
"We never expected to lose," said a tearful Watsa. "It comes as a shock to us we just fell short."
Warrior head coach Tom Kieswetter was very matter of fact in his feelings on the game.
"We were prepared. We were playing our best basketball, but we just got beat," he said. "Full credit to them. Micah Bourdeau was the difference."
On the possibility of a wild card selection, Kieswetter lobbied that his team deserves it. "If they're the No. 2 team in the country then we're not too far behind."
Boydell commented on why this win was so important aside from netting a spot in the CIAU championships.
"This game is for a lot of guys," Boydell said. "We've deserved to be at the nationals many times in the 1990s, but didn't get to go because of the politics of the game."
However, Boydell went on to quote Tweedie's motivating words. "This is our team. This is present and future and we're going to make it on our own."
Western will now face the Ryerson Rams in the battle of Ontario for the Wilson Cup before heading for the nationals in two weeks. The game will be held this Saturday at Alumni Hall.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999