After a scare in the fourth quarter, Briercrest holds on to win first ACAC medal of history
By Jadon Frank
After Briercrest built a 26 point lead in the third quarter Lethbridge pushed back to take the lead late in the fourth quarter creating an exciting 97-95 bronze medal win for Briercrest, their first ACAC medal in program history.
In a game that had everything that one could ask for including a buzzer beater, what looked like a Briercrest blowout had an incredible Lethbridge come-back fall short and Briercrest played for the ACAC bronze medal for the first time since joining the conference in 1996-97.
Though losing a heart-breaking semi-final game the night before, the Briercrest team looked in high spirits throughout the warm-up, shooting deep threes and nice alley-oop baskets and looking ready to play for the bronze medal.
Both teams were of course disappointed to be playing for a bronze medal instead of a gold, but came out strong and both teams played their benches to build experience for future years and playing a high paced game for the fans in attendance. Lethbride sunk the first basket of the game before a slick pass from Caleb Klassen to Gradyn Childerhose evened up the score. The teams went back and forth before Briercrest took their first lead, 6-4, off a Wohlgeschaffen jumper. Briercrest played some aggressive strong defense with nice steals from Klassen and Wohlegschaffen and blocks from Myers, but were unable to extend their lead substantially. Briercrest finally built some space 14-8 off two Childerhose free throws, but Lethbridge came right back. The teams exchanged baskets back and forth until a tough Josiah Cockrill basket made it 20-12. Lethbridge was able to score a basket, but Briercrest ended the quarter with a 20-14 lead.
Brandon Friesen scored a lay-up to open the score and Cockrill added a three to extend the lead to 25-14 to begin the second quarter. The teams then exchanged baskets, with Josh Dalzell making the score 28-19 off a nice corner three and a nice inside basket from Brandon Friesen made it 30-19. Lethbridge came back to cut the score to 30-28 and force a Briercrest timeout. A strong drive from Caleb Klassen out of the timeout forced a foul and Lethbridge timeout. Some crisp play from Caleb Klassen forced another Lethbridge foul and then a nice jump shot to make the score 32-28. The teams went back and forth with Briercrest's starters back in the game and spreading the court and Matt Myers hitting a nice three to extend the lead to 35-31. A technical foul brought Lethbridge to the line and tied the game at 35-35 and forcing another Briercrest timeout. Klassen and Boese threes and strong defense to force a travel brought the score to 41-37 for Briercrest out of the timeout. Great steals by Wohlgeschaffen and Boese helped build a 45-37 lead for Briercrest to end the first half.
Wohlegschaffen opened up the second half where he left off in the first half with a three to extend the lead to 48-37. Myers followed that up with a three and nice drive to continue extending the score to 53-39. Two great inbound passes from Myers to Boese and Childerhose sandwiching a long range three brought the score to 60-39 before a Wohlgeschaffen drive forced a Lethbridge timeout at 62-39. A DEEP three from Myers out of the timeout extended the score to 65-39 before two Lethbridge free throws cut the Briercrest lead slightly. Lethbridge settled down slightly and the teams exchanged baskets, but were not able cut into the Briercrest lead more than 70-48. Myers exchanged threes with Lethbridge to make the score 75-55. With Briercrest's bench on the court to end the third quarter Lethbridge cut into the Briercrest lead making it 77-65. Both teams had a very offensive half with Briercrest being up by as much as 26 points, Lethbridge went on a 26-12 run to bring score within reach.
Lethbridge had the first three baskets of the fourth quarter before a drive by Wohlheschaffen shifted the momentum back in Briercrest's favour at 79-71. Another basket by Lethbridge forced a Briercrest timeout. Two Lethbridge threes out of the timeout tied the score at 79-79 and then two free throws off a technical foul gave Lethbridge their first lead since the start of the game at 81-79. A Sacoman three restored the Briercrest lead and the teams exchanged the lead and baskets. Another Sacoman three extended the Briercrest lead to 90-85 before Lethbridge responded with a three of their own. A great Sacoman assist to a Childerhose basket and free throw extended the lead to 93-88. Lethbridge scored a basket with 14 seconds left drawing it close, but a basket and free throw extended the Briercrest lead to 96-90. Lethbridge had a buzzer beater to bring the score to 97-95. Sacoman had a great end of the quarter with great shots, assists and heads up defensive play to shift the momentum in Briercrest's favour to end the game.
Players of the game were Lethbridge's Rob Olsen, and Briercrest's Kenny Boese who had 12 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals. Boese was also selected to the tournament all-star team as he was the top Briercrestr scorer the first two nights and was a spark for the team all weekend.
After losing in the semi-final the night prior, Briercrest bounced back and won bronze, while also giving every player on the team an opportunity to play in the game and all but two players scoring points.
Coach Rod Adrian shared his thoughts after the game.
"Bronze Medal Game victory came after a tough loss last night. Today was a team effort and a gutsy performance to earn the basketball program our first medal since entering the ACAC. Player of the Game and Tournament All-Star, Kendell Boese, put together another strong performance with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Matt Myers had 22 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Gradyn Childerhose ended with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. These three players end their 5th year of eligibility with solid games, fantastic effort, and great leadership. It was a team effort as everyone got on the court, and in spite of turning the ball over 32 times we scored 1.03 times per possession shooting 57% from the 3 point line."
"We’re so thankful for the season that we had, the school that we play for, and the Saviour that we try to model our lives after. We’re thankful for the team of “brothers” that we have and for the lifelong bond that we have forged as a result of this opportunity. It has been a special season, and a special team. Thanks to our great fan support, encouragement through timely words, and for all your prayers as we travel and compete."
Game notes: Briercrest led the way on the boards with 52 rebounds to Lethbridge’s 34, as well as six blocks to Lethbridge’s three. After a slow assist game the night prior, Briercrest once again led the way with 23 assists to Lethbridge’s 17. Lethbridge led the way with 17 steals to Briercrest’s 11. Briercrest shot 52.9 % from the field (37-70), while Lethbridge shot 42.7% (38-89). Briercrest hit 13 three-pointers at a clip of 56.5% (13-23) while Lethbridge hit 36% (9-25). Each team made 10 free-throws with Briercrest having 13 attempts to Lethbridge’s 14.
Briercrest leaders were Matt Myers with a team high 22 points (hitting six of seven three-point shots), a game high seven assists, six rebounds, a game high two blocks and two steals, Caleb Klassen with a game high eight rebounds to go with six assists, a block, two steals and nine points. Gradyn Childerhose had a game high two blocks to go with 18 points and six rebounds. James Wohlgeschaffen has a team high three steals to go with 11 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one block.
This concludes the Briercrest season, and the ACAC careers of fifth-year players, and 2012-13 ACAC All-Conference team members Kendell Boese, Gradyn Childerhose and Matt Myers after all three had incredible careers. Be sure to "like" Briercrest Basketball for photos and updates during the off-season.