Revved up defense breaks open tie at halftime
By Kara Giesbrecht
Briercrest men’s basketball broke away from a tight scoring game at halftime to claim a 102-90 victory over Grande Prairie Regional College.
The Briercrest Clippers stepped up their game defensively after a halftime break, down 41-42, pulling away from a neck and neck game against Grand Prairie.
Briercrest Player of the game Josiah Cockrill attributes defense to be the key to Briercrest winning offensively stating that they came out at halftime ready to “ramp it up” defensively.
The first quarter began with the teams playing up with a tight score, exchanging baskets until evening out at 6-6. Christian Sacoman broke the tie with the first three-pointer of the game. Grande Prairie responded, gaining only a slight lead, ending the quarter up 20-18.
Briercrest began the quarter at a 19 point standstill while Grande Prairie edged ahead of them 29-19. Tim Quiring broke the standstill with a bucket and Ryan Penner and Lucas Mannes followed suit dropping in threes to close in the lead 29-34. Another three from Sacoman helped bridge the gap 33-36. James Wohlgeschaffen’s steal gave Briercrest possession and Mannes sunk a buzzer beater, going into halftime down 41-42.
Briercrest came out of halftime revved up. Brandon Friesen was on a roll, claiming three consecutive buckets, even driving up the lane for a dunk.
Cockrill explained that the defense was the key to a dominant offense.
“We just tried to ramp it up on defense. Focus on our defense and get stops so that offense comes easier”
Defensive control led to an unstoppable Briercrest offense with Mannes, Wohlgeschaffen and Penner all contributing threes, exciting the fans and surpassing Grande Prairie, 71-63.
“We started having fun again and once you’re having fun, everything gets easier,” Cockrill said.
The final quarter was nothing short of fun as Briercrest defense shut down Grande Prairie’s offense. Cockrill was on fire, dumping in three consecutive shots to bring Briercrest up 78-65. Grande Prairie answered back but it wasn’t enough to do any damage. Sacoman was the first of a string of threes, followed by two in a row from Cockrill extending the lead 90-77.
“It was really easy to hit them because guys were making cuts and getting open for me...The shots were easy to hit once I got the ball,” explained Cockrill.
A basket off Wohlgeschaffen’s backward, over-the head, no-see pass to Friesen was a highlight of the quarter, Briercrest finishing strong 102-90.
Players of the game were Grande Prairie’s Jordan Teo with 28 points and Briercrest’s Josiah Cockrill with 14 points, one rebound, five assists and one steal.
Christian Sacoman went 6-6 on free throws to finish with 20 points. Lucas Mannes led with a game high nine rebounds, nine assists and five steals to go with 26 points. Brandon Friesen claimed Briercrest’s only block to go with 23 points and seven rebounds.
Briercrest led in three points, shooting 36.4% compared to Grande Prairie’s 20%. Grande Prairie dominated with 41 rebounds to Briercrest’s 27. Briercrest had 28 assists and Grande Prairie had 19. Grande Prairie allowed 25 turnovers while Briercrest allowed 19. Briercrest had 14 steals while Grande Prairie had 7.
The Briercrest Clippers take on Medicine Hat College next Friday, November 1 at 8:00pm in Medicine Hat.