Briercrest Basketball ends an era and begins another
The Briercrest basketball teams ended an era on two fronts at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season as head coach Rod Adrian transitioned from the basketball court to become Briercrest College VP Finance and Operations during the second semester and stalwart post player Brandon Friesen ended his five year career.
The men’s basketball team had many injuries throughout the year, particularly in the first semester, and this had an influence on their ACAC record.
A highlight for the team was Brandon Friesen coming back from a broken collar bone to be named an ACAC South Second Team All-Conference. The fifth-year post ranked second in the ACAC South with 20.27 points/game and first with 10.53 rebounds/game. He ended his career ranked 19th in the ACAC with 512 career rebounds, and fourth in blocks with 49.
Second-year guard Ryan Penner also had a strong season, ranking fourth in the ACAC south with 15.91 points/game and third with 2.41 three-pointers/game. Rookie forward Julian Apakoh had a strong year as well, leading the team in with 26 steals, while ranking second with 23 three-pointers and 125 rebounds, and third on the team with 12.3 points/game and 40 assists.
Though the men’s basketball team did not succeed on the score board in the way that they had hoped, Adrian was proud of his team this year.
“Though our record was not what we hoped for, as we only won one game, we were competitive in most of them,” he said. “As a team we worked hard, showed tremendous improvement, and remained close as brothers as we battled towards a common goal – to play One Body, For Him. Personally, this was my fourth and final year coaching the Briercrest men and I am truly grateful for every moment that I have enjoyed with the team. Could we have done better, yes, but in measuring success I believe that we achieved lifelong friendships, and allowed others to see Christ shining through us. Four years ago I had a dream of praying at center court after each game, and through the years we didn’t miss one opportunity to give praise, and offer prayer for our opponents. Only a few times did the other team not join us over the years, and I’m thrilled to see this practice being multiplied in the other sports here at Briercrest as a testimony to God.”
Like their male counterparts, the women’s basketball team worked through their fair share of injuries throughout the season. Though playing some tough, close games throughout the season, they were unable to get an ACAC regular season win.
Second-year post, and team captain, Amy Wanvig had another strong season, being named ACAC South Second Team All-Conference. The BA Applied Linguistics student had a strong overall season, highlighted by leading the ACAC South with a field goal percentage of 50.8%, second in free-throw efficiency with 84.2%, fourth with 194 rebounds and second with nine double-doubles. She was also named a CCAA Academic All-Canadian for the 2014-15 season.
Fourth-year guard Brooke Olmstead returned to the team after a two year absence and graduated with a BA in Biblical Studies. She ranked second on the team in several categories including a field-goal percentage of 40.4%, 64 free-throws made, and 154 rebounds, while ranking third with 192 points. She also led the team with 73 assists, 49 steals and 116 defensive rebounds (ranked fourth in the ACAC). Third-year forward Tracy Frimpong ranked second on the team with 8.4 points/game and free-throw percentage of 72.8%. Second-year guard Hannah Klassen led the team with 26 three-point shots made.
There was new leadership after the Christmas break that carried out through to the end of the season, with coach Rod Adrian adding the role of women’s basketball coach to end the season.
“When the season started out I had no idea that I would be able to finish it coaching the women’s team,” he said. “They handled the transition with grace, and worked hard in competing at the highest level they could. Through the difficult times and the fun times there was always a sense that God was looking after us as a team, and that we were cared for. I really appreciated the opportunity to coach the women and will always remember the joy of starting my game days off with women’s basketball before coaching the men’s team.
The basketball teams will be in the capable hands of Gradyn Childerhose (men’s) and Dwight Olney (women’s), as they work hard to build their teams for the 2015-16 season and beyond. They are both hard at work to retain student-athletes, while recruiting new basketball players and putting their stamp on their respective programs.
For up to date information on the Briercrest Basketball team, “like” the Briercrest Basketball Facebook page.