Fourth-year point guard Lindsay Harris (with the ball) has stepped up her game on both sides of the ball so far in the pre-season for the Acadia women's basketball team. Head coach Bev Greenlaw says continued strong play from veterans like Harris is crucial to the Axewomen success this season. (John DeCoste)
By John DeCoste
The Acadia men’s basketball team is still perfect entering its home opener Nov. 17 against the Memorial SeaHawks, and is itching to perform in front of the home fans.
After a 6-0 pre-season, the Axemen opened the regular season with a pair of wins this past weekend at UNB. Acadia won 69-53 Friday and 83-60 Saturday.
On the men’s side Acadia also opened the regular season with a pair of wins over UNB. The Axemen won 69-53 Nov. 9 and 83-60 Nov. 10.
In the first game, Jonathan Tull continued what has been a solid season so far with 22 points. Owen Klassen added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Rhys Larry also had 10 boards for the Axemen. Acadia led 32-27 at halftime, then won the third quarter 19-7.
In the second game, Klassen led the way with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Anthony Ashe with 14 points, Tull and Tom Filgiano with 13 and Shaquille Smith with 10 also reached double figures in scoring.
“We were pleased with our pre-season, as it gave us plenty of different situations to test ourselves in,” coach Steve Baur said last week.
His roster “was shaken up a bit through some injuries,” but “it gave us time to play different people together and gain valuable experience,” Baur added.
“The pre-season schedule and our lineups allowed us to best understand where our strengths and opportunities were.”
He said he felt the Axemen would face strong teams.
“The depth in the conference from 1-8,” he said, “will make every night a challenge.
“With such a competitive league, you can really only prepare one game at a time.”
The Axemen have been without Anthony Sears, who is projected to be ready to return from injury in early December. Sean Stoqua, a two-sport athlete, is set to rejoin the Axemen following the close of the varsity football season.
Other Axemen, including Tyler Scott, States and Filgiano, are battling minor injuries.
Women sweep weekend
After a 6-4 pre-season that saw them battle injuries as well as their opponents, the Axewomen will also host Memorial this weekend.
The Axewomen kicked off the regular season this past weekend at UNB by sweeping the V-Reds, winning 82-67 Friday and 83-58 Saturday. Third-year guard Kristy Moore was the story offensively with 38 points Friday and 29 more Saturday.
In the first game, Acadia took a 21-10 lead after one quarter, but UNB kept it relatively close until the Axewomen put the game away with a 27-20 fourth quarter.
Abbey Duinker added 15 points and nine rebounds, and Emily Nkosi finished with 13 points and five boards.
The next day, Acadia won the first quarter 27-12 en route to a win in which they led the entire game. In addition to Moore, Nkosi had 19 points and Duinker 16.
Head coach Bev Greenlaw said not many Axewomen managed to get through the pre-season 100 per cent healthy.
“We played in Ontario with seven players and Rachel (Savage) about half-speed,” he said.
Greenlaw said the trip, in which the Axewomen lost to Laurier and McMaster before defeating Guelph, “was a good experience.
“It was both a character-building and character-testing weekend, in which we got to meet all three of those teams in their home gym.”
“The conference appears strong again this year,” Greenlaw said of the region’s teams, “but it’s very difficult to predict what we’re going to see.“
Providing everyone is healthy, the Axewomen look to be a good team, albeit a different looking team than the one that won the conference title last season.
Greenlaw confirmed Jessica Boutilier has left the program for personal reasons. He has activated Carlie MacDonald from the suspended list. Everyone else is in place – the thing now is for them to all get healthy and stay that way.
“Once that happens,” Greenlaw said, “we can start to build a basketball team.”
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