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Gritty Timberwolves efforts falls short in 87-83 loss to Fraser Valley

The UNBC Timberwolves didn’t go away easy, but the UFV Cascades did just enough to hold off the TWolves, earning a hard-fought 87-83 win on Saturday, January 29th, 2022 in Prince George, BC.

In the first quarter, the Cascades picked up where they left off on Friday, particularly on the defensive end, swarming and thwarting much of the TWolves offense. Kyle Claggett opened the game with three consecutive buckets to help the visitors get out to an early lead that they’d nto relinquish the rest of the quarter. Spencer Ledoux and Tyrell Laing each made a pair of difficult baskets for UNBC, but the Timberwolves trailed 23-13 after ten minutes.

In the second frame, UFV reserves Zubair Seyed, Ahmad Athman, and Dario Lopez proved to be effective, helping the Cascades stretch their lead to 13 points. UNBC coach Todd Jordan substituted David Tiessen into the game, and the freshman proved him right, making a three and providing physicality against a long Cascades attack. With senior Payton Tirrell playing the role of distributor and Tyrell Laing proving why he is one of the most dangerous guards in the conference, the TWolves climbed all the way back, and found themselves down 42-39 at the half.

“I have been waiting for a chance and when I got out there, I tried to treat like I was in practice,” said Tiessen. “Ran the offense, played D, and got some looks that thankfully dropped. Getting your name called, it’s a little overwhelming, but as soon as you’re on the court, you lock in and it all goes away.”

Laing was the leading scorer, playing all 20 minutes and scoring 14 points. Tirrell added seven points and five assists, while Fareed Shittu had seven points. The scoring was distributed evenly for UFV, with nine players hitting the scoresheet.

Early in the second half, it was again the Cascades getting out to the better start, re-establishing a lead thanks to some good work from veteran Jordyn Sekhon and energy big Dario Lopez. The TWolves settled down, and began to chip away again, using a Payton Tirrell bucket and Ledoux and-one to cut the deficit down to two at the 1:40 mark of the frame. However back-to-back treys from Lopez and Dylan Kinley made it a 10-point game once again with a quarter to play.

Fraser Valley had momentum early in the fourth, and it showed, as Vick Toor pushed the ball on offense, leading to another Kinley three, and one of his own. With the deficit at 15, UNBC showed their grit. Tiessen made another three-pointer, and the Timberwolves looked inside to their post duo of Shittu and and Ledoux, who helped them claw back into the game with some tough buckets. However, the Timberwolves ran out of time, falling 87-83 to the Cascades.

“We wanted to get one from them, but they were good. We battled, and pushed them late,” said Tiessen, post game. “We almost had them. It was a good fight.”Lopez led the way for the Cascades with 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Claggett had 15 points. Vick Toor had ten points to go along with eight helpers, and Kinley added 14 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

Laing paced UNBC with 19 points, to go along with five assists and four rebounds, while Tirrell had 16 points, nine assists, and six boards. Shittu had 17 points and eight rebounds, while Ledoux added 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting.

With the defeat, UNBC falls to 4-9, while the Cascades improve to 7-4 on the season.

“We still have some things to figure out as a team. We are taking steps day by day,” said Tirrell. “It is going to come down to playing harder and doing the little things. We need to rebound better as a team and defend better. That’s off the ball and on the ball. We got beat backdoors, me included, and we just need to get rid of those kinds of things. We need to lock in.”

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