On Saturday and Sunday, January 18 and 19, the VIU Mariners Basketball teams—Men’s and Women’s—hosted the Okanagan Coyotes for a total of four games stretched across the two day span. Naturally, each day would see one Women’s game and one Men’s game. By mid Sunday, each of the Mariners teams had two wins to add to their regular season record.

Saturday’s first jump ball took place at 6 pm on the Mariners’ home court. The Mariners Women’s Basketball team would go scoreless for the first two minutes of the game, providing an opportunity for the Coyotes to strike. The visiting team took a quick 5-0 lead over the Mariners before Starting Guard Danielle Vanbergen knocked down a pair of free throws to open up the lid. From that point on, it was the Mariners’ game. 

The first quarter ended with a 26-17 Mariners lead. Although both teams were cold to start the second, the Mariners found an in by attacking the paint. The Mariners held a 48-31 lead going into the half. 

Despite their healthy lead, the Mariners kept their foot on the gas pedal going through the second half. The Mariners ran up the score by attacking the basket, and locked Okanagan down on the defensive end. The third ended with a 69-44 Mariners lead. 

With the growing Coyote deficit, the Mariners coaching staff were given the opportunity to rotate through their roster. The benefits of team depth will likely be seen in the team’s future bouts. 

The Mariners Men’s Basketball Team had a tough act to follow as the Women’s team finished their game with a dominant 80-54 win. Additionally, they shot 43 percent from the three, pulled down 47 boards, and made 28 of their 37 free throws. 

Vanbergen finished the night with 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal, while her teammate Shayce Johnston came off the bench for 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and two steals. 

Following the 8 pm jump ball, Starting Mariners Guard for the Men’s team, Landon Radliff stuffed the first quarter stat sheet with 15 points, two rebounds, one assist, one block, and one steal. The Mariners held a 33-15 lead going into the second. 

The pace of the game was bogged down by early foul trouble from the Coyotes in the first, then by both teams in the second; both teams were in the bonus with two minutes left of the first half. Despite this, the Mariners pulled away with a 58-34 point lead going into halftime. 

Starting Mariners Forward Tyus Barfoot opened the third with a 3 off of an assist from Starting Guard Tori Odom. On the Mariners’ next possession, Odom would drop a 3 of his own, assisted by Radliff. This dominating display would continue as the Mariners ended the third with an 82-48 lead.

Like the Women’s team, the entire Men’s roster got minutes on the court, eventually winning the game 97-70.

Although rebounding was a tight competition, with VIU pulling down 41 and Okanagan 38, the statistics highlight how well the Mariners played: they shot 47 percent from the field, 39 percent from beyond the arc, and scored 40 points in the paint. 

That said, the Mariners Basketball teams weren’t the only highlight-reel-machines to step on the court for the Saturday Night festivities. 

The Mariners Dance Team conducted the home crowd during the action, and supplied electric performances between halves, as well as the third and fourth quarters. 

Julianna Tomaselli, Dance Team Senior, said that VIU finished Saturday night in strong fashion. Moreover, the home support was impressive considering the weather conditions. 

“There were a lot less students that night and a lot more parents and community members, which brought a whole different aspect to the games,” Tomaselli said. “With the crowd, it’s so much more fun for us to dance when there’s that energy, so I can imagine that same thing applies to the players of the teams as well.”

That said, the Mariners crowd that was present was determined to show their support. This is significant because the lack of student body support allowed the rowdy Coyote crowd to become much more vocal. 

The Dance Team was able to help the basketball teams tune out the hostile noise by hyping up the home crowd with their performances. 

“We have a hip hop dance, that we did,” Tomaselli said. “And we do traditional Pom style dance[s], with a bit of jazz.”

Unfortunately the basketball teams were left to their own devices on the following day, as the dance team was unable to attend. Fortunately, the Okanagan fans weren’t enough to throw the Mariners off of their game as they came into Sunday riding their hot streaks.

The Women’s team pushed their win streak to 10 in another blow out win over Okanagan. The final score was 83-59. Defence was the name of this game as the Mariners forced the Coyotes to turn the ball over 25 times, shoot 29 percent from the field, and an abysmal 18 percent from beyond the arc. 

The Mariners Men came out guns blazing, scoring 28 in the first quarter, for a 28-21 lead. Consistency was the theme of this game, as the Mariners went on to score 23 in the second 24, in the third, and 23 in the fourth, winning the game 98-76. The team also shot 43 percent from the field, 82 percent from the free throw line, and 54 of their points in the paint. 

The Mariners Women’s Basketball Team pushed their win streak to 10 and remain undefeated in the regular season. They are currently preparing for their match up at Capilano this Saturday and Sunday, January 25 and 26.

The Mariners Men’s Basketball Team have pushed their regular season record to 8-2. With their commanding victories over Okanagan, the Mariners have built a two-game win streak and hope to continue it going into this weekend’s action as they are also set to play at Capilano on the 25 and 26.