Above: Mariners Forward Jalen Schlegel leaves his feet in celebration in the pregame warmup. ???? Cole Schisler

By Sports and Lifestyle Editor Cole Schisler

On Friday, January 6, the VIU Mariners hosted the Quest Kermodes for the PACWEST Basketball game of the week. The Mariners came back to win the match in a stunning 85-71 finish over the Kermodes.

“A lot our guys have been sick this week, so we haven’t had a full practice roster,” Mariners Head Coach Matt Kuzminski said. “This wasn’t a game where we had the energy that we needed, or the execution, but I give our guys a lot of credit for staying with it, and we were able to make a lot of big shots to get us the win.”

Both teams jostled for the lead throughout the match. In the first quarter, the Mariners led 19-14 over the Kermodes. The Kermodes overtook the Mariners early in the second quarter and led 33-30 at the half. The Mariners finished the third quarter with a two point 51-49 lead over the Kermodes going into the final quarter. The Kermodes regained their lead in half-way through the fourth quarter, and led the Mariners 57-53. The Mariners clawed their way back, and after a precise three-point shot from forward Jalen Schlegel, the Mariners regained the lead to end the match with a 85-71 victory.

Mariners Guard Bryson Cox had a high scoring game with 24 points, Montell Lindgren tallied 17 points and 3 rebounds, Jason Schlegel had 16 points after nailing both of his three point attempts, and Kaz Kobayashi put up 10 points with four rebounds in the game.

“I thought the first half was slow, we picked up our pressure on defense in the second half, we’re going to have to build off that for tomorrow’s match,” Coach Kuzminski said. “I think tomorrow’s game will be much tougher. We’ll be going up against a fast-paced team, and we’ll have to be ready for the challenge.”

Despite the challenge, the Mariners were ready, and beat the Langara Falcons 86-66 on Saturday.

The Mariners trounced the Falcons with an explosive first quarter performance. The Mariners racked up 36 points and held the falcons to only 9 points. At the half, the Mariners led 52-28. The Mariners maintained their lead throughout the match, perhaps getting a bit too comfortable with their lead towards the end. However, the Mariners finished the match with a 86-66 victory.

“We just have to keep building,” Coach Kuzminski said. “We have not had our full roster for a single game yet, we’re always missing somebody. We’re trying to get healthy and get all our guys together to build some chemistry and get some momentum going into the future.”

Next week, the Mariners will travel to Vancouver to take on the Douglas Royals on January 13, and the Capilano Blues on January 14. The next Mariners home game will take place on January 27 against the Columbia Bible College Bearcats.

Cole is a second-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in creative writing, minoring in political science. He has an interest in all things exciting, mundane, or otherwise. He hopes to one day become an author, actor, comedian, editor, and rapper, while moonlighting as an astronaut.