By Rodrigo Verney, March 14 2022—
Just like that, the University of Calgary Dinos saw their season coming to a halt as the Trinity Western Spartans led by guard Mason Bourcier stole the upsetter at the Jack Simpson Gym. The game was far from being an easy win for the visiting team, however, as the Dinos put up a fight from the beginning to the end. Losing the game 102–92, the ten points margin will serve as a lesson no athlete on that court will forget any time soon.
The game will be remembered as a breakout performance for the Trinity guard, as Boucier lead the Spartans early on. Starting the game on a 12–2 run, this firm grasp was shown down after some trading, Isiah Reimer, the 6’4” Spartan was allowed too many clean looks from the wing, his hottest area.
The flourish of Spartan points ultimately ended on a 32–24 Spartan lead first quarter. The first quarter usually sets the tone for the rest of the game and the Dinos had to take notes if they wanted to get a quick comeback going.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. A variety of points were allowed in transition, which forced the defense to gravitate towards the Spartan point guard Tre Fillmore to slow down the passes and, subsequently, the flow of the game.
This only resulted in more points from Bourcier, who was able to take advantage of the zone defense being collapsed by Fillmore once he strategically positioned himself in the middle of the free-throw line. This sucked the defense in, which allowed for a barrage of three-pointers, making the Dinos regroup nine points down 52–43 at the end of the half.
This isn’t to say that U of C didn’t have its own highlights throughout the first half. Selfless, confident and fast-paced basketball were the key ideas displayed. The help from the home crowd was felt by the team, as they made precise jump shots from all corners of the court.
Ezeoha Santiago found every dime he could and fed players like Aidan Smith who converted half of every shot he took — whether that was from within or beyond the arc. Noah Wharton was able to convert the ball with a lot of high-efficiency shots he was able to create for himself.
All of them combined with the veteran know-how displayed by the on- and off-ball movement of the seniors compensated to help on Dino’s run, so that they could get back on the game. That effort was amazing, to say the least, managing to cut the lead down to six points at the end of the third to put all of the fans on the edge of their seat.
The final quarter of the game began in the grasp of both teams. The Spartans had a small lead over the Dinos and the fans let them know given how loud the arena was. The excitement coupled with the fans cheering on led to the biggest Dino bucket — A Jeffrey Tezo three pointer from the wing with five minutes left to play, cutting the lead down to four points.
This was a highlight for the season, but it wasn’t able to contain the Canada West All-Star in Bourcier as he went on to finish the game with 41 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists, making this his second consecutive triple double.
As the late great Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant once said: “Everything negative-pressure, challenges- is all an opportunity for me to rise.“
Even though U of C will remember this early tournament exit as a tough loss, it has to be remembered as so much more than that. It’s also a testament of prevalence, how we can rise after any challenge. How we are ready to face any challenge the world throws at us, as athletes and as students. This is much more than a lesson, it’s an opportunity to come back even better.