The clock struck midnight for Mission’s Luke Morris and the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s basketball team in Calgary on Feb. 24.
After upsetting the Brandon University Bobcats in three games on Feb. 18, TRU played the Dinos hard in game one of the Canada West quarter-final series, but lost 75-71 on Feb. 23.
The WolfPack struggled in the first half, and trailed 43-24 at halftime, but a strong third quarter brought them back into the game. TRU outscored Calgary 24-9 in the third quarter to close the gap, and were within one point in the last two minutes of the game but couldn’t seal the deal.
TRU head coach Scott Clark said the first half buried his team.
“We melted down,” he said. “You can’t break down and turn over the ball like we did against a team like Calgary. They will make you pay. In the second half we did our job and it worked out. We just didn’t get the start we wanted.”
Morris contributed six points, six rebounds and two assists in game one.
Game two saw the WolfPack and the Dinos tied at 41 after the first half, but the more experienced Calgary team took over in the fourth quarter by outscoring TRU 23-12. The loss eliminated TRU from the playoffs. Morris collected eight points and five rebounds in game two.
Despite the setback, Clark said it was a good step for his team.
“Very proud of our guys,” he said. “This was the seventh road game for us in 15 days. We have a pretty young group. They stepped up and showed some toughness and determination. I was pleased with their effort. It was certainly a learning experience for them. We will take what we learned in the playoffs and move forward as a group.”
Morris will return for his fifth and final year at TRU next fall.
In other local basketball news, Mission’s Taylor Claggett and the UFV Cascades women’s basketball team have also been eliminated in the Canada West quarter-finals.
UFV eliminated the Calgary Dinos in Abbotsford on Feb. 19, but fell to the top-ranked Saskatchewan Huskies in three games in Saskatoon.
The Cascades dropped game one 78-55, but then bounced back in game two to win 74-62. Game three saw the Huskies take over in the second half to win the game 78-69 and dash the hopes of UFV.
Claggett was a force in the series, particularly in games two and three. She scored 19 in game three and 17 in game two, while also grabbing nine rebounds in the third game.
The sophomore star returns to UFV for her third year in green this fall.