It’s not a banner year unless you win the banner, and the Vancouver Island University Mariners men’s basketball team has done just that.
With forward Tyler Olsen of Fanny Bay in the lineup, the Ms captured the BCCAA Provincial championship, defeating Douglas College Royals 102-78 and University of Northern B.C. Timberwolves 96-90 in Abbotsford on the weekend.
The 6’6″ Olsen, a Mark R. Isfeld grad in his junior year with the Mariners, shot 4-for-6 from the field and went 1-for-1 from the free throw line to finish with nine points and also hauled in seven rebounds in VIU’s convincing win over the Royals on Friday.
On Saturday, Olsen went 3-for-4 from the charity stripe to finish with three points and contributed four boards and two assists in the banner-cliniching win over the T-Wolves.
“Tyler has been a very nice addition to our frontline,” said VIU head coach Tony Bryce, who guided the Ms to a second-place finish at last year’s B.C.s
“He brings length and athleticism, which results in rebounding and altered shots. As Tyler continues to learn our system and sets, I expect his scoring to gradually increase,” Bryce said.
Last year, Olsen finished in the top 10 in BCCAA scoring and rebounding. The former Isfeld Ice stalwart is studying Recreation and Sports Management at the Nanaimo university.
“Tyler was a key part of our 2007 and 2008 squads that went to provincials two years in a row,” said Isfeld coach Colin Cunningham. “He was a first-team Island all-star when we won the Island championships and finished seventh at the B.C.s.
“He is an intense competitor, a great scorer, defender, rebounder and shot blocker. He has worked hard on his ball-handling and shooting to move his game outside at the college level. Ice Basketball is proud of Tyer and wish him and the VIU Mariners good luck at Nationals,” Cunningham added.
The Mariners are now preparing for those CCAA national championships, which go March 17-19 at Durham College in Oshawa. Fans can follow the action live on the nationals website at www.ccaamensbasketball2011.ca.
“VIU has been ranked No. 1 in Canada for several weeks and will likely enter the nationals seeded No. 1,” said VIU athletics spokesperson Brent Dunlop.