Rebels Advance Without Veteran Leader Olaes

The first men’s semifinal at the 2011 MCAC Final 4 Basketball Championships Saturday afternoon was a rematch of last year’s MCAC Championship game between Red River College and Canadian Mennonite University. The underdog Blazers came out shooting, gaining an 11-4 lead early. Both sides exchanged threes as CMU lead 22-15 after one.

A pair of buckets from all-conference selection Cory Neufeld got RRC back into the game quickly, but both teams displayed their scoring ability with offensive bursts being exchanged. Regular season co-MVP Wyatt Anders found himself at the line often, as the Rebels tried to stop his offensive production down low. Anders’ 7 points in the quarter gave CMU a 36-34 lead at the half.

The third quarter saw Red River come out fast and strong as freshman guard Chanse Kornick immediately dropped 4 of his 16 points on the day. A 13-4 run to start the half forced Blazer head coach Darcy Coss to call a timeout. When his squad returned, they switched to a 2-3 zone defence to try and halt the Rebels’ offensive burst. CMU’s Anders continued to be the focal point of the Blazer offence adding 8 in the quarter to his 16 on the day. However, the Blazers trailed 53-47 heading into the final frame.

Freshman guard Roger Beals and fourth-year veteran forward Dave Isbister helped CMU tie things up at 55, but it was Cory Neufeld and second-year standout Jason Malcolm pushing the Rebels ahead to a 69-59 victory.

Wyatt Anders was named CMU’s player of the game, while Jason Malcolm earned RRC’s nod with 15 points and strong on-court leadership in the absence of regular season co-MVP and team leader Josh Olaes. Olaes, a fifth-year guard and now three-time MVP is expected to dress for Sunday’s Championship final against the University of Winnipeg College Wesmen at 3 p.m.

More Final 4 Details here…

By Darrin Bauming

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