Eoin Colquhoun, Pronghorn Athletics
LETHBRIDGE – Opening the best of three quarter-final, the Lethbridge Pronghorns caught fire early and were in complete control from start to finish, drawing first blood with a 115-68 win over the Regina Cougars.
Scoring the game's first seven points, the conference's second ranked offence during the regular season, was clicking on all cylinders from the opening tip, scoring a season high 115 points. Lethbridge was also surprisingly efficient from behind the arc. In conference action this season, Lethbridge was 11th in three-point percentage at 32.2% but finished the night, going 12-for-21.
Regina struggled to find their comfort zone at either end of the floor all night, hitting only 4-of-26 from behind the arc, while scoring only 27 first half points and turning the ball over 26 times.
Lethbridge had contributions throughout the line up with six players reaching double digits but Zac Overwater led all scorers with 24 points and completed the double-double with 11 rebounds. Dejon Burdeaux, who missed the majority of the second half of the season, put up 22 points. Colton Gibb, Saren Westrup and Awak Piom picked up 19, 15 and 14 points respectively.
For the Cougars, Brandon Tull was the lone Cougar to hit double digits with 13 points. Alex Igual chipped in with nine points.
Using their home court to their advantage, the Pronghorns opened with a 13-2 run and had a near perfect opening quarter, outscoring Regina 33-13. During the quarter, the Pronghorns were on fire from long range, hitting seven of eight from behind the arc and overall shot the ball better than 55%.
Overwater and Colton Gibb led the way for the Pronghorns with nine points apiece.
Regina, on the other hand in the first 10 minutes were the polar opposite, hitting on only 5-of-18 from the floor, including missing all six three-pointers attempted. The Cougars also turned the ball over seven times in the opening quarter.
While the Pronghorns pace slowed offensively in the second quarter, they were still able to keep Regina's offence out of rhythm and increase their lead to as many as 32 points and a 55-27 lead at the break.
In the half, Lethbridge finished 52.9% from the floor and hit eight from long range. Regina had a slight improvement in the second half, increasing their shooting percentage from 27.8% to 29.7% through the opening two quarters. From behind the arc, the Cougars missed their first 13 attempts but hit their final two attempts in the half.
Overwater put up another seven points to lead all scorers with 16 points, while Gibb had 12 at the break and Dejon Burdeaux put up six second quarter points to head into the half with 11.
For Regina, Brandon Tull, Alex Ugual and Shaquielle Harris had six, five, and four points respectively to lead the Cougars in the opening half.
Lethbridge continued their scoring prowess in the third quarter, putting up another 34 points and removing any doubt in outcome of game one, leading 89-48. After only scoring 27 points in the opening half, the Cougars offence found a better tempo, scoring 21 points, but just didn't have an answer for the offence of Lethbridge.
With the result already decided both teams emptied the bench and despite putting up their second consecutive 20 point quarter, Regina continued to lose ground with Lethbridge scoring 26 points and cruising to the game one victory.
Game two of the best of three quarter-final tips off tomorrow night at the 1st Choice Savings Centre at 7:00pm. Catch all the action on www.canadawest.tv.