Zachary Worden, Cougar Athletics
CALGARY, Alta – The Mount Royal Cougars and Winnipeg Wesmen kicked off the new basketball season at Kenyon Court on Friday night.
The Cougars were able to win a back and forth game 88-66 with a huge fourth quarter to take their home-opener and start the season with a win.
The Cougars were lead offensively by John Hegwood and Josh Ross. Ross Exploded in the second half giving the Cougars a huge boost with his all-around play.
The Cougars started the game with some hot shooting and broke out to a 12-2 lead forcing an early Wesmen timeout. Hegwood came out of the gate on fire for the Cougars with 11 points including a huge alley-oop slam. The Wesmen responded by working their way to the free-throw line 10 times to keep the game within reach. The Cougars were able to shoot 56.3 percent in the quarter and took a 21-15 lead after the first 10 minutes.
The Wesmen started to control the pace of the game in the second quarter forcing a couple early Cougar turnovers and started on a 9-2 run and eventually take a 26-25 lead. Both teams got into the bonus in the quarter slowing the game down. The Cougars were able to retake the lead late in the quarter and go into halftime leading 32-30. The quarter also saw both teams struggle to make their shots as the Cougars shot 25 percent, while the Wesmen shot 33.3 percent. The Wesmen had four players with 5 or more points at the half spreading the offence around the team while the Cougars were lead by Hegwood and Ross who combined for 17 points 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
Glen Yang started the second half with two quick layups for the Cougars, but the Wesmen were able to answer and take the lead on a three-pointer from Billy Yaworsky. The Cougars turned to Ross who answered with eight consecutive points to take the lead back for the Cougars. A back and forth quarter saw both teams executing on offence as the Cougars saw their lead grow to as much as eight and shrink to three. After the last minute three from Ryan Cunningham that gave the Cougars a six-point the Cougars took a six-point lead into the fourth.
The Cougars scored the first seven points of the quarter forcing the Wesmen to take a timeout. The Cougars came out of the timeout and kept their foot on the gas expanding their lead to 19 with five minutes remaining in the game. The Wesmen couldn't get any shots to go in which allowed the Cougars to run away with the game outscoring the Wesmen by 29-13 in the fourth.
After the game Cougars coach Marc Dobell talked about the Cougars fourth quarter, "I thought we did a great job of picking up our defence in the fourth quarter and when we're able to get stops it makes it a lot easier to get scores".
The two teams tip-off Saturday night at 6 pm, MDT to cap off the first weekend of basketball at Mount Royal's Kenyon Court.