The Mariners basketball teams hosted Camosun College in the annual Island Rivalry games Nov. 2. Both squads defeated the Chargers: the men in a close 83–73 match and the women with a little more ease, 58–45.
In the women’s game, Heather McCarthy led the way with 16 points, while Shayna Worthington tallied 15 points and nailed a trio of 3-point shots. The M’s harassed Camosun with 20 steals and converted 17 points off turnovers, going on to drain 80 percent of their free throws.
Camosun controlled much of the first half and led the Mariners until surrendering 11 quick points before half time. VIU dominated from the second half, and went into the fourth quarter with a 17-point cushion.
“[We are] happy with the first win of the season. Always nice to win your first game at home,” coach Bill McWhinnie says.
The men took to the court after the women for a nail-biting second game of the evening. Despite holding an 18-point lead over Camosun in the fourth quarter, the Mariners nearly fell victim to a late comeback that saw the visitors pull within three points twice in the final minutes.
The first half was a see-saw battle with 12 lead changes, though VIU would remain in the lead for the rest of the game. Brandon Jones sunk 22 points, 8 rebounds, and made 4-of-5 free throws.
“It was nice to win our first league game,” head coach Matt Kuzminski says. “Camosun was a tough opponent who battled the entire game, we had some good moments but also struggled at times. The season is a continuous process and we are trying to get better every day.”
Jordan Elvedahl had a fantastic game for Camosun, collecting 30 points and making seven 3-point shots on ten attempts. His 35 minutes on the court were the most of any player.
“I don’t know how many people actually noticed he had 30 points and 8 assists,” says Camosun coach Scot Cuachon. “Jordan’s performance on Friday was quiet and effective. He is not a flashy player by any means but he is an extremely hard worker and I trust him whole heartedly in his decision making.”
“He took the right shots to help the team which is all he ever wants to do. He brings to us unequivocal leadership both on and off the floor. ”
Students gathered for a BBQ prior to watching VIU take on Camosun—free to any fan clad in a VIU Nation t-shirt. Approximately 400–500 stayed to watch the games.
Matches against Camosun usually draw a large crowd, and McWhinnie felt Mariners fans gave his team an edge against the Chargers.
“The environment when we play against Camosun is what makes the night so enjoyable,” McWhinnie says. “The crowd gives us a great home court advantage and you can see the girls play off of their energy.”
Kuzminski also welcomed the cheers from VIU Nation. “The atmosphere was great. The fans were out in large numbers and they were loud. We really appreciate the support and hope it continues this season.”
Both squads are on the road this weekend to take on the Quest University Kermodes and Capilano University Blues. The men defeated Capilano 68–47 in a preseason tournament last month. On Nov. 23 the Mariners travel south to Camosun for an Island Rivalry rematch with the Chargers.
The Mariners return home Nov. 30 for matches against Columbia Bible College and Kwantlen in their final league matches before the Christmas break.