Clippers looking up in second half

Katie Brickman
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Men’s basketball team loses Mannes, adds Wolverton

At the end of last season, the Briercrest Clippers men’s basketball team was ranked first in the country.

Brandon Friesen of the Briercrest Clippers beats out defenders from Lethbridge College during action in the first half of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference season in Caronport. Submitted photo

They have a lot of work to do in the second half of this season if they want to get back to that spot.

“We are off to a 7-3 record to start the season off and currently sit in third period in ACAC action and 11th in Canada,” said Rod Adrian, head coach of the Clippers. “It was a good start to the season and the focus is on the team and the chemistry we have as a team.”

In many of their games, the Clippers have been in tight with their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) opponents. They hold, on average, an 89-83 point difference in their first 10 games in the first half.

“We are concerned about our record, but that is not our primary goal,” said Adrian. “Our goal is to be in the playoffs and ultimately get to nationals, which are in B.C. this year.”

The Clippers get back to action this weekend at home against Concordia University College and Keyano College (8 p.m., Reimer Gym), both teams they haven’t not yet seen this season.

“We are just wanting to have a good start, as it has been about a month since we last played,” he said. “We are really motivated and excited to get back at it.”

The team has continued to work on their up-tempo style in practice as they prepare for the second half.

“Our strength is our speed. We play really fast and we put a lot of pressure on teams,” said Adrian. “Our goal is to move ahead in the standings with these first four games. We play four different teams within the first two weeks, so it will give us a good test as to where we rank with the other teams. I am very positive about how we will do.”

The team will look slightly different from the first semester, as their leading scorer, Lucas Mannes accepted an offer at Trinity Western University and has left the Clippers organization. In his place will be veteran Justin Wolverton who didn’t play last semester.

“We’ve had a few changes to our roster going into the second semester for a variety of reasons. So, our goal is to come together as a team, to continue with the momentum that we have got in the first semester and improve on that,” said Adrian.

Although a No. 1 rank in the country would be the tip of another great season, the Clippers are realistic of their chances and are hoping for a top 10 finish.

“That is exactly what we are trying to achieve,” said Adrian. “Every team’s goal is to be successful in the playoffs and we are trying to do that.”

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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