It has been a phenomenal year for the Briercrest Clippers men’s basketball team. Not only do they sit a top the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC), but also they have sat as the top team in the country for four weeks.
“We are pretty happy with what has happened…it has been a good year,” said Clippers coach Rod Adrian.
This was Adrian’s second season as head coach and after last year’s record of 4-14, he was able to develop his game plan in the off-season and set up his way of running the team. It paid off as the team finished their regular season with a 19-1 record.
“Coming into this season as a second year coach, I had a better handle on things, had a good recruitment class with some solid freshmen coming in, and having three fifth year players, including two returning to the school — Graydn (Childerhose) from the UofR and Matt Myers from a mission trip. Those have been the main reasons though,” explained Adrian.
With a list of veteran players and the outstanding play of Childerhose and Myers, the Clippers have been able to outscore their opponents big or win by a few points, if needed.
“We are on a 14 game win streak right now and the only game we did lose was after a long road trip to Fort McMurray. We don’t like to make excuses, but we were pretty tired in our only loss this year,” he stated. “We haven’t really hit a lull yet and our goal is to win 20 straight and win a national championship.”
Since the team is in first place, they have earned a bye to the ACAC conference championship the weekend of Mar. 1-3 in Fort McMurray. However, they will have to wait until after this weekend to see whom they will face in their opening match.
“Our first game will be against the lowest seed, so our challenge will be play at a high level and ensure we get our first win in the playoffs. After that, we just have to continue to play at a high level,” Adrian said.
Having a couple fifth year players and Childerhose as the leading scorer has assisted in building an identity for this team, something they had difficulties with last season.
“We are definitely a fast team and we wear teams down with our speed. Having the leading scorer in the league in Gradyn in our post game is great. We have a very balanced attack…every game we can count on one or two players to step up and score big and to also make good defensive plays,” he said.
Being the No. 1 team in Canada brings a lot of pressure, but the Clippers understand the added pressure and are using it as motivation instead.
“We are thankful that we have been ranked high most of the season, so we are getting used to it now. In a way, that is a bit of motivation to make sure we are playing our best to live up to that ranking. We try to perform like we are the No. 1 team in the country and I think that helps us,” said Adrian. “We definitely have a big challenge ahead of us coming from a small school, but we also have great chemistry and camaraderie and that’s another one of our strengths — the way we play together and the way we get a long on and off the court…it has been a great year for that.”