SAIT at CCAA Men's Basketball Nationals

Emmanuel Enabu (#9) and Enoque Michel (#5) defend against Langara
Emmanuel Enabu (#9) and Enoque Michel (#5) defend against Langara

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

The Washington connection.

Ian Tevis is from Kent, Washington while Charlie Connor and John Smith are from Lacey, Washington.

It's about a 45-miniute drive between the two towns.

It's an additional 12-hour drive to Calgary, Alberta but somehow, the three arrived at SAIT to join the Trojans men's basketball team to form a Terrific Three.

Each arriving at different times, they have played an integral part in the Trojans three-peating as Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference champions.

Smith and Connor made the ACAC South All-Conference First Team while Tevis got a nod on the ACAC South All-Conference First Team.

Putting their stats together they combined to average 57.8 points per game, 18.1 rebounds per game, 12.2 assists and 6.4 steals per game.

During their last two trips to Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men's Basketball Championships they have come up short of the medal rounds, placing 5th in Charlottetown, PEI in 2017 and 6th last year in Laval, QC .

This year the CCAA finals were being held in Langley, BC and hosted by Langara College.

John Smith (#11), SAIT Trojans

That's like being back on home court for the three with only a 2 hour 45 minutes' drive to their home towns across the border.

Game 1

Quarter Final

SAIT 84 VIU 102

Tipping off Thursday against the Vancouver Island University (VIU) Mariners , the Trojans lead 52-37 at the half.

The Mariners (PACWEST) went on a 31-16 run in the third period to tie it up 68-68 and kept up the pressure to win 102-84.

According to the boxscre the Mariners shot an incredible 70% from the field in the fourth period where they scored 34 points.

The Terrific Three were close to their combined seasonal averages with 15 rebounds compared to 18.1; 6 steals compared to 6.4 steals but fell far behind in distribution of the ball with only 4 assists compared to the 12.2 average.

They combined for 42 points with Smith notching a team high 23 points, Tevis 18 while Connor was unable to score in 31 minutes of action but contributed with 7 rebounds before fouling out.

"(VIU) is a good team. They won their championship for a reason," said Trojans head coach Marty Birky in an interview posted on the SAIT website. "We just can't go ice cold and expect to win."

Enoque Michel (#5) vs Humber Hawks

"Sometimes the ball doesn't drop, so you have to find ways to get scores, whether it's attacking the rim or getting fouled and making free throws. We didn't do that. We just kept shooting tough shots.".

Game 2

SAIT Trojans 82 Humber Hawks 90

Bronze Quarter Final

Trojans first lead came at 6:49 of the second period on a Camille Kamba layup 24-23.

Trojans largest lead of the game would be seven points 32-25.

Humber, playing out of Etobicoke, Ontario led 42-35 at the half.

A Tevis three-pointer with 1:34 remaining in the third period brought SAIT within striking distance 61-58

Back-to-back threes by Hawks' Fowzi Mohamoud quieted the Trojans rally; now down 67-63 after three periods.

A Connor layup with 1:13 remaining was the closest the Trojans would come...down 83-75.

Connor dropped a game high 24 points while windexing 9 boards and dishing 5 assists.

Tevis chipped in with 18 points.

Smith came off the bench to play 38 minutes, scoring 13 points while adding 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

"This loss is on me," said head coach Birky in an interview. "We focused so much on our offence that our defence really let us down, so I'm going to take this one.

"We have very prideful guys, so if we can't get up to finish this off with a win, I'll go to our bench. But, I'm confident that we will be ready to go."

Game 3

SAIT Trojans 114 Langara Falcons

"Ready to go" was the word as the Trojans passed the century mark 114 to host Langara Falcons 99.

Trojans outscored their opponents on each period: 27-24, 1st period; 31-25, 2nd period; 31-26 third period and 25-24 fourth period.

Tevis dropped 43 points, Smith 27 and Conner 20.

Tevis completing his post-secondary career added 10 rebounds and 7 steals.

"We wanted to get everyone in, and we did that. We were happy to see everyone contribute in their own way," said Birky. "This was an interesting tournament in that the top seven ranked teams in the country were here; it's my third time here and that's never happened. . . The coaches here have joked if we re-jumbled the matchups, we would have a completely different result, but that's the way it goes."

"We had a great year, and we can appreciate it for a bit, But, we're still chasing that national title.".

The gold medal went to VIU Mariners over Sheridan Bruins 85-82.

Bronze medal status found the Hawks defeating Nomades de Montmorency 84-76 in overtime.

Last time the ACAC captured CCAA men's gold was in 2015-2016 when NAIT Ooks defeated Humber Hawks79-74 in Fort McMurray, Alberta and hosted by the Keyano Huskies.