Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lakehead Basketball Gets Political Props

Easily the biggest strength of the Lakehead Basketball program is the continued support of the alumni, current students and of course the people and community of Thunder Bay.
Never has this been more evident than during the past season where the team played before a number of home sell-outs in en route to a 12-1 record at the Thunderdome amidst the best atmosphere in CIS basketball.

Since the completion of a history making 2010-11 season the team has been recognized by some of its more powerful supporters. This past week the team accepted congrats and awards at both Thunder Bay City Hall and the Office of the President of Lakehead University. Monday, March 28 the team rubbed elbows with the likes of Mayor Keith Hobbs and councilmen Hebert, Ruberto and MacKinnon while the following day we were treated to a custom made cake and afternoon celebration with Dr. Brian Stevenson, the President of L.U.

Recently the team drew mention in the 'biggest house in province' as local MPP Bill Mauro made time to note the team's accomplishments. Below is the transcript of what was read before the house as well as a video link to the action on March 9, 2011.

The Transcript:

Hansard - March 9th, 2011


Mr. Bill Mauro: Last weekend, for the very first time in the school’s history, Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University Thunderwolves won the Wilson Cup, which is the OUA championship for men’s basketball.

During the semifinal action, the Thunderwolves defeated the University of Ottawa 71-69 and followed that up in the finals with a 77-62 victory over the top-ranked team, the Carleton Ravens, the first loss in league play of the year for the Ravens.

Led by Coach Scott Morrison, the Lakehead Thunderwolves are now off to Halifax, where they’ll make their second straight appearance at the national championships.

I’ve been a fan of basketball for a long time and I played the game for many years, so I’m especially excited by the Thunderwolves’ victory. When I was in high school, I remember watching the great Lakehead Norwesters teams of the 1970s. The current Thunderwolves have brought back that tradition of excellence. They’ve shown that they can take on the best teams in Ontario. It’s fantastic to see our men’s program back competing at a high level.

I want to congratulate the entire team for their hard work and their excellent performance. Special congratulations to the local standouts Andrew Hackner and Matt Schmidt, who have contributed to seeing the first OUA basketball championship banner hung from the rafters of Lakehead University.

Tipoff for the Thunderwolves’ first game at the national championship is 2:15 p.m. this Friday, against the fifth-seed Trinity Western Spartans. I’ll be cheering for you, and so will the rest of Thunder Bay.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Top North American Trainer in Thunder Bay

One of the top basketball specific strength and conditioning coaches in the world will be holding a weekend clinic in Thunder Bay this June. Please click on the link in our "Camps & Leagues" section for brochure and registration details.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE! Please forward to anyone who you think might benefit from this experience.

Lakehead University Women’s Basketball and Head Coach Jon Kreiner are very proud to announce that we will be hosting Alan Stein, the top basketball specific trainer in the United States, for an All Inclusive Player Development Clinic in June. The dates for the Cutting Edge Clinic are June 3-5 and it will be held at the CJ Sanders Fieldhouse on the LU campus. The clinic will feature 2 divisions: 1) Junior Girls and Boys (Grade 6-8) as well as 2) Senior Girls and Boys (Grade 9-12).

And as an added bonus - former LU women’s assistant coach Brandon Rafuse, who works with Alan at his Cutting Edge Clinics in Canada, will be offering an Advanced Perimeter Player Clinic.

Players interested in signing up for both clinics will be treated to 10 hours of instruction over the course of the weekend (6 hours with Coach Stein and 4 hours with Coach Rafuse).

Please see attached for the Clinic Brochure & Registration Form. You can reserve your spot today by emailing

Clinic Cost:

Athletes who are registering for both the Alan Stein and Brandon Rafuse components (10 hours) to this clinic before May 1st $190.00

Athletes who are registering for both the Alan Stein and Brandon Rafuse components (10 hours) to this clinic after May 1st $215.00

Athletes who are registering ONLY for the Alan Stein component to this clinic (6 hours) $150.00

*Family discount available. Please inquire for more information.

This is a truly unique, once in a lifetime opportunity that you certainly don't want to miss.!

A Few Words from Alan Stein about this Cutting Edge Clinic…

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to hold workouts in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I have a ton of new drills, exercises and concepts that I am excited to share! You won’t want to miss this…”

– Alan Stein, Owner of

A Few Words from Brandon Rafuse about this Cutting Edge Clinic…

“I am very excited to return to Thunder Bay and even more excited for athletes in Northern Ontario to experience the Stronger Team difference. This experience will take your game to new heights.”

– Brandon Rafuse, Director & Head Coach of Thunder Selects Basketball

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lakehead Basketball Announces 2nd Recruit

For Official Release Click Here

New LU Basketball Addition: J.R. Alexander

March 21st, 2011

Author: Hugh Mullally

Lakehead Athletics and head men’s basketball coach Scott Morrison are pleased to announce that Sylvestor “J.R.” Alexander has committed to joining the varsity basketball team upon enrolling at Lakehead in September 2011. Alexander is a 6’2” combo guard who starred in both basketball and football at Grant Park high school in Winnipeg.

“We are very excited to welcome J.R. to our program and basketball family. Not only is he an excellent athlete with unlimited potential at the next level, he is a good kid who has fit in well with our returning players during the recruiting process." said Coach Morrison of his latest addition.

Alexander has started at both quarterback and the point guard position for the Grant Park Pirates and has recently been named one of the top ten schoolboy basketball players in the province of Manitoba by the Winnipeg Sun. His resume also includes being named a top ten football player in the province and earning a 2nd team all-star at the Canadian U15 national basketball championships while representing Manitoba.

Alexander looks forward to joining his new school and team in September:

“I am very happy to commit to Lakehead for the next stage of my student-athlete career. Aside from being a successful basketball team, I chose Lakehead due to the fact there is a close bond amongst its players and a hard working and successful coaching staff leading the group. I look forward to putting in a lot of work this summer to be prepared for the next step in Thunder Bay.”

Sylvestor Alexander is the second recruiting announcement for the Thunderwolves as local product Alex Robichaud announced his intentions back in mid-January. Robichaud went on to lead Superior High School to their first Thunder Bay city championship in late February.

Coach Morrison hopes to add more newcomers to this year’s class in the upcoming weeks: “While we do not lose a high % of our roster this year, we have the potential to have up to eight seniors in our lineup next season. This is an important recruiting class to help us take the next step in 2012 but to also form the future core of the team as we move towards a new era in Lakehead basketball.”

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fifth-place finish -

Fifth-place finish -

Leith Dunick captures the spirit of Lakehead's consolation victory leading to a 5th place national finish.

Lakehead Beats Dalhousie 84-80 to Claim 5th Place in Nation

The Lakehead Thunderwolves beat the Dalhousie Tigers today for the CIS Final 8 consolation championship and finished a great season on a winning note.

Down for much of the game the Thunderwolves staged a rally with under 3 min remaining (down 8) to bring the score to 80-79 in favor of Dalhousie with 12 second remaining. With Dalhousie in control and inbounding the ball, Joseph Jones (3rd year Washington, DC) stole the inbounds pass and hit ahead to a streaking Greg Carter who drew an intentional foul and calmly drained both free throws to give Lakehead a 1 point lead with 7 seconds to go. Lakehead then would hit 3 more free throws to finish with an 84-80 victory.

In his final CIS game, Jamie Searle (Belleville, Ontario) again was instrumental in a Thunderwolves come back going for 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and only 1 turnover in 31 minutes of action. Searle drained two three pointers late in the 4th quarter to help bring the 'Wolves within striking distance for the last defensive stand of the season.

Yoosrie Salhia had his best Final 8 game to date scoring 12 points and 8 rebounds while adding 5 blocked shots and 4 assists. Venzal Russell had 15 points and 3 steals while Ryan Thomson had the outside stroke working to the tune of 13 points in only 12 minutes. Ben Johnson completed a well-played play-off month with 10 points on 3-5 3pt shooting before fouling out late in the 4th quarter. Andrew Hackner had 5 points and 2 rebounds over 19 minutes in his final CIS game. For Dalhousie, All-Canadian Simon Farine had a stellar game with 31 points and 6 assists to finish his excellent career. Fellow senior Joe Schow also had 13 and 11 boards to get a double-double in his last run.
For the game Dalhousie out-rebounded Lakehead 45-35 (15-13 O boards) however Lakehead made up for the rebounding edge by forcing 21 Dalhousie turnovers. Lakehead shot 10-28 from three point land. Lakehead was 31-75 from three point range for the tournament.

With the win, Lakehead finishes 2-1 at the Final 8 and sees a fantastic season finish with a 27-12 win-loss record (5-1 post season), the school's first ever OUA Wilson Cup championship and a top 5 national standing. Congrats to the team on a great effort and to Jamie Searle and Andrew Hackner

"I was proud of the team for providing a solid effort today and for not quitting when it looked like Dal was ready to pull away at various times throughout the game. Jamie Searle and Andrew Hackner were both key instruments in the win - which was a fitting way for them to end their careers. Credit to Dalhousie for playing tough as well and providing one of the better consolation finals to take place in recent years. "

"We are quite proud of the success we have enjoyed this season and all we have accomplished - however we will be looking forward to taking a break and then getting back at it to work toward playing in the 5:00pm game this time next year. Thanks to all of our fans in Halifax this weekend as well to all those following at home - we appreciate and need your continued support!"

- Coach Morrison

#2 Carleton plays #6 TWU in the CIS final today at 5:00PM Atlantic time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lakehead gets Final 8 win over Acadia 75-67

While not as important as last night's loss to TWU, the Lakehead Thunderwolves earned a big win for the program this afternoon in Halifax as they topped the #8 seed Acadia Axemen 75-67. The win "broke the Final 8 ice" for the 'Wolves who had lost 3 straight in the tournament including 2010 in Ottawa. The victory also avenged a non-conference loss to the Axemen in Wolfville back in October.

Lakehead gave a consistent effort on both ends throughout the game, but it was the ball pressure of Lakehead guards Greg Carter, Ben Johnson and Venzal Russell that provided an early boost to the Ontario Champs leading to a 19-16 1st quarter advantage. The story of the first half on the other end was Venzal Russell who took advantage of some smaller match ups in game 2 to put up 16 first half points and finished with a game high 29. Acadia also put forth a great effort and beat Lakehead on the 10-5 on the O glass in the first half.

The second half was a back and forth battle with each teams answering each other. Acadia's Owen Klassen (6'10 C) started to become a major factor inside and finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Twice Acadia would take the lead but Lakehead answered each time with a 3pt bomb of their own to reclaim and remain composed throughout. For the game Lakehead shot 10-19 from 3pt land while Acadia was 3-17. Jamie Searle had 4 of those 10 3pt buckets including a couple of daggers late in the 4th quarter to put the game out of reach. Searle finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds in just under 40 minutes of play.

"This was not the most important win that will take place on this court today, but it was still a very big win for our program. We get a chance to play one more game in what has been an excellent season tomorrow morning and also get a 2nd chance at a team we lost to in October. Our goal is to keep pushing and 'leave it all on the table' tomorrow morning vs Dalhousie."
- Coach Morrison

The Thunderwolves take the court bright and early at 10:30am at the Metro Centre.

Friday, March 11, 2011

'Wolves Fall Short to TWU

Trinity Western started the game with a 22-6 1st quarter that the Thunderwolves could not overcome the rest of the game. TWU took advantage of their general size mismatches to beat up the 'Wolves 10-5 in the offensive rebounding category in the first half and held Lakehead to only 6 points in the paint over the opening 20 minutes.

Lakehead found some holes in the big team's defense but could not sustain a long enough run to get back in the game. Down 6 with under 5 minutes to go, Lakehead looked on the verge of making one of its patented 4th quarter come-backs, however Jacob Doerksen, a 1st team all-Canadian, played big when it counted grabbing two offensive rebounds for scores as LU after tough defensive stands for Lakehead. With Doerksen's late second chances LU was forced to foul down the stretch and TWU made their free throws going 17-23 for the game.

Ryan Thomson (2nd year Oakville) led the Thunderwolves with 18 points on 7-14 shooting while Jamie Searle had 15 and 6 rebounds. Venzal Russell and Greg Carter were also in double-digits for LU.

TWU rode their all-Canadian Doerksen to the tune of 20 points and 9 rebounds in 39+ minutes with Kyle Coston getting player of the game for his 20 point 11 rebound double-double (9-9 Ft).

"Obviously it was a tough loss for us in a game that we felt we had prepared well for. I was not happy with our attitude to start the game as we forgot our gameplan on both ends and played desperate; despite the fact it was only the first quarter. We had our normal good effort once we settled down, but a big deficit is hard to overcome in the metro centre against one of the best and biggest teams in the CIS."
- Coach Morrison

Lakehead plays Acadia in the consolation round tomorrow at 12pm.

"While we cannot reach our ultimate goal of winning a CIS title this weekend, we are already looking towards Acadia and hoping to break into the win column and exact some revenge for a pre-season loss at Wolfville."

Thanks to all the Lakehead fans who made their presence known tonight, we'll try to get one for you tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Worst to first -

Leith Dunick is on the road covering the CIS Final 8 for in his hometown of Halifax. (Link to the story from Thursday's Prep)

Worst to first -

Tip Time is 3:15 (Atlantic) / 2:15 (Eastern)

Game is webcast @

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lakehead - TWU Round 1 Preview

From the desk and mind of Lakehead SID Hugh "Thesaurus" Mullally (RIP Biggie Smalls)

Media Release

Thunderwolves to Battle Trinity Western Spartans in First Round at Final 8
March 9, 2011

The Skinny

After winning their first Wilson Cup in history in Hamilton last week versus #1 nationally ranked Carleton, the Lakehead men's basketball team is poised to take to the floor at the CIS Final 8 tournament in Halifax, colloquially known as 'The Big Dance' in Canadian university basketball talk. First on their dance card are the Trinity Western Spartans, from Langley, B.C., who finished 3rd in the Canada West division, and were awarded the Wild Card selection to the Final 8.

This will be Lakehead's second consecutive trip to the CIS Final 8, although this time it will be hosted by the Halifax Metro Center after having been held in Ottawa the past three years. Last year's campaign did not go as planned for LU, as they lost both their games, vs. UBC (first round) and Cape Breton (consolation). It certainly promises to be an emotional home coming of sorts, for both the tournament as a whole, and for LU head coach Scott Morrison, who last stepped onto the floor at the Metro Center as a player for UPEI during the Atlantic University Sports basketball playoffs in the late 90's.

For the Spartans, this is their first trip to the Final 8 tournament, and have only been in the CIS league for 11 years since joining in the 1999-2000 season. But they have impressed many throughout the year, and have sat in the #3 or #4 spot in national rankings for most of the 2010-11 season.

This first game will be webcast on SSN Canada, beginning at 3:15 ADT, 2:15 locally here in Thunder Bay. (
Depending on outcomes, Lakehead games may be broadcast on TSN2, if not via SSN Canada webcast. Stay tuned for further details, and the Lakehead Basketball Blog (

Match-up Details

The Spartans finished with an overall 25-5 record against Canadian competition during the 2010-11 campaign, but have limited game experience against any Canadian teams east of the Manitoba border (90-76 win against Laurentian in October of 2010). They are led in scoring by Jacob Doerkson (Abbotsford B.C.) with 21.6 PPG (in 30 minutes per game) and led in rebounding by Tyrell Mara (White Rock, B.C.), with 8.9 per game. Trystan Smith (Los Angeles, CA) runs the point and has averaged 4.4 assists per game.

As is the case with many Canada West teams, the Spartan's key to victory is to out-shoot an opponent flat-out, and not so much on getting defensive stops. They have scored 100+ points in 8 games this season, and 90+ points in 9 other games. Their season scoring average is 92.4 PPG, while their opposition has averaged 75.4 PPG. This is contrasted with the Lakehead Thunderwolves, who have predicated their path to success on grinding defense and keeping their opponent's score under the 70 point mark (Overall opponents average: 70.47), as they have averaged 78.3 PPG during their 25-11 season overall (exhibition, season and playoffs). The Thunderwolves have proven that they are capable of getting defensive stops against high-octane offenses, as they held the Carleton Ravens to 62 points in the Wilson Cup final (and 75 points in their regular season match up), a team that has averaged 91.6 PPG in their regular season.

Coach Morrison's Message:

"It is a tough turnaround this week but we have departed to Halifax with a more focused approach than we did Ottawa last year. We have a tough match-up in Trintity Western that seem to out-size us by 3-4 inches and 25 pounds at each position. We will have to play the ultimate team game to advance Friday afternoon and we are confident we have the personnel needed to accomplish this next goal."

Games can be watched on SSN Canada,

Game time is Friday @ 2:15 Thunder Bay time.

CIS SSN Canada to do Friday afternoon games

CIS SSN Canada to do Friday afternoon games: "Got word overnight that SSN Canada will carry the first two games of the CIS Final 8 on Friday afternoon with local Halifax announcer Bill M..."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Searle is OUA Athlete of the Week

For the first time in 8 years a Lakehead men's basketball player has been named OUA Athlete of the Week. Jamie Searle was recognized by the OUA this week after helping to lead Lakehead to its first ever Wilson Cup OUA Championship.

The following is taken from the OUA website.

MALE: Jamie Searle, Lakehead Thunderwolves, Basketball
Jamie Searle of Belleville, Ont., led his Thunderwolves to their first Wilson Cup in history, beating Ottawa 71-69 on Friday and Carleton the next evening 77-62. In the Wilson Cup final, Searle, a fifth-year guard and OUA first team all-star, was named the Porter Player of the Game and awarded the Kitch Macpherson Trophy as the outstanding player in the Wilson Cup final. Searle posted a team-leading 23 points, including 14 points in the fourth quarter. He connected on eight of 15 field goal attempts, and was a perfect six-for-six on free throws. The night previous in the win versus Ottawa, Jamie had only two points. His two free throws in the final minute to tie the semifinal were followed by a turnover forced by Searle that led to Lakehead's dramatic win.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lakehead Wins OUA Wilson Cup with Victory over #1 Carleton

Big win for Lakehead tonight winning our first OUA Wilson Cup in school history.

Stay tuned for a game report tomorrow.

Enjoy this win Thunderwolves' Nation - we are working hard to try and get a couple more next week in Halifax.

Highlights of Lakehead's 71-69 win over Ottawa (theScore)

Highlights from the Score television network's coverage of the game.
(Copy and paste the link for highlights)

Off to nationals -

Friday's Post Game Report from Leith Dunick of

Off to nationals -

Thunderwolves Earn 4 OUA West Awards

TheSpec - Kuon, Hinz named OUA hoops players of the year

Jamie Searle - OUA West 1st Team All-Star
Venzal Russell - OUA West 2nd Team All-Star
Greg Carter - OUA West Defensive Player of the Year
Scott Morrison - OUA West Coach of the Year

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lakehead Punches Ticket to Second Straight Final 8

The Lakehead Thunderwolves survived a late Ottawa Gee Gees rally to get a huge victory and clinch their second consecutive berth in the CIS Final 8 tournament in Halifax next week.
Lakehead got an early lead on the back of 8-17 3pt shooting in the first half to lead by 13 at the half 42-29. Ben Johnson subbed in for Jamie Searle who had two quick fouls in the first half and promptly knocked down 3 straight 3's and finished 4-8 from 3pt land for 12 points.

In the second half, Ottawa battled back on the strength of their own hot shooting from Nem Baletic and Louis Gauthier (14 and 18 pts respectively) and took a brief lead 69-67 when Jamie Searle hit 2 clutch free throws with 12 second remaining. Searle, who was held to only two points, then proceded to steal the Ottawa inbounds which led to a Venzal Russell baseline jumper to win the game with .9 seconds remaining sending the Lakehead bench and faithful fans into a frenzy. Russell led Lakehead with 17 while Yoosrie Salhia was the third 'Wolf in double figures with 13 and ten rebounds.

"It was a great win for a lot of reasons tonight. Obviously to get to 'the dance' for a second consecutive year is huge for our program and the fact we battled some cold shooting in the second half to come out with a win should give us confidence for the next time we miss a couple of shots. Very proud of a team effort on the glass as we out-rebounded Ottawa 14-2 in terms of O boards and that was a major difference."

Lakehead meets #1 Carleton for the Wilson Cup OUA CHampionship tomorrow night at 8pm - also like on The Score television network.

CIS Wilson Cup Semi-Final Preview

CIS Wilson Cup Semi-Final Preview:

CIS Wilson Cup Semi-Final Preview

CIS Wilson Cup Semi-Final Preview: "OUA Final Four goes tonight in Hamilton in a change in format not seen since 1991-92. That season, the last of a four-year stretch dur..."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Friday's Preview from

Basketball: Wolves hungry as semifinal approaches -

Friday's Preview from Lakehead Athletics

Media Release
Thunderwolves to Battle Gee Gees for CIS National Tournament Berth
March 2, 2011

The Skinny

Lakehead will face off in a rematch of last year's OUA Final Four consolation game, that saw the Thunderwolves shock the Gee Gees in their home gym (78-73), and grab the final OUA bid to the CIS National tournament. This year however, the OUA has only 2 bids to the National tournament in Halifax, therefore requiring Lakehead to win on Friday to continue to the OUA gold medal game and the Big Dance in Halifax's Metro Center, the traditional mecca of CIS basketball. The game will be broadcast live on The Score Television Network. Game time is 6 pm Eastern.

Match-up Details

Both teams' lineups have changed since last year, although Lakehead's loss of reserve big man Sebastian Kasiuk would be a smaller loss than Ottawa's graduated all star Josh Gibson-Bascombe. Ottawa's main scoring threat is Warren Ward, who scored 18 points in his last outing against Lakehead (and 29 points in last year's play-off game vs LU). The Gee Gees, who started out the season with a 2-6 pre-Christmas season record, have gone 11-5 in 2011 and earned their way to the Final Four with a convincing 85-60 win over OUA East # 2 Toronto. Their first round playoff game ended in a 83-77 win over Laurentian. In those games, Ward had 25 and 24 points, respectively.

It will no doubt be advantageous to the Lakehead cause if the game's pace is dictated by the traditionally stifling Thunderwolf defense, led by 2010's Defensive Player of the Year, Greg Carter. That defense, combined with great rebounding, led by Yoosrie Salhia but supported by the backcourt, especially Jamie Searle, has caused fits for the Thunderwolves' opposition, as possessions are hard to come by and every turnover even more costly. In Searle's final home game in LU playoof against Western, he flirted with the elusive 'triple double' by scoring 14, grabbing an incredible 14 rebounds and dishing out 7 assists, with no turnovers in 38 minutes of play.

Last Match-up Results

Lakehead managed to defeat the Gee Gees on November 26th in the firs part of the season by a score of 68-65. In what was a classic LU come from behind victory, Jamie Searle scored 20 points (Five 3-pointers) and Brendan King had 17 points and 7 rebounds. After Ward who had 18 points, Louis Gauthier was Ottawa's next leading scorer with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Gauthier presents some match up problems for LU, as he is a 6'8 post player with a nice touch and who can also score from the outside.

Coach Morrison's Message:

"As can be expected this late in the season we have a very formidable challenge in front of us this Friday night in the Ottawa Gee Gees. They are more athletic, bigger, and posses more scoring talent than we do - something we will need to work together in order to combat. We hope to execute our game plan with maximum effort for as long as we can and hope it is enough to stay in the game and compete down-the-stretch."

Game can be watched on The Score Television Network, beginning at 6 pm Eastern.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

CIS:BlackBerry - CIS Top Ten Tuesday (#23):

CIS:BlackBerry - CIS Top Ten Tuesday (#23):

Lakehead has been ranked at #6 in the CIS in the latest CIS Coaches Poll for men's basketball.
The Wolves have been as high as 6th in the country four different weeks this season and moved up one spot to 6th after Saturday's OUA 1/4 final victory over Western.

A reminder the OUA Semi-final between Lakehead and Ottawa will be televised live on the Score at 6:00PM Eastern Friday March 4th.