Second within Wolves grasp
By JEFF KORENKO
Daily Herald-Tribune sportswriter
The GPRC Wolves have been stalking King's University College Eagles all season long and this weekend, they will finally have an opportunity to snatch second place from them in the Alberta College's Athletic Association women's basketball North Division standings.
While the Eagles, who come into games at the GPRC gym against the Wolves tonight and Saturday afternoon sporting a record of 14-4, have occupied second-place behind the division-leading Grant MacEwan Griffins (16-2) the majority of the season, it has been the Wolves who have been soaring of late.
Winners of their last six games overall, the 13-3 Wolves are coming off a sweep on the road last weekend against the Lakeland College Rustlers. Grande Prairie is also tied with the Griffins for the best record at home in the division, at 7-1.
All of which had Wolves head coach Mark Catling feeling rather confident in assessing earlier this week the significance of this weekend's games.
"This is a very big weekend against an opponent that is just two points ahead of us in the standings," Catling said, adding that getting at least one win this weekend would put added pressure on an Eagles team which has played two more games.
"They have a couple of players that can shoot the ball really well from the perimeter, so we are going to have to focus on what we will need to do well defensively to combat that," Catling said.
"We are going to approach this weekend the same as if we were playing NAIT or Lakeland, or anybody else. We have a good system here and it has worked well for us and we are just going to stick with it."
The teams split their previous two meetings way back on Oct. 13-14, with Grande Prairie winning their season opener 64-62 and the Eagles rebounding for a 75-65 victory in the rematch.
While the Wolves women are pretty much home and cooled in earning a postseason berth and are working toward earning home-court advantage in the opening round, the Wolves men will continue the fight for their playoffs lives when they host King's this weekend.
With a record of 7-9, the Wolves are four points back of the fourth-place NAIT Ooks (9-9), but NAIT has played two more games.
The Eagles however, have remained grounded out of the win column the majority of the season, having won just once in 18 games, including 14 losses in a row.
The Eagles record may indicate they are not very good, but this was a squad that took the Ooks to overtime in an 81-73 loss, pointed out Wolves head coach Chris Nicol.
"The record is pretty deceiving. (Coach) Clayton Pottinger's team is kinda like the way I like to coach. He gets his guys to play hard. There is no give-up from his teams.
"I expect that we will play with a lot of confidence, but I also expect they will come in and really try to push hard for those wins," said Nicol.
"But hopefully we will come away with four points that we really need.
Grande Prairie beat Kings in both of their previous meetings, winning 84-65 and 80-64.
The Wolves, swept by the second-place Rustlers (14-4) in Lloydminster last weekend, have lost seven of their last eight games.
They are 3-5 at home this season.