Polar opposites - Wolves basketball squads at different ends of the ACAC spectrum
PETE LUCAROTTI - Herald-Tribune sportswriter
The GPRC Wolves men and women's basketball teams are seemingly heading in opposite directions.
Heading into last weekend's home-openers against the Concordia Thunder, the women were undefeated. A perfect 4-0 record had the Wolves sitting in third place in the North division, two points behind first-place Concordia with two games in hand.
The men, on the other hand, had yet to win a game and sat in last place in the North.
Both teams played up – and down – to their records on the weekend.
The women spread the ball around on the way to a 75-70 come-from-behind win on Friday.
Concordia led by as much as 13 in the second quarter and went into the half with a nine-point lead over the Wolves. The Wolves came out flying to start the second half and never looked back.
"Every lose ball, every rebound, every hustle, we wanted it more than they did. They were waiting for something miraculous to happen, and we made miraculous things happen instead of waiting for them to come to us," coach Kim Gravengard said.
Melissa Buehler led the way for the Wolves with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jaelle Duinker also had a double-double, recording 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Saturday's game was almost a carbon copy of Friday's, but with a different ending.
The Wolves went into halftime down by nine. Just like the previous night the team stepped up and closed the deficit, eventually taking the lead.
In the end, however, the Thunder managed to hold on for a 73-67 win, due in part to a low shooting percentage for the Wolves.
"We took great shots and had lots of opportunities, but we just couldn't finalize it and, for whatever reason, the ball wasn't falling in the cylinder for us," Gravengard said.
While the women were able to walk away happy with a weekend split, the men weren't as lucky.
In Friday's opener, the Wolves lost 94-58, continuing a season-long trend of opening back-to-back games with a blowout loss.
"At the end of the game our captains questioned our heart, as did I. It's not a lack of desire to want to win, it's certainly not a lack of talent…we're not executing and there are times when we're not playing with that sense of desperation that we need to with the way we're standing right now," said Wolves head coach Chris Nicol.
The men have been outscored 274 to 168 in their first three Friday night games this season. That margin drops to 256 to 216 on Saturday, however, and the Wolves kept the score close in the second game against Concordia before losing 83-71.
But a closer loss isn't exactly what a team that is now 0-6 and more than halfway to last year's loss total is looking for.
"We played well sometimes, then we'd play not so well. The same thing happened (Saturday), but when we played not so well we didn't let it affect us as much and we bounced back a little better," said Cameron Wharram, who finished Saturday with 18 points and 16 rebounds to earn player of the game for the Wolves.
"But we're 0-6 right now so I don't want to put too much of a positive spin on it. Yeah, it's good that we didn't lose by as much, but that's not really the victory I'm looking for right now."
The men will look to pick up their first win, while the women will try to get back on the winning track this weekend against the MacEwan Griffins.