Wolves Men's Basketball
Men's Basketball split against nationally ranked Ooks
January 23, 2017
GPRC Wolves Staff Writer
GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball hosted the nationally ranked, NAIT Ooks this weekend at home. With a nail biter of a game, Friday night the men held their own and lost by one point, 85-86, but coming out Saturday reenergized, the Wolves kept the Ooks at bay to win 79-71 in another exciting game.
On Friday night, the Wolves play was inconsistent at times defensively and the men missed a lot of open opportunities to score, however 2nd year, Grande Prairie native, Ryan Pelster rebounded well near the basket and scored well inside, earning him the Wolves Player of the game with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Jackson Jacob for NAIT scored 52 points.
Comments from Head Coach Thomas Slifka reflect the intensity of the match saying that it was “a very exciting game from a fans perspective, but an absolute heartbreaker for the losing team. Unfortunately, that happened to be us. NAIT did a great job adjusting to our defensive schemes and Jackson Jacob put on quite the performance”.
Saturday night, the men had a more focused defense, and did a better job containing Jackson Jacob, holding him to 26 points. With much improved shooting, the Wolves went 17-19 from the free throw line. With another impressive performance, fourth year, Kenny Johnson was a floor general and directed the offense. He led the team in most statistical categories and with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists he was named the Wolves player of the game. Happy with the result coach Slifka said that the men “did a good job executing adjustments, and got the ball up the floor quickly”.
Next up, the Wolves hit the road to take on the Augustana Vikings, Friday February 3rd at 6:00pm and Saturday February 4th at 1:00pm. All games can be watched live on acactv.ca
Mens Basketball split against the Eagles
January 15, 2017
GPRC Wolves Staff Writer
GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball travelled to Edmonton this weekend where they split against the Kings University Eagles.
Friday’s game saw inconsistent play at times giving the Eagles the upper hand early in the game, leading to a narrow 78 – 75 loss. With 22 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 4th year guard, Kenny Johnson lead the team in most statistical categories, and was therefore named the Wolves Player of the Game. An impressive performance by Edmonton import, Yasser Abdullahi who scored 19 points in his GPRC Wolves debut, was a highlight of the game. Coach Thomas Slifka commented that the team had “a few defensive breakdowns in the first half that allowed the Eagles to get out to a good lead. In the second half they hit some backbreaking shots that really hurt our comeback efforts”.
In contrast to Friday night where the men made play more difficult than it had to be, the team was far more engaged defensively, and offensively played very simple. This change in strategy lead to a 97-69 win, with the highlight of the game being Chance Velichka’s 23 points, 7-9 from the 3-point line. Velichka came off the bench to record a career high of 23 points, and take home the Wolves Player of the Game recognition. Other notable performances came from rookie forward and GPRC Wolves Athlete of the Week, Kellen Morris with 14 points, and Kenny Johnson with 18 points, 13 assists and 7 rebounds. Again, Yasser Abdullahi had an impressive performance scoring 18 points for the Wolves. Commenting on the win, Coach Slifka said that “Today we just played much more simple. Instead of trying to do everything, we simply tried to engage multiple defenders and make the simple pass. It allowed us to get some open looks and we were able to capitalize.”
The Wolves face the NAIT Ooks, ranked 5th in the nation, on home turf Friday February 20th at 8:00pm, and Saturday February 21st at 3:00pm. All games can be watched live on acactv.ca.
GPRC Men's Basketball Identification Camp
All high school and college basketball players that are interested in showcasing their talent are invited to come to the GPRC Men’s Basketball Identification Camp on Saturday, April 2nd from 3-5PM and 7-9PM at GPRC.
This camp will consist of specific drill work run by the GPRC coaching staff as well as 5 on 5 competition, where participants will have a chance to been seen and identified by the coaching staff from the Wolves. There is a cost or $20 to try out to be paid before registration at 2:30pm at the Fitness Centre desk.
If you have any questions please contact Thomas Slifka, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, at 780-539-2904 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Men's Basketball Split at Home
February 21, 2016
On Friday night the GPRC Men’s Basketball hosted the #6 NAIT Ooks. The Wolves started hot and never let their foot off the gas pedal, eventually winning the game 83-68. Rob Myles III led GPRC with 20 points(10-11FG) and 5 rebounds. Coach Slifka, very happy with the Wolves win over the nationally ranked Ooks said that "This was a great team win. We had 5 players in double figures, we moved the ball, we played the kind of basketball that makes us successful.”
However, Saturday game was very different. NAIT had a 47-29 lead at half time, and after trading baskets in the 3rd quarter, the Ooks ended up winning, 102-68. Jackson Jacob led NAIT with 28 points and 5 rebounds.
“ I thought our energy was low all game, and I felt NAIT played with more urgency than we did. The Ooks brought so much physicality, energy, and they competed like they were playing for an ACAC title. They wanted it more than us. I’m not sure if we were just too happy with the win the night before, but we have to play with the same urgency and continue to do the little things that have made us successful thus far, every game. Going forward, this will be a valuable lesson for us that will help us in playoffs" said Slifka after the game.
The Wolves are now 13-9 and have a 1 game lead over the Lakeland Rustlers for the 3rd spot in the ACAC North. GPRC hosts Lakeland, February 26th and 27th, in their final two games of the regular season.
The Wolves secure playoff spot
February 11, 2016
On Friday night, the GPRC Wolves played the Kings University Eagles in Edmonton taking first quarter, 23-19. Coming out hot in the second quarter, hitting a barrage of three pointers the Wolves went into halftime with a 52-24 lead. The lead was extended to over 30 in the 3rd before Kings fought back in the fourth quarter, but couldn't catch the Wolves who held on to win 91-74. Jamison Plett led GPRC with 20 points(6-7 3PT FG).
The Wolves, who hit 19 3Pt shots, were just 4 shy of the ACAC record with Coach Slifka commenting that he had " never seen a team shoot like that in a half. Every time a shot went up, even if it looked like it was off, it somehow managed to go in. Our guys did a good job moving to create open shot opportunities but that half of basketball was ridiculous."
As it often is, Saturday was very different. It was Kings that came out hot, hitting 6 three pointers in the first half to take an 8 point lead into the break. The third quarter both teams picked up their offensive efficiency, but Kings extended their lead to 10 points going into the 4th. The 4th was back and forth but GPRC hit a few timely shots to take the lead late in the game and hold on for a narrow 79-78 win. Kenny Johnson scored 21 points, Rob Myles also had 17 points. Michael Clemons also picked up his 400th career assist, placing him 8th all time in ACAC Career Assists.
Overall, Coach Slifka was impressed with the teams performance highlighting that the "One major theme for our team this year has been composure. We recognized early in the year we were so focused on things we can't control that it was distracting us from the things we do control. Our guys recognized that we lost our composure in the first half of the second game but I was impressed by how we were able to stay poised late in the game when things weren't going our way."
The Wolves, now 7-1 this semester, have the week off and will host #5 NAIT on Feb 19th and 20th. The Wolves have also clinched a berth in the ACAC Playoffs in early March.
Wolves Get Two in Camrose
January 25, 2016
On Friday, January 22nd and 23rd, the GPRC Wolves Men's Basketball team traveled to Camrose to take on the Augustana Vikings. In the first game,the Wolves were down 13 at halftime. After half, the Wolves stormed back to trail by only 4 points going into the 4th quarter. A back and forth battle with both teams shooting well left plenty of excitement in the packed gym. The result after the final whistle was an 89-87 win for the Wolves. The Wolves were led by Michael Clemons and Kenny Johnson with 26 points each. Spencer Marion led Augustana with 26 points and 7 rebounds. Coach Slifka commented of Friday's game that " This was a great team win in an incredibly hostile environment. The crowd was loud and Augustana plays really well at home. Our guys were able to match the intensity in the second half and pull out a really tough win."
On Saturday, Augustana again took a 5 point lead into halftime. GPRC was able to outscore Augustana 30-18 in the 3rd quarter and was able to hold on to win 92-84. Kenny Johnson, Michael Clemons, and Tysen Pushor combined for 57 of GPRC's 92 points. Augustana had 5 players in double digits with Darian Smigorowsky leading Augustana with 19 points.
Another double win for the Wolves keeps the team 3rd place in the North. Coach Slifka reflects on the victory saying that " winning two on the road versus anyone in our division is a great accomplishment. We were able to overcome two halftime deficits versus a very good young team and we were able to maintain our composure in a series of games that tested our mental toughness. A lot of credit goes to Augustana as their record doesn't justify how good they really are."
Next up for GPRC is a bye week, followed by another road trip to Edmonton to play Kings University Eagles on February 5th and 6th. The men, dealing with a few injuries welcome the upcoming bye week with their primary concern being healthy to push for playoffs. "The series with Kings will have massive playoff implications for both teams so we need to take care of our health and make sure we are ready for next week." reiterated Coach Slifka.
Wolves Split vs #5 Keyano Huskies
January 16, 2016
Last weekend, the GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball team traveled to Fort McMurray to play the Keyano Huskies. Going into the game, the Wolves had a five game winning streak they were looking to extend. Keyano, the #5 ranked team in the CCAA, also had their own winning streak they were trying to extend 13 games.
The first game started out poorly for the Wolves, as they trailed 26-4 after the first quarter. The second quarter saw the Wolves make a comeback. The Wolves went into halftime down 5, however in the 3rd quarter, the Wolves took the lead briefly but Keyano soared back, winning the third quarter and extending their lead to 18 by the end of the quarter. In the 4th quarter the Wolves tried to make a comeback but ended up losing by 10, 85 to 75. Jamison Plett led all scorers with 23 points, including six three-pointers. Brady Mackay led Keyano with 18 points.
Wolves Head Coach, Thomas Slifka said of Fridays performance that “this was a great learning experience for our team. We felt we battled incredibly hard and can compete with anyone when we play simple, fundamental basketball. Though we lost by 10, nobody was hanging their head as we left the locker room. We knew it would be great for us to learn from this game—and the next one—and be better for the future.”
Saturdays game was very different.
The Wolves trailed 20-16 after the first quarter but ended up going into half time up 8 points, 38-30. The 3rd quarter saw the Huskies score 30 points and take a 4 point lead into the 4th. After a back and forth battle, the game was tied, 79-79, with 1.4 seconds left and the Wolves ball. The ball was inbounded to Kenny Johnson and he was fouled as he attempted to shoot the game winning shot. Johnson made the first free throw and the #5 Huskies lose for only the second time this season. With the win, the Wolves improve to 8-8 on the season.
A very pleased Coach Slifka remarked that "this game was fun because we played incredibly free. The guys played with passion and poise. This win showed our composure in a high stress situation. In the first semester, we lost a lot of close games that could have went either way. Though there is a large amount of luck in a game like this, our ability to win close games this semester is a sign of our growth and maturity. Our veterans showed great leadership, and our young guys played fearless. Our guys have embraced the underdog role. If there was ever a game for our guys to be intimidated, it would be against Keyano, but our guys just go out there and play basketball. It is incredibly fun to watch and be a part of.”
Next up, GPRC Men’s Basketball travels to Camrose to play University of Alberta-Augustana on January 22nd and 23rd , and after a well earned win against Keyano are preparing to maintain their winning streak. Slifka points out that "Augustana is much better than their record shows, and they are playing with a ton of confidence after almost beating Lakeland last weekend. Augustana is a tough place to play and our guys will definitely not overlook anyone. We are going into Augustana with the mentality of an underdog.”
The Wolves are currently in 4th place in the ACAC North Division.
Two wins rank Men's Basketball 3rd in the North
January 11, 2016
On Friday night the GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball team beat Concordia 82-78! The Wolves trailed by 4 at half time and as much as 10 in the second half but rallied back late to pull out a well-deserved win. Michael Clemons led GPRC with 19 points. Coach Slifka said “ Friday was a weird game because of the short turnaround after break. Both teams came out rusty and the game could have went either way. We hit some key free throws down the stretch and rebounded better than we have been and that was the difference.”
On Saturday, the Wolves took a 6 point lead into halftime. They extended the lead to 11 at one point but the Thunder roared back. The game was close until midway in the 4th quarter when GPRC pulled away for good. Kenny Johnson led GPRC with 18 points.
Coach Slifka, happy with the men's performance commented that “Saturday wasn’t as frenetic as Fridays game. We were able to shake off the rust and focus on playing better basketball. Both teams played well and we got lucky to win two versus a tough Concordia team. In these 4 and 5 point games, a deflection or missed layup makes the difference. We were luckily able to capitalize on some of the opportunities provided and pull out a huge win. “
This win gives GPRC Men’s Basketball 5 straight wins. Right now they stand in 3rd place in the ACAC North Division.
The men travel to Fort McMurray and face the Keyano Huskies who are ranked 5th nationally, this upcoming weekend.
Wolves Split Against the Eagles
November 10, 2015
In a tale of two games, the Wolves Mens Basketball hosted The Kings University Eagles, this past weekend. . Friday night the Wolves started out 32 -7 in the first quarter, never letting the lead get under 18 and winning by 19 baskets. Jamison Plett led all scorers with 15 points. On Saturday, Kings came out with a ton of energy and led by 7 at half time. Kings increased the lead to 16 but the Wolves fought back and forced overtime where the Kings ended up outscoring the Wolves 11-8 to earn a well-deserved split on the weekend.
Coach Slifka, happy with the result commented, “when we play together, we can compete with any team in the country. When we focus on things outside of our control it detracts from playing our best. Kings did a fantastic job bringing energy, passion, and grit to the second game, and definitely got the well-deserved win. “
Men's Basketball face Concordia November 20 at 8:00pm and November 21 at 3:00pm.
2 Narrow Losses on the Road for the Wolves
Wolves Men’s basketball travelled to NAIT this weekend and lost two close games to the Ooks. Despite the narrow 80 to 87 loss, Robert Myles who led the Wolves in scoring with 18, showed a strong performance.
On Saturday, Michael Clemons led all scorers with 28 points and the Wolves fell to NAIT with a final score of 80 to 86.
Coach Slifka reflected on the game saying “ This was a tough weekend for us because we had the opportunity to win both games. In two games decided by 13 points, the margin of error is so small. A lot of credit goes to NAIT for the adjustments they made in the second half of both games. We need to learn from the NAIT games and then immediately focus our attention on Kings this weekend.”
The Wolves face Kings Eagles on home turf this weekend, Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 3pm. Come out, show your Wolves pride and cheer our men on.
Mens Basketball Split against the Thunder
Men’s Basketball traveled to Edmonton this past weekend. Facing the determined Concordia Thunder, the Wolves lost the first game on Saturday 82 - 67 with Nate Boulding named GPRC’s Player of the Game with 10 Points and over 10 Rebounds.
On Sunday the Wolves bounced back and won 88 – 85. After being down 10 points going into the 4th quarter, the team out maneuvered the Thunder with a few key plays and came back to pull it out. Kenny Johnson led GPRC with 26 points. Michael Clemons led all rebounders with 7.
Coach Slifka, happy with the Wolves performance commented that he “we competed hard in both games. On Saturday, Concordia did a great job controlling the rebounds and making us play at their pace. Going into Sunday, we knew we had to play more with more tempo and pressure. Our guys hit big shots and we were able to bounce back with a nice win versus one of the best teams in Western Canada.”
Your GPRC Wolves Basketball face the Keyano Huskies on home turf at this weekend’s Shoot Down Breast Cancer Home Opener, with the women playing at 6:00pm and the men at 8:00pm Friday.
GPRC Wolves Elite Camp, a great success
This last weekend saw athletes from all over the Peace Region, including Beaverlodge, Sexsmith, Fairview, Jasper, High Prairie, La Crete, Fort St John, Dawson Creek and Yellowknife, NT attend the annual GPRC Wolves Elite Basketball Camp.
Guest coaches Steve Sir and Lee Danderfer, along with Wolves Head Coaches Graeme Ryder and Thomas Slifka, brought a wealth of basketball skill and knowledge to the Camp, giving the athletes a chance to learn from some very talented coaches and players.
Sir, who played professionally for 8 years, holds two NCAA 3 point records and also played for San Diego State, Northern Arizona and the Edmonton Energy talked about training with detail and overemphasizing things. “If we take shortcuts in practice we will never be able to repeat those skills in a game”. Sir also talked about finding what is going to make someone special, adding that “not all of us have great athleticism or size, so, we have to find a different way to be successful”.
New GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball Coach, Thomas Slifka remarked that "having Steve at our Elite Camp was such a fantastic experience. Steve’s knowledge of the game is broad and every person in our gym this weekend now understands basketball on a deeper level, including the parents and coaches."
Danderfer, a Grande Prairie native who played for the ACAC’s Augustana Vikings and CIS’s MacEwan Griffins was coached by Slifka who stated that he “had the pleasure of coaching Lee at MacEwan and there aren't many people who have spent more time in a gym than Lee. He is a true success story who has exceeded expectations everywhere he goes” going on to say that “he is great role model to young basketball players”.
Danderfer talked to the young athletes about working hard and not listening to people who try to discourage you. "Everyone told me I wasn't fast enough, big enough, I wasn't from a big town and I wasn't recruited. I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter. I'm a 5 foot 10 inch kid from Grande Prairie, Alberta” said Danderfer, echoing Coach Slifka’s comments about hard work and determination.
Along with basketball skill sessions the camp featured guest appearances by Matthew Bain (MMB Counselling & Consulting, Alberta Sport Development Centre NW, & GPRC) and Richard Sylvester (Alberta Sport Development Centre NW).
Bain, a Mental Performance Consultant (MPC) - Canadian Sport Psychology Association, did an hour classroom session with the athletes introducing some mental skills that can be applied to high level sport performance. Working with high level athletes ranging from GPRC Wolves teams to Provincial & National level athletes, Bain was able to introduce the athletes to the mental side of the game which becomes more important as the level of sport performance increases.
Sylvester, Master of Sciences – Kinesiology & Head Trainer for ASDC NW, used his hour session to take the campers through some on court training exercises he uses to train College, University & National level athletes. The athletes got a sweat on as they went through a warm up & then concentrated on exercises designed to improve their sprinting efficiency.
New GPRC Wolves Women’s Basketball Coach Graeme Ryder, commented that “with this being the only Elite Camp offered in the Peace region, GPRC Wolves Basketball programs felt it was important to include Mental Skills and Strength and Conditioning sessions to show the next wave of Wolves athletes the other aspects of high performing sport expected off the court.”
Slifka takes Team Alberta to Canada Summer Games
GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball Coach, Thomas Slifka had a great summer coaching the Alberta U16 Basketball Team, including local talent Cameron Macdonald. After tryouts were held in April, the team was selected to travel to Fort McMurray and participate in the Western Canada Summer Games.
With exhibition matches against Team Saskatchewan and Team British Columbia in Langley, BC and a tournament in Seattle, WA, the boys put in well over 60 hours of practice this summer, which stood them in good stead for the Summer Games.
After dominating Team Yukon and Northwest Territories, the boys earned a spot in the bronze medal game which saw Team Alberta battle Team Saskatchewan, and after a tough match, Team AB settled for 4th place with only a seven point difference.
“Competition was stiff, but the boys stepped up and delivered. All their hard work paid off to get to the Bronze medal match” said Coach Slifka who was immensely proud of his team’s achievement in Wood Buffalo, “The team had a lot of fun and improved tremendously over the summer” he concluded.
Congratulations to Coach Slifka and the Team AB boys on a job well done.
GPRC Hires New Men’s Basketball Coach
May 28 2015
For Immediate Release
GPRC is pleased to welcome Thomas Slifka to the 2015 16 coaching staff. Mr. Slifka will be the new GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball Coach replacing Jonathan Verhesen.
Slifka has been working with the MacEwan University Griffins Men’s Basketball Program and the University of Alberta Pandas Basketball Programs since 2012. Prior to that he worked with Kent State University in their basketball program. He was the Lead Assistant with the Men’s Basketball program then took on the Head Coach position of the Women’s Basketball Program.
“I am excited in accepting the head coach position with the GPRC Wolves,” noted Slifka. “The philosophy of the program, the attitude of the players and the strong community support of the program were integral in making my decision.”
Slifka played basketball with the University of Akron – Wayne and played tennis with the University of Wisconsin – Fox Valley. He has been coaching in the provincial team program of Basketball Alberta and with the University of Alberta Junior Pandas program. He has been instructing various courses in the Kinesiology program while working on his Masters of Arts – Coaching Studies at the University of Alberta.
His experience, dedication to coaching and understanding of community based programs will be a great fit to the GPRC Wolves Basketball Program.
For more information, please contact:
Athletic Director GPRC
GPRC Wolves Men’s Basketball Coach
Wolves Split on the Road
November 3rd, 2014
The GPRC Wolves lost the Friday night game against the Lakeland College Rustlers 77-65. But the team rebounded and out battled the Rustlers on Saturday afternoon and won the game 84-81.
The Wolves struggled on Friday to score the ball consistently and could never get into an offensive flow. Robert Myles III was named player of the game as he finished with 9 points and 6 steals. Saturday afternoon was a different story as the Wolves were able to execute offensively and take control of the game and then held off a late comeback from rustlers. Jordan Brown was named player of the game as he finished with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 4 clutch free throws down the stretch.
The Wolves now have the weekend off, until they hit the road again to play the Concordia Thunder, on November 14-15 in Edmonton
For information, please contact:
GPRC Wolves Athletics
10726 - 106 Avenue, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 4C4
Phone #: (780) 539-2063 | Email