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
GPRC Wolves Player of the Game
|Robert Myles III
|October 31, 2014
||November 1st, 2014
|9 pts., 6 stls.
||23 pts., 9 reb.
For more information on Wolves Mens' Basketball contact:
Thomas Slifka, Head Coach
Grande Prairie Regional College