The women’s and men’s basketball teams hosted the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns last Friday and Saturday night in thrilling contests that amounted to a thunderous weekend of hoops.
The beginning of the women’s Friday match set the tone for both games over the weekend. The contest started tight, with plenty of lead-changing in the first quarter alone before the Pronghorns began to pull away in the second quarter, taking a 39-32 lead into the second half.
Lethbridge dominated the third quarter, pulling ahead of Manitoba by 13 before the Bisons staged a late comeback in the fourth. The herd tied the game with just over two minutes remaining, queueing up the thrilling finish. Lethbridge went up by a basket before the Bisons managed to pull ahead by one with 20 seconds left in the game. However, the Pronghorns stole the lead back with four made free throws, winning the game 71-68.
Lauren Bartlett posted her first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 assists, and led the team in steals with seven. Emerson Martin and Emily Mandamin led the team in points with 12 each. Emily Johnson had 10 points on the night and led the team in rebounds alongside Autumn Agar, with seven apiece.
Saturday’s contest was just as close. Lethbridge burst out of the gates, ending the first quarter with a 12-point lead, but Manitoba stormed back in the second and took a 42-36 lead into halftime.
The Pronghorns chipped away at the herd’s lead in the third, but the Bisons held a five-point lead heading into the fourth. With six minutes left in the game, Lethbridge leapt ahead, but the Bisons fought back to take a one-basket lead. However, the Pronghorns outscored the herd 7-2 in the final minute of play, winning the game 77-72.
Martin posted a career-high night with a team-leading 23 points, while Agar and Johnson both recorded double-doubles — Agar with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Johnson with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The men’s games were just as thrilling over the weekend. In Friday night’s contest, the two teams were neck and neck in the first, with Lethbridge taking a slim 22-19 lead into the second quarter. However, the Bisons were able to turn things around before halftime, taking a 41-34 lead into the locker room. In the third quarter, the Bisons caught fire, leading by as many as 16 points. The herd continued to dominate the rest of the game, winning 83-69.
Mason Kraus and Simon Hildebrandt led the team in points with 14 apiece, followed closely by Tito Obasoto, Wyatt Tait and Daren Watts, who recorded 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively. Kraus led the team in steals with four and Hildebrandt led the team in rebounds with nine.
Saturday’s match followed the same pattern, starting off with a close first quarter that ended with a two-point Pronghorn lead. The Bisons turned the tables in the second, leading 56-41 at the half.
Lethbridge began to close the gap in the third before cutting Manitoba’s lead down to 11 in the fourth quarter, but the Bisons would ultimately maintain the lead and win 99-86.
Five Bisons posted double-digit points on the night, Hildebrandt leading the team with 27 followed closely by Watts’s career-high 24. Kraus recorded 13, Jonam Kazadi made 11 and Brandt Lenz scored 10. Kraus led the team in rebounds with seven and Tait led in steals with three.
The Bisons’ last series before winter break will see both teams hosted by the Trinity Western University Spartans Dec. 1 and 2 in Langley, B.C.