Pilots and Blazers Renew Rivalry In Thriller

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

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The entire first half kept the capacity crowd at the Niverville High School on the edge of the seats, as Providence narrowly held onto a 25-24 lead to end the first quarter. While the Blazers certainly gave everything they had, the Pilots held on again to end the first half with a 44-40 lead. The early substitution of Hayden Wiebe (Winkler, MB) proved to be a strong decision for Pilots head coach, Pierre Dubreuil. The Pilots' rim-protector amassed 5 blocks while adding 4 points and 4 rebounds, earning the 6'6", second year post the selection as the game's top performer.

The Blazers couldn’t keep the Pilots at bay; Emmanuel Oleko (Paris, FR) grabbed 8 rebounds and scored a game-high 21 points, while teammate Riley Paul (Brandon, MB) filled the stat sheet with 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 13 points. The Pilots created more breathing room with a 64-53 lead heading into the fourth quarter. When Providence started the final period slower offensively, Wiebe picked the defense up again, turning away several CMU shot attempts and bringing the Pilots an 85-69 win in the team's home opener.

“I think that it was the intensity and the defense", said Dubreuil, when asked to break down his team's performance, "since the beginning of the game, we talked about how our defense is going to lead to our offense. I knew if we were doing this strong and impactful defense, then all of the things were going to flow.”

“When you have a solid squad of returners like Kevin (Martinez) and Rhys (Maestre), you can approach a game with confidence," he added. "confidence is where it needs to be, not too high and not too low.”

Addressing the Friday's performance and Providence's preseason loss to CMU, Wiebe said, "“Obviously losing, preseason or finals isn’t fun. That early preseason loss kind of lit a fire underneath us. Our energy, even when it slowed down, we pushed the ball and played really strong defensively tonight."

The Providence Pilots welcome University of St-Boniface to the Niverville High School on Saturday, November 25th in their next home game.

Author - Athletics