- It was another disappointing weekend for the Lakehead Thunderwolves at the Final 8, with back-to-back losses.
Seeded fourth this year after earning the wild card berth, the Thunderwolves were upset by fifth-seed Fraser Valley in the first round and lost their consolation round semifinal to No. 8 Acadia.
In three trips to nationals the Thunderwolves have yet to get out of the first round and their window to make a championship run could be closing soon.
They have seven players entering their final year of eligibility in 2012-13, including all-Canadian Venzal Russell and CIS defensive player of the year Greg Carter. Also entering their fifth year are Yoosrie Salhia, Joseph Jones, Ben Johnson and Brendan King.
On the bright side, the Thunderwolves aren't graduating anyone this year, which means they could be primed for another run next season.
"We have to try to get past this, it's going to be a long summer," head coach Scott Morrison said. "At least we know we have everyone back to make another run."
- In the latest installment in the "it really is a small world" file, Concordia's James Clark finished his university basketball career against his former high school coach on Saturday.
The fifth-year forward from Toronto had his best effort of the season in a losing effort in the consolation semfinal. He scored a team-high 22 points and added nine rebounds in a 84-80 loss to the Ryerson Rams team, coached by Roy Rana.
Clark played for Rana at Toronto's Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute.
"James is a great kid, great family," Rana said. "It's kind of bittersweet to see his career end against us, but I love James and happy to see him play well — but I'm obviously happy we got the win."
In another odd twist of fate, Ryerson's top scorer Saturday is from the Montreal area. Bjorn Michaelsen, who scored 25 to lead both teams, is from Otterburn Park, located about 40 km east of Concordia's downtown campus.
- Referee Michael Weiland made history Saturday, becoming the first official in CIS championship history to work back-to-back games.
Weiland was pressed into double duty when his officiating partner Kevin Moore had to withdraw due to a knee injury.
"As referees we're used two as we develop in our career, doing back-to-back high school (games)," the Calgary resident said after working both consolation round semifinals. "It's not the end of the world, but for a tournament like this, your focus and concentration and the athleticism and speed and pace of the game, it's a lot to do back-to-back games."
Weiland, who worked the Carleton-Acadia quarter-final on Friday, hasn't yet received his assignment for Sunday.
Final 8 notebook: Next year for Lakehead, and an Eastern Commerce connection
Peter James is in Halifax for the Final 8 and has kindly offered us a daily notebook. This is the fourth installment (see parts 1, 2, 3). Be sure to check out his ongoing work for Postmedia as well.