Providence Pilots basketball honoured as playoffs begin
by CASSIDY DANKOCHIK
As the Providence Pilots season comes to a close, players from across Manitoba colleges were rewarded with true sport honours for the first time.
The Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) named five players to their first-ever True Sport Team in basketball. Players from both the men’s and women’s teams at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), the University of St Boniface and Providence University College were honoured for demonstrating the seven “true sport” principles.
Anna Cushon from the Pilots women’s team and Kevin Martinez from the men’s team were named to the five-player team.
“I am so proud of Anna,” Providence women’s basketball head coach Joel Coursey said in an MCAC news release.
“She is an amazing person who cares deeply for those around her. She works hard and wants to improve herself. Anna is a great leader who leads by example and with intentional relationship. She is an exceptional student-athlete.”
Men’s basketball coach Pierre Dubreuil had similar praise for Martinez, noting he thrived as a team captain this year.
“From early in the season until now, he has worked daily on his leadership skills, never refusing a challenge,” Dubreuil said.
“He is very invested in his study and involved in the Providence community and local communities by volunteering and leading the team during clinics for kids.”
Both coaches also recently celebrated milestones of their own, as Providence picked up four wins against St Boniface over the weekend to close out the MCAC regular season.
As the women’s program picked up a dominating 98-30 victory, Feb. 4, Coursey notched his 100th career win as a coach with the Pilots. Since 2013, Coursey’s teams have a record of 63-44, capturing the Northern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (NIAC) championship in 2019.
The Pilots also recognized outgoing seniors Megan Weibe and Trinity Blair during the night.
After finishing second in MCAC play, the Pilots women’s basketball team will need to continue the winning streak against St Boniface to earn a spot against CMU in the Manitoba final Feb. 12.
The men’s team will have no such issues, finishing a perfect 8-0 in MCAC play this season. They’ll await the winner between CMU and St Boniface having already qualified for the final.
Men’s head coach Pierre Dubreuil was recently named as the head coach for Manitoba’s 15U male team. Dubreuil will lead Team Manitoba to the national championships in Quebec this summer.
Providence alumni Eric Sung, who now coaches the powerhouse Dakota Lancers high school girls team, was named as Team Manitoba’s 17U female coach.
The men’s team couldn’t have found a better result to honour their graduating senior, as Joshua Armstrong ended his MCAC regular season career named the conference’s athlete of the week.
Armstrong posted 34 of his team’s 79 points in the Feb. 4 victory, adding onto 18 points from the night before.
The NIAC championships will take place in Minneapolis Feb. 17, with the National Christian Colleges Athletic Association north region tournament taking place March 2 in Iowa.