Fiddler's Facts: Action heats up on basketball courts

Published on October 18, 2014

Basketball is in the spotlight this weekend as the annual Mickey Place tournament continues today at the UPEI gym.

The men’s team, under coach Tim Kendrick, meets arch-rival Saint Mary’s tonight at 8 p.m. while Sunday at 3 p.m., the Panthers play Holland College.

This week should be a good test for both Holland College and Crandall, two of the top-ranked college teams in the country, as they meet tougher university clubs.

Most Islanders will be shocked the little college that Dr. Glendenning started way back in the early 1970s is competing with the big boys in a major sport. Oh, how times have changed.

The men’s hoop Panthers have a lot of talent and one of their new recruits is none other than Tyler Scott, a player highly recommended by non-other than Mickey Fox, the former SMU star and one of few to play in the NBA. Fox thinks Scott is a league MVP type with an abundance of talent.

UPEI also has standouts like Ellis Ffrench, Geoff Doane and Lorenzo Parker and three stars from the Island high school league in Noah Giddings from Charlottetown, Kenan Wilkie from Alberton and Kyle Welton from York.

Among the 13-man roster are two from far, far away including one of my favourites in Vuji, Stefan Vujisic from Serbia, and Miki Sedlarevic from Slovenia.

Come out tonight at 8 p.m. or tomorrow at 3 p.m. and see the talent for yourself.

The UPEI women’s team under new head coach Mark English plays Ottawa tonight at 6 p.m. at UPEI and it’s a chance to see standouts like Danielle MacDonald from Sydney, N.S., and Charlottetown’s Kiera Rigby.

English is from Branch, N.L., and Islanders got to stick together. I like him.

Island Storm

I had a chat the other afternoon with Duncan Shaw, of the Island Storm, and he is some excited about his professional basketball team.

Island Storm coach Joe Salerno thinks his club can go all the way in the National Basketball League of Canada and after last year’s thrilling finals, it is very possible.

There are 20 players coming to training camp, which starts Monday at UPEI, and their intra-squad game at Westisle, this Thursday at 7 p.m., with proceeds to the school.

The Storm’s first home game is Thursday, Nov. 6, at the Eastlink Centre.

World Series

The Kansas City Royals are headed to the World Series for the first time since 1985 and it’s great news for baseball fans and for small-market teams and bad news for the big-dollar, big-market clubs.

The Royals are getting great pitching and playing smart baseball. How many times have you heard me talk about not taking chances when your team is behind?

In the Detroit series, a Tiger runner tried to go from second to third with one out while trailing on the scoreboard and got thrown out at third base.

The same Detroit team in another game tried to steal or play hit and run with nobody out and the meat of the order coming up and hit into a double play.

Some teams have very capable field managers and some do not. Ned Yost in Kansas City and Bruce Bochy in San Francisco are among the best and it shows.

Harness racing

Live harness racing continues tonight at the city track with a 13-dash card that gets away at 6 p.m.

The $2,400 feature goes in Race 12 and the horse to beat, All Turain, has the outside position, which is not good for him. Touch of Lightning, Astor and Carnivore are among the toughest in the eight-horse field.

The Maritime Breeders three-year-old trot goes in two divisions at $3,000 tonight and one of the horses that I like is Bert Honkoop’s B J Comanche. Bet Bert tonight.

The Truro Yearling Sale goes Friday and there’s 35 head in the sale.

My old pal Jamie Kennedy has consigned Hip 22 JFJS Smilincowgirl, a Brandons Cowboys out of a good Die Laughing mare and she’s a good looker as is another of Jamie’s yearling at Kenny Arsenault’s barn at the city track. Good luck my friend.

Veteran breeder Roddie MacLeod has two in the same sale by the red-hot Ameripan Gigolo, and anything by this guy is a precious commodity.

Mitch and David Tierney have a colt consigned by Duke MacCallum, a horse with a 1:56-and-change record, who beat all the OSS A colts and showed enormous ability at two and three.

The colt is out of a sister to Waiting On a Woman, who took a new record of 1:52.2 two weeks ago at Pocono.

The Mohawk Summer meet concluded and Chris Christoforou took the trophy as leading dash winning driver. Charlottetown’s James MacDonald finished in a tie for second with Randy Waples. The recent issue of Trot Magazine has a major story and a picture of James on the cover called King James.

Kimball Bernard, the son of veteran trainer-driver Jack Bernard, is a regular at the city track and as fine a gentleman as you will ever meet. He’s a culinary instructor at Holland College and like many Islanders he’s upbeat about his golf game. Last week, Kimball fired an albatross on the sixth hole at Fox Meadow and that is some feat, a two on a par-5.

I am not familiar with the terms albatross, eagle or birdie as I play with pharmacist Ray Murphy where bogies are in fashion. Great news Kimball, put your clubs away for the winter.

Lots of racing up-country tonight. At Yonkers, Mark MacDonald has Fly Hawk El Duraro in the $580,000 eliminations of the Yonkers Trot for trainer Mark Ford. The horse has already banked $310,000 this season so he’s got a shot.

In addition, Mark drives Lady Shadow for trainer Dr. Ian Moore in the Lady Maud eliminations. At Woodbine tonight, James drives Lancaster Park in the Governors Cup eliminations. At Batavia, New York Anthony MacDonald drives Apprentice Hanover in the $50,000 Kane Invitation against Bolt the Duer, Aracache Hanover, Easy Again and Wazzup Wazzup among others.

Pigskin Picks

Heading into Week 7 of the NFL season the surprise thus far is the play of the Dallas Cowboys (5-1), who many think is the best team in the entire league. I won’t go that far.

New York Giants (3-3) at Dallas Cowboys – This game should tell us more about the Cowboys, who upset Seattle Sunday. Dallas is six-point favourites and they should cover based on the Giants most recent sad performance, a 27-0 loss to Philadelphia.

New Orleans Saints (2-3) at Detroit Lions (4-2) – The Saints are a poor road team and even with Drew Brees they don’t scare anybody. The Lions have the top defence in the NFL and they’ll devour the Saints who are 2.5-point dogs.

Minnesota Vikings (2-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-3) – The Vikings have a bright young quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, but he received no protection and was mugged last week against Detroit. The Bills are tough at home and have a tenacious pass rush which means another bad day at the office for Bridgewater and the Vikings who are without running back Adrian Peterson and 3.5 dogs.

Atlanta Falcons (2-4) at Baltimore Ravens (4-2) – It’s like this, the Falcons are lambs on the road and they have a porous defence. Ravens QB Joe Flacco is coming off a brilliant five-touchdown performance. If you bet the Ravens you give up seven points, but do just that because The Prophet told you so.

Cleveland Browns (3-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) – Right now the Browns look playoff bound and have an easy three-week schedule starting with the winless Jags. Browns QB Brian Hoyer was sharp in their rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday and right now he and the Browns are playing with confidence.

I also like Chicago, Denver and Seattle to win this weekend, but the above four are the smart picks. If you want to hear the cash register ring, bet them.

Fred MacDonald's column appears each Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at fiddlersfacts@hotmail.com