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Blazers Men's Basketball Claim First Title Since 2017

Blazers Men's Basketball Claim First Title Since 2017

Your Blazers Men's Basketball Team are the 2023-24 MCAC Champions after a dominant performance over the Providence Pilots on Saturday night in St. Boniface. The Championship title is the first for the team since the 2016-17 season, and first under head coach Scott Martin who was voted the 2023-24 MCAC and NIAC Coach of the Year.

It was a familiar matchup in the final, as the past three MCAC championship games since the pandemic-cancelled season have featured the Blazers and the Pilots; however, the result was very different. The 2021-22 final featured the top-ranked Blazers upset by the Pilots on their home court in Niverville, while last year's championships saw a second half Blazers lead slip away in the dying minutes to the top-seeded Pilots, stunning the CMU home crowd. This year's edition was on neutral turf, and with both teams having nearly equal records it was anyone's guess who might come out on top.

A week earlier at the NIAC Championships in Plymouth, Minnesota, the Blazers were bested by Providence in the tournament semi-finals, setting up round two of the playoff series back in Manitoba with the provincial title on the line.  CMU's All-Conference selections Isaiah Cole, Daniel Cameron, and Braeden Fernandez were honoured prior to tipoff alongside Providence's nominees, including reigning player of the year Riley Paul. The Blazers jumped out to a lead early in the first quarter and simply never let their foot off the gas, extending that advantage throughout the game until the final buzzer sounded with the score 82-62 in favour of the green and gold. It was a convincing win all around, and when the lights shone brightest, it was CMU's three All-Conference selections that really set the tone for the Blazers.

With 32 points including five made from beyond the arc, Isaiah Cole was the clear choice as Championship MVP, a fitting end to his collegiate career after the star returned to CMU for a fourth and final season. He was unstoppable early in the game, and a huge factor in the Blazers' ability to take a strangle hold on the contest from tipoff.  Last season's co-player of the year Daniel Cameron also came up big on the boards in the final, dropping 22 points alongside 13 rebounds and three steals for the double-double, and was a key impact player in shutting down the Pilots' Riley Paul. Sophomore point guard Braeden Fernandez was a clutch performer in the game, notching 11 points of his own and grabbed two steals all while controlling the Blazers' offence. Combined, CMU's three All-Conference selections outscored the entire Providence lineup with 65 points shared among them, but all twelve players that hit the floor for the Blazers were able to impact the game positively either defensively in shutting down the Pilots' scorers, or adding points on offence in the fantastic team win.

The team will now wind down their practices for the rest of the semester before ramping up recruiting and training this spring and summer in search of a title defence next season.

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