6’3″ guard Kache Kopec, a freshman guard out of Kelowna (B.C.) Mt. Boucherie knocked down 5 3’s to lead Lakehead to an opening round 72-64 victory over Brandon as the 49th Wesmen Classic kicked off in Winnipeg. An 18-8 Lakehead run in the fourth quarter, capped off by a Nick Burke three, put Lakehead up 69-58 to ice the game.
After a rough start – Brandon led 29-27 at half – in which both teams appeared to shaking off the holiday rust, the Wolves began connecting from downtown vs. Bobcats’ zone. Kopec finished with 17 and fellow freshman 6’4″ Brandon Persaud added 15 as the two first-year wings combined to shoot 9 for 22 from downtown while the rest of the Wolves added only a collective 3 for 17 from beyond the arc. Lakehead also hurt themselves from the line going just 12 of 21.
Brandon stayed in the game until very late as Lakehead misses led to odd-man fast breaks for the Bobcats and layups. Earl Thomson Jr. hit five three’s for the Bobcats en route to a game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Henry Tan added 15 points with 6 rebounds and 5 assists for Lakehead, while Burke grabbed 11 rebounds. Bacarius Dinkins scored 13 points with 9 rebounds before fouling out, after just 20 minutes of court time.
Lakehead committed 21 turnovers to Brandon’s 25 giveaways.
The Thunderwolves will face either Acadia or MacEwan tomorrow in the championship semi-finals at 8:00pm (Central time) tomorrow.