By John DeCoste
Acadia’s men’s basketball team may have lost the battle, but they could still win the war.
The fate of this year’s Axemen is in the hands of the CIS wildcard selection committee after Acadia dropped an 83-75 decision to the Cape Breton Capers in the Atlantic University Basketball Conference final Sunday afternoon in Halifax.
Conference MVP James Dorsey led all scorers with 30 points, including a perfect 16-16 from the foul line, and added eight assists to lead the Capers to a come-from-behind victory.
Acadia led 13-9 after one quarter, 35-31 at halftime and 58-54 after three quarters, but Cape Breton upped the intensity in the final 10 minutes and the Axemen squad was unable to adjust.
In addition to Dorsey's heroics, Kayon Mayers finished with 13 points, Shaquille Keith and Meshack Lufile earned 12 apiece for Cape Breton, which went 19-1 in the regular season - their lone loss was to the Axemen - and 2-0 in the playoffs.
Owen Klassen had 24 points and eight rebounds for Acadia. Sean Stoqua added 12 points and seven boards before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Anthony Ashe had his second straight “double-double” with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Anthony Sears also finished with 10 points.
With the win, Cape Breton claimed its first conference championship since 2010, and its first-ever win at the Metro Centre.
Most felt Acadia's chances of securing the wildcard berth for next weekend's CIS Final Eight were good, considering the Axemen entered the weekend as the fifth-ranked team in Canada and all four teams ahead of them in the rankings, including the second-place Capers, have already qualified for nationals.
The wildcard decision is expected sometime Sunday evening.