Harker's effort charges up Energy

DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

At seven-foot-two, Brad Kanis is tough to miss.

And as the focal point of his team's offence, the fortunes of Oregon Waves, usually fluctuate with the centre's ability to score inside.

Having contained the product of Southern Utah in a 32-point victory on Friday, the Edmonton Energy knew they had to lean on Kanis again -literally - in their International Basketball League rematch last night at MacEwan College.

Skouson Harker drew the assignment of guarding Kanis, and despite giving up nearly six inches on his opponent, the Energy forward was able to muscle him away from the basket for most of the evening limiting his effectiveness in a 129-100 victory.

"This year in Europe, we had a seven-foot-one guy on our team," Harker said. "I got a lot of practice defending him and what I learned is that you have to stay real low and try to take away their legs. If you can get wide and get big you're going to be a handful. That's what I tried to do and it seemed to work OK."

Harker also made Kanis work on the defensive end of the floor, pouring in a team-high 31 points. Lee Scruggs had 21 for the Energy, while J.R. Patrick and Andrew Parker each had 17.

"Skouson had a great game at both ends," said Energy head coach and general manager Paul Sir. "He battled hard inside and made their big guy uncomfortable. He (Kanis) is a good player. He's going to go down and play in Vegas and play for the Denver Nuggets' summer league team.

"But Skouson was good at both ends of the court, he really played within himself tonight, which was good."

The teams were even through most of the first quarter as they struggled to find their offensive groove, despite a pair of highlight reel dunks from the high-flying Parker. The Energy forward seemed to defy gravity as he went up to collect a pair of William Funn lob passes and pound them through the basket.

Eventually the Energy took control of the contest with a 16-0 run near the end of the first quarter.

Apart from Kanis, the Waves didn't have many offensive options to turn to other than their dynamic five-foot-six point guard Jeremiah Dominguez.

The pint-sized guard with lighting quick moves and a potent outside shot complimented Kanis. Yet midway through the second quarter, Dominguez was whacked in the head going to the basket, opening up a nasty gash. The Waves leading scorer had to leave the game and was taken to the hospital for stitches.

"That hurt them a lot," Sir said. "I thought they did really well, given what they lost."

By holding his ground in the paint, Harker forced Kanis to turn away from the basket in order to get a shot off. And with his mid-range touch having abandoned him, it proved to be a frustrating night for the Waves big man. He finished the game with 18 points.

"I think we're starting to figure out each other a little bit as far as things go defensively," Harker said. "It's such a short time together, that's it's tough to get the rotations down together defensively. We're starting to buy into that now and it's turned out to be big for us."

The Energy will now take their show on the road, so to speak, with four games in five days against the Central Oregon Hotshots in Leduc, Red Deer, Calgary and Lethbridge respectively.

They return to Edmonton in mid-June.


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