Stettler’s senior boys’ basketball team reached the finals in a tournament in Lacombe’s Central Alberta Christian High School (CACHS) this past weekend.
Coach Warren Aspenes said the team from William E. Hay Composite High School is still developing, despite some struggles with scoring and turnovers.
“Despite their inexperience, they’ve grown and improved very quickly,” said Aspenes. “Each game we’re seeing growth, and that’s very important.”
On Friday, Jan. 9, the Wildcats faced Pigeon Lake, easily defeating them 80-33. Aspenes said the game was a good opportunity to build on their offense.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, the team first faced Lacombe Composite High School. While the Stettler team led from early on, their competitors had a surge in the fourth quarter, which Aspenes attributed to sloppy play by his team and an excess of turnovers.
In the finals, Stettler faced Prairie Christian Academy (PCA) from Three Hills, resulting in a close-fought match that ended with a 71-65 loss for the Wildcats.
Aspenes said the team found it was continually falling behind and having to catch up, adding that their inexperience showed despite their high score totals. Kyle Poapst scored 40 points in that game, including many three-point shots.
The coach said there were lots of scoring opportunities, but players failed to finish them up, another area on which they will need to focus.
“They’ll learn, they’ll get better,” he said, also praising the team for its composure in the finals, as the PCA team had strong crowd support.
The senior boys also visited Ponoka on Tuesday, Jan. 6, losing 97-54 to the Broncs in a game that highlighted the team’s defensive struggles.
“We have to play that intense on defense as well . . . We just haven’t gotten there yet,” Aspenes said after the game.
William E. Hay’s senior girls’ team visited Ponoka on Tuesday, Jan. 6. While they were well behind at the game’s midpoint, the Wildcats bridged the gap somewhat, ending with a score of 48-34 in the Broncs’ favour.
Coach Charisse McDonald said her team faces an uphill battle in regard to offense. As a young team, their greatest challenge is being aggressive and fighting for the ball.
She added that her goal is to improve her players’ abilities and focusing on their success, adding, “It might not be in wins and losses.”
William E. Hay’s senior girls’ team also competed in the weekend tournament at CACHS, losing two games and winning one. Further details were not available at press time.
Both senior teams will host Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School on Thursday, Jan. 15, their final games before exams begin the following week.
(Jeffrey Heyden Kaye of Black Press contributed to this report)