By Joe Thibeau, Coach, Stettler Wildcats
The Stettler Wildcats senior boys’ basketball team opened its season last weekend at the Lacombe tournament.
We played three games — two were against league opponents who we see later in the season (including Sylvan Lake last night) and our third game was against CACHS of Lacombe.
In our first game against Ponoka, we came out very strong and had a lead at the end of the first quarter. Our press was working well and we were able to convert some easy baskets. Ponoka was able to adjust to the pressure and began putting tough pressure on us.
We lost our lead in the second quarter, but only found ourselves down by five at the half. The third quarter, Ponoka pressed us and were able to break us down and create turnovers. By the end of the third quarter, Ponoka had created a substantial lead and ended up winning the game 81-53.
Our second game found us playing against a tall Sylvan Lake squad. Bryce Leschert and Norbert Baharally coached this game for the Wildcats. Our zone defence was not active enough and Sylvan had time to shoot the ball. We also were not able to produce offensively. The result was a 58-31 loss.
Our last game was against the host CACHS team. We were more evenly matched and had a very back-and-forth game. Ty Page put on a strong effort in the second quarter to keep the game close, but it seemed that the ball just didn’t want to go in. Close shots rolled around the rim, but wouldn’t fall for us. We put forth a strong effort in the fourth quarter, but fell short 66-57.
We definitely have some things to work on, but we are improving from last year. We have some terrific speed and athleticism and will hopefully be a high-energy, fast-break and press team. Our returning Grade 12 players are Ty Page, Morgan Loshny, Mark Meyer and Tyler Stewart. New to the senior team are our Grade 11s — Stephen Zuk, Jordan Bauman, Nicholas Baharally, Aeroll Acera, Andrew Kim, Justin Fleischhacker and Jacques du Toit. Also new to our school and senior team are Braden Deagle and Matt Gudgeon.
The Wildcats’ coaches again are Bryce Leschert and Joe Thibeau.