The EDSS junior and senior boys’ basketball squads have hit the court once again, but only one of the teams will appear in regular season games.
This year, the senior team has opted not to enter into the WCSSAA league.
“It’s mostly because of numbers,” explained head coach Brian Roberts. “We didn’t have a lot of guys coming back this year, so it’s a brand new group.”
The team only has three returning players from last year’s squad that lost in the quarterfinals to Cameron Heights, and featured five fifth-year players, and four 12th Graders – none of whom returned.
“We decided that it would probably be better not to enter the team in the league, but to continue to practice with the hopes of developing and getting better by the end of the year,” continued Carter. Instead, he will continue to run practice every week, and plans to enter the team in four tournaments this year as well. The boys played in a tournament in Stratford last weekend, but didn’t win a match.
The coach has also organized six exhibition games this year as well, and hopes to get the senior boys into about 20 games in total before the season is over.
By making the team less competitive this year, Carter said, they enticed a lot of new players to come out who might not have otherwise tried basketball.
“They were nervous about playing in the league, and the time commitment,” he said. “Basketball isn’t the number-one sport for about half of them, so with this they get some basketball but not the time constraints.”
The junior squad, however, has high hopes heading into their new season. After a rebuilding year last season which included many Grade 9s playing a lot of basketball for him, coach Chris Finnie is optimistic about this year’s team, predicting that they should outperform last year’s junior team that didn’t win a game all season.
“We have more experience,” he said prior to Tuesday’s season-opening victory over Waterloo-Oxford, 45-9.
“Hopefully they will use that experience to be more competitive.”
As the coach of a junior team, he said he has a lot of players who may have never played the game before, or have only played in gym class or with their friends in the schoolyard.
“Some of our newer guys are good athletes, so I hope they can learn and build good fundamental skills, not only for the team now, but when they go on to play senior ball as well,” Finnie said. “That means coaching the basics along with good technical skills, because it is a very technical game in high school.”
One thing that the coach predicts won’t change is the amount of heart his player will demonstrate every night, whether they’re winning or losing.
“We’re going to be a hustle team, and they showed that last year. They never packed it in and kept playing hard, even when they were losing.”