Gage Happell eyes up the basket for a shot. He’s just one of hundreds of West Shore children that enjoy playing organized sports. (Photo courtesy Westshore Basketball)

Westshore basketball enjoys jump in players

Participation in Raptors training camp a plus

Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

Westshore Basketball’s popularity is surging, as evidenced by a significant jump in the number of teams and players involved in the organization this year.

The organization registered 22 teams in the Victoria and District Night league for 2017, up from 16 teams last year. There are four U11, five U13 five U15 and one U18 boys teams playing this year. They are joined by two U11, two U13 and three U15 girls teams, bringing the total of players to more than 200.

When Westshore Basketball was launched in 2011, director Brad Lidstone believed it would be popular because of the demand and population growth in the area.

“We have been pleasantly surprised by how quickly it took off,” he noted.

Westshore Rain, a fun, skills-based program for kids between five and nine years of age, has also enjoyed a spike in participation. The increased turnout has resulted in the organization offering the option of playing on Thursday in addition to Tuesday at John Stubbs School. Learn to Play 1 takes place from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by learn to Play 2 from 7 to 8 p.m. More than 100 kids have registered for the Fall Rain program, which runs from October to December. Registration opens in November for Winter Rain, a nine-week program from January to April.

Westshore Basketball had 23 players take part in the Toronto Raptors training camp at the University of Victoria, where they worked on skills with Raptors and UVic Vikes coaches. Directors Lidstone and Curt Spaven also participated in The Canada Basketball’s coaches school.

Players from Westshore Basketball’s U11 team played at half time in front of 600 fans during a game between the Vikes and Bishop’s University Gaitors. Westshore Basketball players will participate in the UVic Basketball Future Stars tournament at the end of the month as well.

Westshore Basketball will host the sixth annual Winter Break Skills Camp, sponsored by Shorline Orthodontics at Belmont Secondary School from Jan. 2 to 5. “We’re fortunate to have the support of the Sooke School District,” Lidstone said. “That’s been instrumental in our success.”

Lidstone thanked sponsors Victoria Contracting, Jones Co. Custom Creations, Pennziol EZ Lube, White Spot West Shore, and Sheraton Four Points Hotel, for their support.

For more information or to register for Winter Rain, go to westshorebasketball.com.


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editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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