The Claremont Spartans senior girls team are a more serious group than last year, and are looking to meet the expectations they were projected to reach last year.
“Already we’ve bonded and are all trying our best, this group is really committed,” said Chloe Scaber, a co-captain with fellow Grade 12 Sierra Reisig.
This week the Spartans (3-1) host Stelly’s Stingers (1-4), 5:45 p.m. on Thursday.
“It’s been [an interesting] start because we didn’t really practice in December, we entered December tournaments and that was our practice,” Reisig said.
On Thursday the Spartans outscored, outpaced and outplayed the Ballenas Whalers 86-29 to open the Victoria Police Basketball Tournament at St. Michaels University School. The Spartans then defeated Unity Christian 83-60 but lost in the Police Tournament final, 71-61 to the Robert Bateman Timberwolves.
To date, the Spartans have three wins and one loss in league play, that loss by a single basket to the Oak Bay Breakers.
The team has lots of height and talent beyond Reisig and Scaber, plus one big surprise in a little package: Marin Abe. On any given night the international student from Japan is among the fastest, most skilled players on the floor. She’s small but, as she showed in the Victoria Police Tourney, she can hit threes with the best of them, has good vision, and drives past defenders with her quickness.
“She just showed up to tryouts, we didn’t know who she was,” Scaber said. “We were like, okay, she can play.”
Last year the Spartans met expectations by making it to the AAA provincials (with Oak Bay the other Island team to qualify). But it was a forgettable trip, as the team dropped the first two games.
This year there is reason to believe it will be different, said the captains.
“We are confident, we don’t feel we’re fully respected,” Reisig said.
“We weren’t even ranked to start the season and now we’ve hit the top 10 in rankings, we’re getting noticed,” Scaber said.