A renewed commitment and a move to younger players are the benchmarks for the Edward Milne Community School’s senior basketball team moving forward.
The Sooke team was able to get in nine additional practices during the extended Christmas break, which bodes well for the upcoming regular season, said Wolverines head coach Trevor Bligh.
“Those extra practices had a dramatic effect on team chemistry, and we made massive progress over Christmas break,” Bligh said.
“We were plagued by non-commitment issues with a couple of seniors this year, so we’re going with the kids that are committed to playing. We’re building for the future with three seniors and six Grade 11 players.”
Although Bligh coached some of his current players since they were in Grade 9, the process stalled after missing a year and a half due to COVID. “We had to resort to doing drills last year just to try and stay sharp and keep the kids involved,” he said.
The regular-season schedule was supposed to start on Nov. 27, but public health orders caused delays that limited the number of opportunities to practice earlier in the year. Bligh believes that the schedule could resume this week, but nothing is set in stone after a Jan. 4 game was postponed because of public health orders.
“We’ve got five games with only one practice in between, followed by four games,” he said regarding the current proposed schedule.
“I’ve never seen a year like this in my 27 years of coaching,” Bligh said. “We struggled a lot at the beginning going 0-9, but only one of those was in league play.”
All of the tournament games this season were cancelled, which means there are nine more games the team will have to squeeze in somewhere, he added.
“COVID has thrown a monkey wrench into the last two years. Those (earlier) games look like junior boys or a level below. The fact is that most teams are playing zone to hide the fact that they don’t have five kids who can play man to man.”