Whether it’s the success of the Toronto Raptors or a case of more kids turning to roundball as a sporting option, youth basketball is alive and bouncing on the West Shore.
Westshore Basketball and Warriors Basketball both serve up a chance to play in the Victoria and District Amateur Basketball Night League. Westshore Basketball had 13 teams involved this past season, with the U15 Dawgs boys team winning the A division, their fourth title in six years.
The Westshore Wonders U13 girls team won the B division title. A third-place finish by the Westshore Wave girls U13 team was another highlight of the season, which runs from September to February.
Westshore Basketball co-director Brad Lidstone traces much of the organization’s success to the Westshore Rain program, which gives kids as young as five a chance to get involved. The introductory program, which runs once a week, emphasizes fun and uses game-based activities.
“We’re looking for kids who are trying basketball for the first time or are looking to get better,” Lidstone said. “Seeing the kids improve is how we measure success.”
Westshore Basketball is currently looking for players for its spring programs, which begins the first week of April on Sunday and Tuesday evenings. Email Lidstone or co-director Curt Spaven at email@example.com, or dribble over to westshorebasketball.com for more details.
Warriors Basketball had six girls teams during the season at four grade levels, including Warriors 9, Warriors 8 Black, Warriors 8 Gold, Warriors 7 Black and Gold and Warriors 6, with all six teams competing in Night League play. About 70 girls took part this year, said head coach David Wighton.
More than 60 Warriors played on Dunsmuir, Spencer and John Stubbs middle school teams, as well as both junior and senior teams at Belmont and Royal Bay, Wighton said.
The 2015-16 edition of Warriors 9 finished the season in Night League without a loss. Warriors teams also competed in three different provincial championships.
“I think (Warriors Basketball and Westshore Basketball) share the common goal of getting more kids involved in playing basketball,” Wighton said. “We are opening some of our practices up for School District 62 girls who have never played in Night League, to get a taste of what competitive basketball is like.”
There is a nominal fee for gym rental, and players must be born between 2002 and 2005. For information, call Wighton at 250-642-0583.