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Raider senior basketball teams ready to make a run

Raiders 93 Rebels 55

It’s easy to see the talent on the Lindsay Thurber Raiders senior boy’s basketball team.

At times it’s easy to see the inconsistency as well and that’s something head coach Dwayne Lalor knows they can eliminate.

“For us to be successful it’s a matter of being consistent and focusing on doing the things we’re capable of doing, and not trying things we’re not capable of,” said Lalor following a 93-55 Central Alberta High School Basketball League victory over the West Central Rebels of Rocky Mountain House at LTCHS Thursday.

This week showed a bit of what has plagued the team a bit in the early going this season as they lost to Ponoka Tuesday at home, a team they defeated in the Ponoka tournament last weekend, and then two days later turned around and were solid against the Rebels. In fact they faced the Rebels with only nine players as six-foot-seven Tanner Rehn and six-foot-one Gaige Rehn — both Grade 11 returnees — were away and six-foot Franklin Stone had the ‘flu.

Both the Raiders were able to show their athletic ability against a well-coached, determined Rocky squad.

“We have an athletic group and on nights when they defend well it makes things a lot easier,” said Lalor. “It’s a matter of keeping our energy and defending and if we do that we’ll get some scoring opportunities. If we need anything it’s guys who can score consistently so we’re not relying on one or two guys. If one or two are doing all the scoring we’re one or two short.”

The Raiders scoring was lead by two veterans — Spencer Klassen, who hit 34, and Dallin Higham, who had 18. Parker Cook added nine and Erik Hoehne and Lorne Baile seven each.

Without Tanner Rehn available the Raiders needed everyone to contribute on the boards.

“Tanner is in his second year and has a good idea of what he needs to do, but at times the guys leave him isolated inside. We’re not the biggest team, but when everyone crashes the boards our third tallest player is as tall as most teams third player and it comes down to positioning and intelligence,” added Lalor, whose squad needs to beat out Notre Dame and Hunting Hills to reach the provincials.

“I haven’t seen the other two teams, but they will be solid. They’re both well-coached and hopefully it will be a three-horse race. If everyone stays healthy it will be a lot of fun come March, which is the best way.”

Cook and Hoehne are also back from last year with Baile, Stone, Tyson Best, Greg Chauvet and Uriel Karerwa up from the JV program.

Levi Jones led the Rebels with 10 points while Thomas Soodsma, Logan Eklund and Wes Stromquist had eight each and Brandon Cole seven.

Raiders 65 Rebels 22

The girls’ edition of the Raiders have eight returning Grade 12s on their roster. The only newcomers are guard Kennedy Shybunka, wing Kelsie Smale and post players Natalie Holmes and Emma Newton, all of whom are in Grade 11 and played with the zone champion JV team.

“The nice thing is every one of our Grade 12s has grown considerably (in terms of basketball knowledge) since last season,” said Raiders head coach Kathy Lalor following a 65-22 win over the Rebels. “And because they are our leaders on the floor it makes a difference when we use the Grade 11s. They fit in nicely.”

Lalor couldn’t be more impressed with the team’s attitude and commitment to the game.

“They all work hard in practice and I think the girls know where we’re at this early in the season and see how far we’ve come in only 10 games. They’re looking forward to the end of the season to see how far we can go.”

The Raiders are led by point guard Mikaela Kykkanen, who was away Thursday. Erin Seater is then other veteran guard, who saw considerable playing time last year along with wings Rachel Bysterveld and Amy Whitesell and posts Mikayla Morneault and Blyss Gellert.

“Amy is a third-year player who sees the floor extremely well and is a excellent scorer. She’s also working on her defence. In fact all the girls who played a lot last year are stepping up and leading the rest of the kids.”

The other veterans are wing Cara Vandervlis, and post Janelle Van Tetering.

Lalor likes the fact the team has played 10 games — four in league and six in tournament play.

“We played three games early in the season in the SAIT tournament against good teams and while we lost, we lost by one, two and four points. If we played those teams the last several years it wouldn’t have been that close. So I’m excited with what I see. The girls like the game and they’re working on their skills and when they start using them in the games it becomes fun and as a coach that’s where we want to get to.”

Morneault had 14 points, Bysterveld 11, Newton and Whitesell seven each and Seater and Gellert six apiece against the Rebels. Courtney Siummelink had six and Sarah Walton five for Rocky.

• In other senior boys’ action, the Notre Dame Cougars ran their record to 4-0 with an 88-80 win over the Sylvan Lake Lakers on the road.

Mike Malin had 24 points and Ahmet Deng 23 for the Cougars, who trailed most of the game.



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