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Raiders rolling to start season

The Lindsay Thurber Raiders are four games into the 2013-14 senior high girls basketball campaign and already they look to be in mid-season form.

A 4-0 record will give a team that appearance.

Fresh off their 3-0 championship performance at the J. Percy Page tournament at Edmonton during the weekend, the Raiders silenced the visiting Hunting Hills Lightning 72-37 in their Central Alberta High School League season-opener Tuesday.

It is indeed very early, but so far, so good.

“What I really like about them is they’re a really hard-working bunch of girls,” said Raiders head coach Kathy Lalor. “We haven’t had that many practices because we got some girls from volleyball last week, but most of the kids are in pretty good shape and they’ve come in here with a positive attitude.

“I’m really looking forward to the season. We have lots of work to do but I think this is a group of girls that’s willing to put in the time and effort to improve. At the start of the season you go out and see what you’ve got and start to work from there. That’s the exciting part — envisioning where you can get these girls to at the end of the year.”

The Raiders have a fine mix of youth and experience, with four returning players — point guard Kennedy Shybunka, wing Kelsie Smale and posts Natalie Holmes and Emma Newton — on a roster that consists of two Grades 10s, four Grade 11s and six Grade 12s.

“And just from what we saw this weekend, they seem to get along really well off the court so that really helps what you do on the court,” said Lalor.

The Raiders have also employed a balanced scoring attack to date. On Tuesday, Newton scored 16 points, while guard Molly Rumohr netted 13, guard Kelsey Lalor added 11 and winger Kennedy Graham had 10.

“That’s what I saw on the weekend too — that there was a lot of people contributing,” said Kathy Lalor. “When you don’t have depth sometimes that’s a problem because you play another team and they can shut down one or two people. You need other girls who can pick it up. Seeing that at the start of the season gives us hope that we can develop the rest of the girls and they can feel confident that they can be out there taking shots and driving to the hole.”

While the season has barely started, clearly there is reason for optimism.

“There is, for sure,” said Lalor. “But every team has lots of work to do at this time of the season and when you’re the coach you see probably more things out there than parents and other people watching. Every night we’re writing down two or three things we’re going to focus on the next day. It’s going to be fun.”

Jaden Robinson paced the Lightning with 11 points.

The Lindsay Thurber roster also includes wings Lizzy Morneau and Aly Andersen, guard Bretton Bowd and posts Shaelyn Moltzahn and Reece McGuire.

l In the senior boys game, Tanner Rehn dropped in 25 points and Parker Cook scored 17 as the Raiders edged the Lightning 63-63. Sean Campbell paced Hunting Hills with 28 points, while Mackenzie Wright had nine.

l The Notre Dame Cougars opened their senior boys season Tuesday with a 79-37 win over the visiting Stettler Wildcats.

The Cougars had 11 players hit the scoresheet, with Amet Deng leading the way with 19 points and Tony Bornyi hitting a trio of three-pointers and finishing with 15. Deng also had five assists.

Justin Fleischhacker had nine points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats.

Notre Dame hosts the Cougar Classic tournament Friday and Saturday, tipping off at 2:30 p.m. Friday against Edmonton St. Joseph’s.



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