Lindsay Thurber Raiders head coach Dwayne Lalor isn’t looking beyond this year when discussing his senior boys’ basketball squad.
With seven Grade 12s on the roster, Lalor knows there is no ‘wait until next year’ with this team.
“This is the year we have to put it together,” he said. “We have a lot of graduating size and talent and we have to perform.”
Six of the seven graduating players played last season with Matt Graham returning after taking a year off.
The team is led by six-foot-seven Tanner Rehn, who is one of the top inside players in the zone. He was also a leader on the provincial champion Raiders senior volleyball squad.
“Tanner is very consistent in the post and gives us inside scoring, but what we need to continue to do is work on our outside scoring, and we’re working on it every day,” said Lalor.
They’re also working on their rebounding.
“As a group we don’t rebound as well as we should,” added Lalor, who also has six-foot-five Parker Cook and six-foot-four Cam Black on the roster.
Cook, who is in Grade 12, can also provide outside scoring while Black is in Grade 11.
Point guard David Higham, Greg Rehn, Franklin Stone and Uriel Karerwa are the other graduating players.
Lalor has two Grade 10s in Ben Pasiuk and six-foot-two Ben Holmes, both of whom are outstanding athletes. Pasiuk played with the Raiders football team and Holmes was a starter with the volleyball squad.
“Although they’re both excellent athletes, it’s still a learning process for them and to make it tougher they’re learning at the varsity level,” said Lalor.
Jeff Willoughby, Justin Van Tetering and Jarrett Zilinski — all in Grade 11 — round out the roster.
“Overall we have a good mix, but we have to put in the work to play together as a group,” added Lalor.
“Nothing will come easy, but our main goal is to win the zone and go to the provincials. I think we’re improving, but we have to continue to improve each time out.”
The Raiders started slowly this season with poor shooting and turnovers their biggest problems.
“When we play together as a group and share the ball we play well but when we don’t, shoot poorly or turn the ball over we’re not so good,” said Lalor, who played in two tournaments prior to Christmas, winning just once.
“We lost all three games in the Percy Page tournament, but lost one at the buzzer and one by two points and it was early in the year,” explained Lalor. In Ponoka we were 1-2.
“We played a lot of games and played hard, but weren’t ready to compete yet.”
The Raiders will compete in the Bev Facey tournament this weekend and play at Sylvan Lake next Tuesday prior to a two-week break for exams.
The LTCHS senior boys’ and girls’ tournament goes Feb. 7-8.