The 2014-15 Lindsay Thurber Raiders senior girls basketball team possesses speed, balance and a desire to play like they practise.
The attributes are paying off so far as the Raiders are off to a 3-0 start in the Central Alberta High School Basketball League season.
“I think we’re a faster team than maybe we have been the last couple of years,” said coach Kathy Lalor, whose squad routed the visiting Sylvan Lake H.J. Cody Lakers 83-12 Tuesday.
“Plus, we have pretty balanced inside and outside games which really helps. It doesn’t allow another team to focus on either your posts or your wings. They have to play us pretty much straight up.”
The Raiders had six returning players — post Reece McGuire and guards Elizabeth Morneault, Shaelyn Moltzahn, Bretton Bowd, Molly Rumohr and Kelsey Lalor — in their lineup Tuesday and four rookies, namely guards Jana Tuazon and Kiera Fujimoto, wing Morgan deBoon and post Kallie Loewen.
Lalor led the way with 17 points, while Morneault and Rumohr also hit for double figures with 14 and 10 respectively. Anna Carlson scored eight for the Lakers.
The Raiders, who last spring posted a single win at the provincial championship tournament, won the SAIT tournament at Calgary earlier this season and last weekend turned in an impressive performance in the Lethbridge Catholic Central tournament, losing 52-40 to Raymond in the bronze-medal game.
The Raiders also fell 58-50 to Catholic Central and defeated Sherwood Park Archbishop Jordan 77-41.
“All three of those teams would be in the top five or six in each of their zones. It was a really good tournament for us,” said Kathy Lalor. “We were down one point to Raymond to start the fourth quarter and they just played a little bit better than us from there.
“Every game we’ve been in that has been close we’ve really competed well and I think that’s really important at this time of year . . . just to be able to compete with perennially good teams.”
Lalor sees her team steadily improving despite it being early in the season with a roster consisting of a handful of players who just completed their volleyball campaign in November.
“We have lots of potential,” said the coach. “When the basketball season starts in December you’re just coming out of volleyball and you know you’re not prepared for everything.
“But I feel with this group of girls that every practice we go through they kind of try and take what they’ve learned and do it in the next game. That’s going to make this group of kids a pretty competitive team because they’re really trying to work on during the game what they’ve worked on during practice. That doesn’t always happen, but with this group of girls it does.”
The coach feels her club has the potential to at least match last season’s accomplishments, if not more.
“That’s always your goal — to get back to provincials,” she said. “But along the way we’re going to play some pretty good teams. By February, we want to be competing with those teams a bit better than we are now. We want to be able to won some of those games against those top teams.”
• In other senior girls play Wednesday, Nicole Fischer scored 26 points and Gabby Spenst netted 11 for the host Hunting Hills Lightning in a 79-37 whipping of the Stettler Wildcats, who got 22 from Dacia Gramlick.
Elsewhere, the host Notre Dame Cougars continued their strong play with a 60-31 win over the Wetaskiwin Sabres. Glennikka Kubaron led the winners with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Hayley Hollings had 11 points, Cierra Jean Stephens scored 10 and Kirsten Pinkney grabbed 11 rebounds.
• In senior boys play, Lindsay Thurber posted an 87-42 win over Sylvan Lake as TK Kunaka scored 13 points, Ben Pasiuk contributed 12 and Kolbi Street had nine. Chase Allan led the Lakers with eight points.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame overcame a slow start en route to a 74-54 win over Wetaskiwin, getting 14 points from Nelson Martin and 11 points and 10 rebounds from Keegan MacDonald.
• Hunting Hills defeated the visiting Lacombe Rams 64-27 in JV girls action Monday.