Finnigan absorbs changes in game

His last coaching gig was 20 years ago and the game has certainly changed since then, but to Terry Finnigan, basketball is basketball.

Notre Dame Cougar Stacy Romerman lays up a shot as West Central High School Rocky Rebel Erika Ziegler blocks during high school basketball action at Notre Dame on Tuesday.

Notre Dame Cougar Stacy Romerman lays up a shot as West Central High School Rocky Rebel Erika Ziegler blocks during high school basketball action at Notre Dame on Tuesday.

His last coaching gig was 20 years ago and the game has certainly changed since then, but to Terry Finnigan, basketball is basketball.

Finnigan was an assistant with the Lindsay Thurber Raiders senior boys in 1989 and is just nicely into his first season as head coach of the Notre Dame Cougars senior girls, who on Tuesday opened their Central Alberta High School Basketball League campaign with a convincing 53-27 conquest of the visiting Rocky Mountain House Rebels.

As a player Finnigan starred with the Raiders before earning college All-Canadian honours while playing under head coach Wayne Lalor at Red Deer College.

“It’s a different game now. The three-point line wasn’t as dominant or as big a factor when I played. The players are bigger and faster now and everyone pushes the ball up the floor,” he noted.

As for his ability to pass on his knowledge of the game as a coach . . .

“I’ve participated in enough practices and watched other people run drills,” said Finnigan. “I was also part of Team Alberta as a high school player and was involved with Basketball Alberta, so I’ve had plenty of sources to draw from.”

Finnigan takes over from former Cougars head coach Erika Pottage, who is on maternity leave.

“They were looking for someone to help out here and I’d thought I’d be interested in the position,” he said.

“There’s no sense in just sitting back and watching from the sidelines. It’s an opportunity to give something back.”

Finnigan, who is assisted by Phil Penner, inherits a team with a comfortable mix of experience and youth.

The six returnees are forwards Makenzie Quinn, Taylor Penner and Chelsea Fraser, as well as guard Danielle Harder, forward/post Jenna Ronnie and post Kirsten Khatib. The remainder of the team consists of forwards Kaitlyn Meador, Maddie Quinn and Stacy Romerman, and guards Haley Anderson, Megan LaRocque and Kathrina Uytina.

“Actually, with the system we play the girls rotate through all of the positions, so they get a taste of everything,” said Finnigan.

“If their back is to the basketball sometimes they have to play post as opposed to forward, and sometimes they have to bring the ball up the floor.

“They’re having to adjust to the style that I’m implementing, but it’s a nice mix for them, a bit of a variety. It’s a little more open, a little more up-tempo.”

Finnigan, who had 35 girls attend tryouts this year, is hoping to get his team to the provincial championship tournament next spring.

“That’s one of the team goals we’ve set. We’d like to go to provincials and we want to be competitive with Thurber and Hunting Hills,” said the coach, who is confident that the likes of Makenzie Quinn, Harder, Ronnie and Khatib can play post-secondary basketball next year.

“I’d like to help them prepare for the next level, help them achieve some skills they’ll need for college or university,” he added.

“The game is quicker at the post-secondary level and they have to adjust to that. I want to get them used to running a bit more and pushing the ball up the floor.”

For the most part, Finnigan was pleased with the Cougars’ performance on Tuesday.

“For it being our first game of the season, we did some really good things,” he said. “We worked on a brand new offence and also on some pressure. The big thing is that the girls get to know each other. They have to do that before we can be successful on the floor.”

Fraser and Makenzie Quinn scored eight points apiece for Notre Dame. Lexi Anderson led the Rebels with 10 points.

• In the later senior boys contest, Kyle Devine netted 14 points and Connor McLaughlin hooped 12 as the Cougars ripped the Rebels 91-25.

The Notre Dame Cougar Classic senior girls/boys tournament runs Friday and Saturday.

Just Posted

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Alberta’s declining COVID-19 numbers are a positive sign for the province. (photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer down to 634 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone down to 2,054 active cases

Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Rylan Thiessen (26) guards the front of the net as goalie Connor Unger makes a save on Winnipeg Ice forward Skyler Bruce during a Western Hockey League game on April 14 at the Brandt Centre in Regina. Brandon won 5-3. (Keith Hershmiller Photography)
Two big trades provide stability for Red Deer Rebels

All Connor Ungar wanted was an opportunity and he’s finally found it.… Continue reading

(Screenshot).
Seven central Alberta charities benefit from community foundation grants

Seven central Alberta charities have received grants from the Red Deer and… Continue reading

Red Deer Gun Show organizer, Harold Drok, is concerned $1 fee from each ticket sale will go to Westerner Park once shows can be restarted there. This new policy replaces parking fees which will be waived for future Westerner Park events. (Black Press file photo)
Event organizer concerned about Westerner Park’s new parking fee model

A show organizer is concerned this could impact proceeds

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
Organizers of central Alberta anti-lockdown rodeo plead not guilty

Ty and Gail Northcott charged under the Public Health Act

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

New York Islanders' Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) can't get a rebound behind Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (35) with help from Sidney Crosby (87) during the first period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Jarry rebounds with 37 saves, Pens even series with Isles

Jarry rebounds with 37 saves, Pens even series with Isles

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period in Game 2 of the team's NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Vasilevskiy stops 32, Lightning top Panthers 3-1 in Game 2

Vasilevskiy stops 32, Lightning top Panthers 3-1 in Game 2

Vancouver Canucks' Quinn Hughes (43) puts a shot wide of the goal behind Calgary Flames goalie Louis Domingue (70) during first period NHL action game in Vancouver on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks weather late barrage, hold on for 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Vancouver Canucks weather late barrage, hold on for 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu throws to a Boston Red Sox batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 18, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Ryu pitches 7 masterful innings, Blue Jays beat Red Sox 8-0

Ryu pitches 7 masterful innings, Blue Jays beat Red Sox 8-0

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says he knew about investigation into general overseeing vaccines weeks ago

Trudeau says he knew about investigation into general overseeing vaccines weeks ago

Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Leca Dube, son of late Joyce Echaquan, stands in front of a vigil marking violence against native women, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, outside the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Echaquan inquiry: Quebec nurse admits prejudice about Indigenous patients among staff

Echaquan inquiry: Quebec nurse admits prejudice about Indigenous patients among staff

An excavator works in the background as police establish a checkpoint on McClure Main in the Caycuse area on B.C.'s Vancouver Island, Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Police arrest five protesters for refusing to leave anti-logging blockades in B.C.

Police arrest five protesters for refusing to leave anti-logging blockades in B.C.

Most Read