There are a lot of similarities between the Lindsay Thurber senior boys’ and girls’ basketball squads.
Both teams have talent and enough experience to be able to handle most situations thrown at them this season. But they are also relatively short and will need to play a pressure-style defence, along with a fast-break offence to stay with the province’s top teams.
“By provincial standards we’re certainly not tall,” said boys’ head coach Dwayne Lalor, whose tallest player is six-foot-three.
“We’ll need to play with a lot of effort and energy . . . having a big heart is important.”
The Raiders have eight players back from last season including six-foot-three post Ryan Clark, six-foot-two forward Daniel Grenier and point guards Grady Bowd and Warren Johnston, all of whom saw significant playing time last season.
“We have descent experience which hopefully will help us and we should recognize and handle what teams throw at us,” said Lalor.
“We should be better this year than last, but still the key for us is to build a cohesive team that plays together. We need to be on the same page and play an up-beat, aggressive game. If we do that we have a chance to play with the bigger guys.”
Shooting guard Tyson Hermanson and forwards Kyle O’Meara, Stephen Price and Patrick Bauer also return. All but Grenier are in Grade 12.
Lalor also has two Grade 10s — six-foot-three post DeMarcus Adamson and guard Jonah Penner — on the roster along with two Grade 11s up from the junior varsity program — shooting guard Aqib Waqar and forward Dominique Tait.
The Raiders have won three of five starts this season, heading into Wednesday’s game against the Lacombe Rams in Central Alberta High School Basketball League action at LTCHS — no score was available at press time.
The girls’ edition of the Raiders has six veterans on their 11-player roster.
“We have some experience and the new girls’ have fit in nicely, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said head coach Kathy Lalor.
“We don’t have the height inside, so we’ll need to work on using our speed, pressing up court on defence and learning how to double team in the post and drop down so there won’t be a lot of easy passes inside.”
Three of the veterans — Grade 11 point guard Keitlyn Williams, Carlee Harrison and Christie Hackenbrook — are guards with Emily Sylvester and Jen Peturson back at the wing and Sam Clutton in the post.
Taylor Heist, who plays the wing, is the lone Grade 10 on the team with guard Melissa McLellan, wing Telaina Snider and posts Trish Peter and Casey Link up from JV.
“I like what I see and by the end of the year we’ll be OK,” added Lalor, who didn’t push her team early in the season.
“We were patient as a lot of the girls played volleyball and needed a break and time to relax,” she said.
“Now is the time to start working on what we need to do.”
Several of the girls showed Tuesday during their 76-44 victory over the Rams they’re listening to what the coaches have been preaching during practice.
“We’ve worked on taking the ball to the basket and we did a good job of that tonight,” said Lalor. “We appreciate the fact they are doing what we work on.”
Snider led the Raiders with 16 points while Harrison added 15, Clutton 10 and McLellan and Williams nine each. Candice Duckett had 19 points and Kylie Clark 13 for Lacombe.
l Raiders play in the Bev Facey tournament this weekend, will entertain Olds Tuesday in exhibition play and host Stettler Jan. 15 in a makeup game from prior to Christmas.
l Taliah Deans netted 12 points and Megan Schmidt scored 10 as the Notre Dame Cougars beat Rocky West Central 58-28 in JV girls play.
Notre Dame was a 65-15 winner in the boys contest as Peter McElhaney, J.T. Ross and King de la Cruz each scored eight points.