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Notre Dame senior basketball teams return to the court

Senior girls get first win of the season
The Notre Dame senior boys basketball team opened the high school basketball season against the Lacombe Rams on Tuesday night at Notre Dame High School. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

It’s not about how you start, but rather how you finish.

The Notre Dame senior girls basketball team proved that on Tuesday night defeating the Lacombe Rams 49-42 in the opening game of the high school basketball season at home.

Despite trailing the Rams in every quarter, the Cougars took the lead late in the fourth and never gave it up to begin league play 1-0.

Cougars head coach Reid Mills said they’re looking forward to growing and competing as a team.

“For our team this year I find that our team is a little too nice sometimes. Our goal this year is to be a little more unapologetic about how we play,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean being rude to each other or other teams but setting the bar for how hard we’re working and how much we’re outworking other teams.”

The team is built with a strong base of Grade 11s followed by just one Grade 10 and four Grade 12s. They have a lot of players who are coming up from the junior program and all of the Grade 12s returned from last season.

This year is extra special for all five teams competing in the league as the Lindsay Thurber Raiders are hosting the 4A provincial high school senior basketball championships. That means there are potentially two spots open to compete at home.

“Through our tryout process we’ve come into this year with the mindset that we are putting up a big fight [for a spot in provincials],” Mills said.

“For whatever reason we don’t end up in that spot we’re of the mindset that we should take a provincial spot one way or another. Whether that be through wild card or taking it through our league.”

Senior boys head coach Dale Henderson said when it comes to experience his team is young but he’s liked what he’s seen so far.

“We’ve only got two Grade 12s but we have a lot of athletes in our Grade 11 group. It’s going to take us a while to figure things out but I’m looking forward to it,” Henderson said.

“I think we’ve got the ability to play with most of the teams in our league. I think our league is going to be really competitive this year.”

The boy’s team is made up of two Grade 10s, two Grade 12s, and nine Grade 11s with five returners from last year’s squad. Of the remaining eight players, six played junior basketball last season.

“They have been around the game but it’s a big step… They have lots of little things to work on.”

Henderson explained rebounding and their overall athleticism is improved from last year and will be key strengths to use for the rest of the season.

“I think that can help us with our speed in the game. One of the things we have to work on though is our defence because again not a lot of guys have played at this level. Most of the bigger guys we have this year are younger players,” he said.

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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