The Lindsay Thurber boys’ and girls’ basketball teams had mixed results in their season-openers, but both squads are eying provincials.
Both Raider teams hosted the Lacombe Rams Tuesday for the opening games of the Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association season. The girls walked away with a massive 66-24 win, while the boys fell 63-61.
The girls finished atop the Central Alberta division and went 1-2 in three games at provincials last year.
Coach Kathy Lalor said Tuesday’s win was a great start to the year.
“We’re starting at a pretty good point,” she said. “We have a lot of work to do. Defence is really important to our coaching staff, but we haven’t had much time to focus on that.”
The team has only been practising for about a week, Lalor said.
A few key players from last year graduated, but Lalor said she hopes to get back to provincials this season.
“It’s a terrific group of girls who work hard and never quit,” she said. “This team has lots and lots of potential. It’s up to the coaching staff to teach these kids what they need to learn.”
There are a handful of fresh faces and on the Raiders, but there are plenty of returning players too, said Lalor.
“I’m looking for the Grade 12s to provide leadership and help our new players,” she said.
The boys’ basketball team was unable to nail a shot in the dying seconds to tie things up with the Rams in its first game of the year.
Last year the Raiders fell in the league playoffs to the Rams.
Carl Light, boys’ basketball team coach, said the game was an exciting way to start the season. The team was behind through much of the fourth, but continued to claw back and keep it close.
“We’re never out of a game – we don’t care what the score is. Whether we’re up by 20 or down by 20, we’re going full-tilt the whole time,” Light said.
That mentality could lead the Raiders to provincials this year, Light added.
“We’re playing to represent Central Alberta at provincials for sure,” he said. “We have lots of leadership on this team, which is nice to see. They’re bonding right now and they’ll be a tight group down the stretch.”
Three Grade 12 players from the boys team graduated and eight players are returning.
Grade 12 Eric Moore, one of those returning players, said he likes the look of his team.
“Once we get going and get a few injured guys into the lineup I think we’re going to be a pretty solid team,” Moore said.
Moore said he wants to be a leader for the new players on the team.
“Last year I got shown the reigns by the guys who were graduating and now I have to step up and show the young guys coming in what Raider ball is all about,” he said.