It’s not the highest calibre of basketball seen at RDC this season, but for the players in the 13th annual 1A-2A High School Senior Bowl Monday it’s just as important.
“It’s neat for the kids to come here, participate and be part of something bigger . . . be part of RDC and play here,” said Veronica DenOudsten, head coach of the Central Alberta Christian High School Knights boys’ team and main organizer of the Senior Bowl.
“This means a lot to the kids and the fans supporting them.”
The fact that the Light team won both the girls’ and the boys’ games — 39-32 in the girls and 97-37 in the boys — was secondary, said DenOudsten.
“The kids really enjoy it. I know at the beginning of the year my kids were already talking about it and looking forward to play at the college and playing with some different players.
“They want to get a chance to see what they can do against Central Alberta competition. It’s a wonderful experience for all the kids no matter what happens.”
DenOudsten knows all about the Senior Bowl as she was part of it when she played for Lacombe as Veronica VanderSchee, and has been part of the CACHS program for several years.
“I played 25 to 30 years ago and have been a part of the 2A league, so I know what this means to the kids,” she said.
Few of the players on hand Monday will get an opportunity to compete at the next level, but that doesn’t mean there’s not talent at the 1A-2A level.
All one has to do is look at the RDC Queens rookie Erin Wiersma, who came out of CACHS.
Wiersma was one of the top rookies in the ACAC, averaging 8.7 points and 8.12 rebounds per game.
“There’s some good talent in Central Alberta and it comes around once in a while, there’s just not the numbers,” said DenOudsten.
“Erin wasn’t heavily recruited, but she came here last year, dominated the game and is doing awesome at RDC.”
DenOudsten knows it’s tough for the players to be at the top of their game in the Senior Bowl games as some of them haven’t played in several weeks, plus they’re with players they’re not used to.
“It’s not high quality ball as you have a number of different players together from different backgrounds, but that’s secondary, they love it and they’re excited to play and try some different things against different competition.”
DenOudsten does a lot of work putting the games together, but she credits RDC and sports marketing director PJ Swales for most of the work.
“RDC does an amazing job in putting this on,” she said. “PJ does the majority of the work in terms of getting it done. It’s great for our league and partnering with RDC it’s a great community building event.
“I know for the kids it’s an honor to play here, to walk in here and be part of this. RDC is highly looked upon and the kids feel welcomed and it’s a great experience for them.”
Billi-Jean Johnston of Caroline led the Light girls with seven points while Crystal Bjorge of David Thompson added six.
Shael Bourne of Delburne, who was expected to be invited to attend the RDC Queens prospects camp, had eight for the Dark squad.
Ryder Lethbridge of David Thompson led the boys’ Light squad with 15 points while Wayne Siegrist of David Thompson added 14, Kielin Ankey of Parkview 11, Brett Vandenborn of CACHS and Ben Hankins of Koinonia 10 each and Nic Regehr of Koinonia eight.
Vince Nepomuceno of St. Augustine had 13 points and Reid Swier of Rimbey eight for the Dark side.
The Central Alberta 3A-4A Senior Bowl goes tonight at RDC with the girls tipping off at 6 p.m. and the boys to follow.