The Alberni District Secondary School senior boys’ basketball season got off to a rough start with a 111-53 loss on the road to the powerhouse Vanier Towhees on Dec. 4.
Despite the lopsided score, ADSS Armada coach Craig Brooks said there were a lot of positives in the game for Port Alberni.
“It was good for our boys to see,” Brooks said. “Vanier has an excellent basketball program. They have a club team…their off-season they have an open gym schedule.
“They have a starting lineup and all of them can dunk,” he added. Vanier has five players that are six-foot-five or taller, with Peter Greaves topping out at six-foot-eight. That translates to a strong team, and many of them are in Grade 11.
Vanier was ranked third on Vancouver Island in pre-season rankings, but Brooks said that was likely skewed. “They’re probably going to be ranked top 10 in the entire province,” he said.
“Our division is strong. Six of the seven teams in our division make up the (Island’s) top 10. Vanier and Carihi High (Campbell River) are head and shoulders above the rest. I don’t think it will be close this year.”
The Armada, by contrast, have a roster boasting three Grade 12 students and the balance in Grade 11. While rookie Nathan Stellard is six-foot-five, the Grade 12 students is in his first year of playing organized basketball.
“Our young guns are small, quick guards that are getting used to the tempo and style of play that is typical of senior boys’ basketball,” Brooks said.
The biggest highlight for the Armada was the way the starting lineup dug in despite playing a bigger, faster team. They held Vanier to 18 points in the fourth quarter. “The boys didn’t quit. As frustrating as it can be when you’re playing a team that’s…that developed and that big, they kept fighting. There was no negativity on the bench.
“You can’t coach heart, and we’ve got that in spades.”
The Armada are also facing the top three teams on Vancouver Island in their first three games of regular season play. “We’ll take our lumps and learn from it, and we’ll get better,” he said.
FROM THE KEY…The Armada’s first three games are against the top three Island teams: Vanier, then Carihi High in Campbell River on Dec. 11 and at home against Sir John Barsby on Dec. 18. Tip-off is 7 p.m. and the public is welcome to come and watch…The Armada will host Totem 64 basketball tournament for senior boys and girls teams Jan. 10–12, 2019.