What the Alberni District Secondary School junior girls basketball team lacks in height it will make up for with shooting, ball handling and defense, head coach Nick Seredick said.
Tryouts have finished and the girls are putting in work at practice three times a week in preparation for their season, which starts in December.
The team is younger than the 2010-11 squad that finished last season with a .500 record and was one win short of advancing to the Island championships.
Gone are mainstays Janine Thompson, Chelsea McIntosh, Celeste McCarthy and Tia Anderson, who have moved up to senior.
Grade 10 players Julia Hudson, Denae Edgar, Heather Kennedy, Jessica Hamilton, Cheyenne David and Taylor Paquette have returned this year. They’ll be joined by a contingent of eight players from Grade 9.
“It helps that we have a lot of bodies; it was hard going to tournaments with just eight players,” Seredick said.
The Grade 10s will be looked to for leadership and experience at the junior level. The Grade 9s are young but already have important prerequisites.
“They have to adjust to the high school junior level of game,” Seredick said. “But they’ve got a good grounding in the basics and they work hard so there’s lots of potential.”
The team has been sussing itself out since practices started but Grade 10s Denae Edgar and Julia Hudson look to be the go-to players this season.
The team is shorter than last year so Seredick plans to compensate with shooting, ball handling and defense to compete.
With a full slate of Grade 9s Seredick says the team will likely be a low percentage shooting team at first and default to good defense. “But once they get it down we’ll compete for sure.
The team plays in the North Island league with Mark Isfeld, GP Vanier, Carihi Secondary, Highland Secondary and Timberline.
“Isfeld will be strong and we have to be at our best to compete,” Seredick said. “ We have to work hard every single game and not lose in the effort category.”
The team’s goal this year is to make the Island championships, a mark they fell short of last year.
“We’ve got some players who can shoot and go to the hoop but it’s going to take everyone to contribute to do it,” Seredick said.