Alberni senior boys hoopsters to battle at Ballenas

The Alberni Armada senior boys basketball team is competing in a four-team play day this weekend at Parksville's Ballenas Secondary.

A simplified offence and defence and developing post game are yielding better results for the Alberni District Secondary School senior boys basketball team.

The team went 0-3 at the eight-team Mark Isfeld Ice tournament last weekend in Courtenay.

Despite being blanked the Armada lost by narrow margins, which is an indication that things are coming together for the team.

“I saw improvements in key areas and the pieces are starting to fall into place now,” coach Neelam Parmar said.

The team came out flat and stayed bogged down in an afternoon game against Duncan Christian School, which they lost by a score of 71-37.

The team woke up though and their offence and defence fired on all cylinders for each quarter in their next two games. “We never ran out of gas in the end like before,” Parmar said.

They lost a tight game against Edward Milne Community School 75-68 on Friday, and then came from behind to pull within three of Isfeld in a 53-50 game on Saturday.

Armada forward Maquinna Pley, who is a mantis-like 6’6”, established himself as a rebounding force on both ends of the floor. “He really complements Josh (Kurucz), who is the heart and soul of the team.”

Pley corralled 20 rebounds in the Sooke game and helped pull the team within five points before fouling out in the third quarter. Sooke subsequently went on a 10-point run enroute to a win.

“We’d have taken that game if Maquinna stayed in,” Parmar said.

Slashing guard Eddie Fred and Brayden Kirchener also came up big for the team. “Eddie caused fouls when he drove the net and converted foul shots and Brayden nearly scored a last second shot that would have won a game for us,” Parmar said.

The team will continue perfecting its offensive and defensive systems at practice this week, as well as developing a post element to their game with Pley, Cameron Hepp and Stuart Murray.

“They’re not the prototypical big meaty post players but they’re effective,” Parmar said.

The Armada’s next action is this weekend at Parksville’s Ballenas Secondary where they will play in a four-team play day.

One of their opponents will be Nanaimo’s Woodlands Secondary Eagles, whom they lost to 60-48 the previous week.

“That game will be a good barometer of our progress,” Parmar said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com