Middle school hoopsters finish on top

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Girls and boys dazzle on the courts

INNISFAIL – The junior girls’and boys’ basketball teams at Innisfail Middle School just wrapped up successful regular seasons.

Both teams play in the Chinook’s Edge North Athletic Association (CENAA) A league.

The boys finished second out of seven teams in the league after their last regular season game was forfeited.

The girls finished in top spot out of eight teams, and took the league title and banner with a 44-29 victory over Red Deer’s St. Teresa’s in their last regular season game at home Feb. 15.

"We’ve won all of our games this season and have gone undefeated so far, even with our tournaments (in Penhold and Spruce View)," said Tina Chadwick, head coach of the girls’ team.

“We’ve got five players (two Grade 7 and three Grade 8) that are brand new to the team this year. The remaining seven players (two Grade 8 and five Grade 9) are returning veterans,” she added, noting there is a total of 12 girls on the team.

That experience, combined with developing skill, helped the team in the regular season.

“They have to learn how to be a good defensive player before they learn how to be a good offensive player,” she said. “We also have to make sure they understand their role on the court and that is to be to the ball first,” she added, noting the importance of taking a few risks and challenging themselves as players.

“They need to communicate well on the court and understand they’re playing a team sport,” she said, adding her team has done just that this season.

“They understand what they need to do to go out there to be successful,” said Chadwick.

The junior boys’ basketball team also had a great season.

“We had just one loss on Tuesday,” said Walsh, noting they too won the Penhold and Spruce View tournaments. “I’m very pleased with the overall season.”

With 13 players on the team, Walsh pointed out the skill, experience and attributes that led them to success.

“It’s a veteran team this year,” he said. “We’ve got quite a bit of experience on the team, which really helped us get through the regular season and allowed us to be one of the competitive teams in the league.

“For the first time probably since we started the program, we’ve got a lot of height on our team,” he added. “We’ve got the size and the speed to play our aggressive style of defence and for us it is always about how we defend. It’s the reason why we’re so successful.”

Walsh said the team finished with a silver medal last year and is ready to go for gold.

“They want a chance to prove that all this experience will pay off at the end of the season,” said Walsh. “February 26 is the first playoff game and that whole week we’ll be working our way hopefully towards a gold medal.”

Mike Walsh, boys’ head coach

“They want a chance to prove that all this experience will pay off at the end of the season.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.