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Wild basketball teams hit the court

The Mount Baker senior girls and senior boys basketball teams kicked off their respective seasons last weekend.   - Submitted photo
The Mount Baker senior girls and senior boys basketball teams kicked off their respective seasons last weekend.
— image credit: Submitted photo

The Mount Baker Wild senior girls basketball team went winless at a three-game tournament this past weekend in Okotoks, but gained some valuable experience as they head into a new season.

"It was a great way to start the season," said coach Joe McGowan. "The players demonstrated solid competitive moments that we are excited to grow from as a team."

The Wild went up first against McCoy High School hailing from Medicine Hat, dropping a hard-fought effort in a fast-paced game. Megan Tadey received player of the game honours for her consistent play on the boards, with a game-high 13 rebounds.

Following that, the Wild challenged Holy Rosary out of Calgary, but were unable to come out with the victory. Heidi Anderson, who was named player of the game, led her team by creating plenty of scoring opportunities, but the Wild squad had trouble finishing on them.

In the final game, the Wild were unable to come back from a three-point deficit in the fourth quarter and fell to a team out of Brooks. In a back and fourth effort, the Wild were within three points in the final quarter, but some quick baskets from their opponents sealed their fate late in the game.

Reili Savage, a Grade 10 student, led the way with 12 points and seven steals in the contest and was named player of the game.

Shaylee Rutledge was recognized for her consistent play throughout the tournament and was named to the All-Star team.

The girls finished their weekend by suiting up as elfs and assisting the East Kootenay PARTY program with their annual Children's Christmas Shopping Party at the Heritage Inn.

The team is off to Catholic Central High School in Lethbridge for their next action this weekend.

Senior boys team get season off the ground

While the senior girls were in action in Okotoks, the senior boys were up in Rocky Mountain House and played a trio of games, where they picked up a win and two losses.

The first game was against a squad coached by Justin Klein, a Mount Baker Secondary School graduate who is now teaching in Alberta.

"We lost, unfortunately, that was the one I wanted," said Wild head coach Shaun Penner, a fellow MBSS grad. "You always want the first game of the year because it means more, and we wanted to beat Klein."

Penner said his team of nine players competed well, but ran out of gas later in the game.

"We were in it until the last five minutes, we were within five, but we couldn't break over that hump," Penner said. "It was a slow start for us, we were down 12-3 at one point, and we just never found our way back."

They followed it up with another great performance for a win, but nearly blew it in the second half. The Wild led 33-10 at the halfway mark of the game, but ended up only winning by seven.

"Why? Because we got tired," said Penner. "Started to see those mistakes. The other team—they had a full bench, they weren't tired, they were in shape, they came ready to play. Clearly not in the first half, but then they woke up."

The third game, a loss for the Wild, was much like the first, where they got down early and couldn't recover.

Though he's got a small team of only nine players, Penner says he knows there is enough talent there to beat anyone else.

"I really see us doing some damage this year, that we can take this team, go out on the court, and win," said Penner. "They just have to have the conditioning, that's the only thing that's slowing us down. You gotta be in shape."

The Wild coach raved about his defence, and added that his team has a lot of individual skill as well.

"One through nine, the guys are defending really well, and it's team defence, it's playing inside," Penner said. "Whenever their big guy gets the ball inside, he is dealt with every time and they're panicking inside, and we're creating a lot of turnovers over that.

"Individual skills that we got—we got a lot of guys that can shoot, so we can be a threat outside. We got a couple guys that can do some decent damage putting the ball on the floor.

"We got all areas covered, we just gotta refine those areas, keep playing hard defence and I have no doubt this team can win."

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