The HJ Cody Lakers senior boys basketball team kicked off its season with a 65-55 win over the Camrose Trojans last week, providing the start coach Kelly Steadman and his players were looking for.
Though just one game in, Steadman likes what he’s seen from his team so far, and feels his players have what it takes to compete in what he’s anticipating will be a tough league.
“We’ve got the athletes and the attitude to be competitive,” he said. “They (the players) all get along well on the floor, and I think that camaraderie is a big deal.”
His players’ determination was evident last Thursday when nine of the 12-man roster showed up for an optional 7 a.m. practice. One of the 12 was unable to practice due to injury.
But Steadman is aware they’ll face some stiff competition throughout the season, which runs until March.
“There are good coaches throughout the league, so you never know what they’re going to be able to pull off,” he said.
About half of the Lakers’ 12-man roster comprises returning players. Most are Grade 11 students; two are in Grade 12 and one is in Grade 10.
Steadman feels their ability to move the ball quickly will help them do well, although he concedes there’s still work to be done defensively.
“We need to work on our individual defence assignments and get a bit more prepared to stop the ball,” he said.
Nonetheless, the first-year coach said his players have bought into his Ôteam-first’ philosophy.
“They’re working hard toward team goals, and I think that’s a big deal at the beginning of the season — to have that confidence that they will work toward what’s best for the program as opposed to individual effort,” he said.
The Lakers currently practice three or four times a week, with the aim of making playoffs in mid-March.