The Senior Men’s Laker basketball team started their season with a thrilling 114-36 win over the Stettler Wildcats on December 8.
The game, which was never in doubt, allowed head coach Kelly Steadman to give his team even playing time giving the team a chance to work on their systems which will become vital in closer games down the stretch of the season.
“We were up against a young developing team,” he said. “It gave me a chance to play my guys who don’t always get a lot of court time. We were short numbers – we only had nine players. We executed well and played against a younger inexperienced team that wasn’t great in the defensive end.”
The Lakers were led by Jace Martin who notched 26 points, including 12 in the first quarter. MacGregor Manyluk added 24 points of his own in game where there where plenty of shots to go around for the Laker squad.
“We didn’t want to run the score up but it was almost an inevitability,” Steadman said. “We wanted to just control the ball. We tried to run the shot clock down a bit and make sure we weren’t always using fast break opportunities.”
With the win, the Lakers begin a promising rebuilding season after they graduated nine seniors last year.
“We are definitely in the conversation for both the league and the 3A Provincials,” Steadman said. “We have a couple teams we need to come ready to play against like Camrose, who has a strong team this year.”
Steadman is expecting to play a run and gun style of basketball that includes all his guys being able to move and make decisions with the basketball.
“I don’t like to play a point guard system,” Steadman said. “I like the guys to all be handy with the basketball, aggressive on the rebounds and really aggressive on the defensive end – trying to create opportunities and turnover the ball.”
Leading the team this year will be Steadman’s three returning players Noah Lehto, Liam Pafford and Mike Smyth.
“Those three bring the most amount of experience and leadership. They are good team guys,” Steadman said.
The Lakers goal is to make it to provincials, however a successful season for Steadman would be ensuring they gave everything they could regardless of the outcome.
“If we end up at provincials – that’s fantastic,” he said. “If we don’t get the edge in playoff but did what we could to try and win – that’s all you can ask of the guys. I look forward to seeing how the season transpires.”