The Peter Skene Ogden Eagles are flying the coop to Buffalo Creek this spring to keep up their basketball skills.
After wrapping up their high school Zones last month, the senior boys’ basketball team asked coach Andrew Steeves to find them a place where they can keep practicing this spring. They found it at the old Buffalo Creek Elementary school, where they meet every Monday at 6 p.m.
“The guys on the team didn’t want to stop playing, they wanted the opportunity to continue on,” Steeves said. “I think that’s really encouraging for the sport of basketball in general – that they’re so eager to keep playing.”
The drive to get better was likely triggered by a few “tough losses” at Zones, Steeves said. The Eagles lost to Nechako Valley Secondary School 84-31 and Shas Ti Kelly Road Secondary School twice: 81-49 and 61-40. Despite the losses, he said quite a few of the players gained confidence from the games and are starting to come out of their shells.
“It’s been very encouraging to see the results of all of their efforts and the time they’ve put in over the season,” Steeves said. “I think everyone made some huge improvements and they should be really happy with their skill development this year.”
READ MORE: PSO basketball team building momentum
Participating at Zones also allowed the players to observe other teams, which Steeves said gave them a sense of the effort needed to become better basketball players.
As the Buffalo Creek practices will only take place until the end of April, Steeves and the school’s other basketball coaches – assistant senior boys coach TJ Grabowski and junior boys’ coaches Norm Taylor and Willie Hollet – are working to offer something more permanent.
They’re currently in talks with the South Cariboo Rec Centre to get an extra-curricular basketball program off the ground for the fall.
This would give their players more time to practice and introduce new players to the sport. Steeves said it would be especially beneficial for the junior boys’ as well as the girls’ team, coached by Rebecca Zonruiter, which also saw a surge of interest this year.
“If we want the game to grow in this town, we need to focus on those junior players and even the kids who are younger than them. We have involved the girls’ coach as well in this planning and, obviously, we don’t want to just grow the sport for the boys, but the girls as well.”
Steeves said any new program will rely on volunteers to coach the players. While the coaches they already have are passionate about the sport, he said they’d appreciate some extra help. Anyone with coaching experience or who loves basketball is asked to reach out to Steeves at firstname.lastname@example.org.