Cold, wintry weather means it’s high school basketball season.
For the senior teams at Ponoka Secondary Campus, this year means a return to stability for both programs as the head coaches from last season have come back.
Broncs senior girls head coach Cam Horan will have six of his players back from last season — four of those are Grade 12s — to go along with seven new players that are in Grade 10.
“That makes us pretty young, but the group of Grade 10s are quite talented,” Horan said.
“And under the returning senior players, I feel this new group will learn and grow in time. By the end of the season, we could be a serious competitor in our zone to go to provincials.”
Horan added that, overall, the coming season is going to be fun and exciting.
On the boys’ side of the court, head coach Tylor Johannesson is back on the bench for what will certainly be a challenging season ahead.
The Broncs senior boys come in with just three returning players among a mix from all three grade levels. That said, Johannesson believes the club is much farther ahead than they were to start last season.
“Last year was tough, as I was only brought in to coach in November, so I had zero time to plan,” he stated.
“I’ve had eight months this time to plan and prepare, as well as a year of experience at this level. So, our team has been able to learn and progress quickly plus we have way more depth this season.”
That depth comes from a wealth of talent entering Grade 10, which includes several players that were part of the Mecca Glen team that walked off with the league championship last year.
“I can pretty much sub anyone in and not lose very much, if anything at all,” Johannesson said.
“This was a really good year for our program as far as talented kids coming up from Grade 9. They are all extremely dedicated to the game and are all very smart and easy to coach.”
He took all of six of them, which makes them by far the youngest team in the league, but an extremely promising future.
“Having six Grade 10s on the team is pretty much unheard of at this level, but with only having three Grade 12s, the next few years look really promising for our program,” he added.
The team will look to make up in speed and skill for what they lack in size, but he also expects a steep learning curve as all but his returning players have high school experience.
“I expect the beginning of the season to have lots of bumps and mistakes, but once the playoffs roll around, I believe we will have a shot to win a game or more. It really all depends on how far we can grow and I think I have the players to grow well with,” he said.
Rim shots: The Broncs’ season kicked off last week with both clubs taking on Rimbey in exhibition play at PSC Nov. 28. Both squads then hit the hardwood Dec. 6 in Camrose, but results were unavailable by press time. The team’s next action will be Dec. 13 in Rocky Mountain House and then will host Notre Dame Dec. 20 (tipoff is girls 6 p.m., boys 8 p.m.).