A break from games is coming at the right time for the senior basketball teams at Ponoka Secondary.
The Broncs senior boys and girls wrapped up their first month of play on Dec. 20 at home to Red Deer’s Notre Dame Cougars, showing there remains work to do. The girls fell 62-32, while the boys were dumped 91-38.
Now while those scores look a bit like blowouts, the reasons behind them are slightly more simple than that.
The girls began their game with a mountain of missed opportunities — from attempting poor shots and passes to outright air balls, while giving the Cougars the ball on a number of turnovers along with better looks at the basket. Things did get better at both ends of the floor in the second half, but by then the cat was literally out of the bag and the Broncs weren’t able to mount a comeback.
Girls head coach Cam Horan explained his club is young and learning, though Notre Dame isn’t as good as they were made to look that night.
“We beat them last year, we just ruined our chances. It’s not if, but when we get better, then we can compete with the bigger clubs,” he said.
He added that the team is going to get in about eight or nine practices over the holiday break, meaning they will be better prepared for the busy next two months where the real season begins.
“My hope is these practices will help get the girls to an understanding of what we are trying to accomplish,” he said.
Boys bench boss Tylor Johannesson knows his team can be a lot better and he isn’t afraid to show it on the court.
That’s exactly what took place in the opening quarter, but it wasn’t because of the mistakes the kids were making — although there were plenty.
”I’m passionate in everything I do and I truly care about my kids, so that’s where it comes from. My biggest thing is I will never get upset at someone for making a physical mistake like missing a layup or having a pass intercepted. Those things happen, especially being such a young and inexperienced team,” he said.
“When I get upset, it’s because guys have decided to do their own thing, go against what I teach and what we practice. It’s selfish and basically makes practice pointless, if you are just going to play street ball and freelance.”
Johannesson knew exactly what the Cougars would do, and the Broncs plan worked, but only when it was executed. And the problem was, the team very seldom carried out the plan.
“When ,guys decided to freelance we turned it over and those things drive me a bit crazy as a coach,” he added.
It also didn’t help the club was without their top scorer and their lone big man.
He knows the team laden with inexperienced Grade 10 players are going to panic due to the speed of the game and it’s going to make them struggle.
“We have the athletes to compete at this level, but we have to execute as a team, trust our abilities and stay patient,” he stated.
Evidence of that came earlier this month, as the Broncs took bronze in a tournament, losing their lone game by just three points.
“We played schools that had the same population and we were pretty dominant. It’s hard playing the two biggest and best teams in Camrose and Notre Dame to start our season,” Johannesson said.
“I’ve seen a lot of good things, the effort and desire is evident and this is by far the most coachable team I’ve ever had. The great thing about my group is they all seem to understand what we are trying to do with this program.”