Both St. Augustine and Mecca Glen had junior basketball teams playing in the St. A-hosted Shine Tournament and, with an array of experienced and new players taking to the court, the weekend tournament provided many highs and lows for the two participating schools.
The St. Augustine junior boys placed third in their pool while the girls came in last. “Some of my girls had never played basketball before,” said St. A junior teams coach Katherine Bergum, who added the first tournament game on Jan. 17 was the first game those girls had played.
The girls lost 51-23 in their first game, 48-20 in their second game and 42-23 in their final game.
Despite all the losses, Bergum says the girls continually improved with each game. “I would say (in) defence the most. Just not letting the other teams score as much.
She added the experience of the other teams was the girls’ downfall.
The boys lost their second game, 58-34, but won their first and third games, 54-34 and 42-38, respectively.
Bergum says the boys’ team has an imbalance of “gifted athletes” and newcomers so she was forced to change her lineups and have those used to playing with each other work with other members of the team. “They did pretty good. There were some learning curves.”
‘They worked well as a team and were able to pull it off in the end,” she added.
During St. Augustine’s final game the boys were winning by only one point until the three-pointer was scored near the end of the game and the team was able to relax and win with ease.
“I would definitely say the boys winning third place was not only awesome as a coach but a moral boost for them . . . For the girls it was they got better every game,” said Bergum, recounting her personal highlights of the tournament.
The Mecca Glen junior girls’ team won the consolation game while coach Adam Troitsky says the boys finished in sixth or seventh place. The girls lost their first game and won the last two and the boys won their last game and lost the first two.
Girls: 29-21, 27-15,and 19-14
Boys: 31-23, 43-25, and 39-29
Mecca Glen junior girls have six Grade 9 players. “That’s a lot for a school of our size and that helps,” said Troitsky.
“We are quite experienced and they’re a hard working team,” he added.
As the tournament progressed, he feels the girls put on a better defence after not playing the first game tough enough and being pushed around.
“The boys are a much younger team,” he explained, as it features only three Grade 9 players. Seven members of the team are playing their first season of basketball.
‘They did get better as the tournament went on and they played a couple of good games,” said Troitsky, who feels the boys need more training in the fundamentals of basketball to improve since they’re lacking height compared to the competing teams.