Stelly’s girls basketball team to focus on fun, growth

Stelly’s will have a tough go of things on the hardwood again this year, as they are playing in a strong league.

Julia Irwin practices her free throws as her Stelly’s Stingers teammate Amanda Punch waits her turn at the line.

With a nearly even split of Grade 12s and 11s on this season’s senior girls basketball team at Stelly’s Secondary, coach Eric Rowe is hoping their results mirror that makeup.

High school basketball teams  started exhibition and league play in December. The Stelly’s girls opened their league season Tuesday, Dec. 8 against Spectrum Community School. They followed that up by hosting a tournament Dec. 11 and 12.

Rowe, who moves up to the senior girls team from the junior squad last year, takes over from Lynn Montgomery, who decided to take a break from coaching this season.

So far, Rowe said he’s seen great enthusiasm and a strong work ethic from the girls.

“We are not extremely fast, or tall but we are well-balanced,” he said, adding he has a core of former Stelly’s players helping work with the team in practice.

His focus will be on defense at this early stage of the season.

“We are going to be working on making that one of our strengths.”

Rowe said players like Grace Kazanowski and Abby Gibb will provide some size and skill up front. A core of guards, he added, will be tasked with improving their ball handling throughout the season.

Stelly’s will have a tough go of things on the hardwood again this year, as they are playing in a league with powerhouses Oak Bay, Claremont and Belmont. Rowe said those teams will be strong again this year.

However, he said his team has adopted the  theme: “Respect all, fear none,” which gives the players a positive outlook right off the opening tip.

Rowe said the players were encouraged to hold a team meeting on their own, as practices started Nov. 20, following the busy volleyball season. They emerged ready for a fun season.

The overall team goal, said the coach, is to have fun and make each game a positive experience, while allowing each player to work on reaching their personal targets.

“We’re going to be learning and growing and playing our best basketball by January,” he said.