A pair of games early in the high school basketball season has given Stelly’s coach Kal Russell a snapshot of how his senior boys team is shaping up.
“We are going to be OK,” he said at a practice this week. “We will be competitive among the triple-A teams in our tier.”
With only nine players on the bench, Russell said his squad is athletic, quick and keen.
“The boys play hard,” explained the coach who has been with the crew since they were in Grade 9. “But we need to build on our confidence attacking the basket and scoring.”
Russell is the principal over at North Saanich Middle School and has been coaching at Stelly’s since his son began playing at the junior level. Overall, he has coached at various levels for the last 23 years. He said the Stelly’s team is a mix of seniors and Grade 11 players — including a Grade 10 call-up and a German exchange student. That veteran starting five, said the coach, will carry a majority of the load for the Stingers this season.
“We rely on balanced scoring so far,” he said. “We could probably have four or five guys score a lot of points per game but everybody will contribute.”
David Heywood is the teams point guard and main scoring threat for Stelly’s. Russell added that Heywood is also willing to distribute the ball to his teammates — like any good point guard should.
On defence, Russell said the team works together but the five starters will set the tone there as well.
As for team leadership on the court, Russell said that will come from all of his players.
“It’ll come from different places, from different players in different games.”
In early season play, Stelly’s defeated Qualicum Beach from up-Island and lost to Lambrick Park — the top-ranked AA team on the Island. Based on that play so far, Russell said it’s going to be a fun year for the Stingers.
Stelly’s participates in the Parkland senior boys basketball tournament this weekend (Dec. 6 and 7) and plans to head to Port Alberni and Gulf Islands Secondary later in the year.
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Up next, the PNR previews the Parkland senior girls team.