The North Battleford Comprehensive High School senior boys Vikings basketball team have an exhibition game Jan. 29 at the high school against Unity at 8 p.m.
With a 7-13 record on the season, Jeremy Cockrill, in his first season as head coach of the team, said the senior boys have seen a number of new faces on the court this year, in addition to the new personnel behind the bench.
“We have a fair number of grade 10s on the team, [along with] some Grade 11s and 12s that haven’t necessarily played at this level before, so it’s a bit of a rebuilding year for us,” he said.
While there may not be an overabundance of veteran holdovers from last season on the Vikings’ senior boys this year, Cockrill said those players that do hold experience from years prior, have been invaluable in guiding an overall youthful team at large.
One returning player in particular the coach singled out for his leadership, was senior Jordan Poitras, who has been instrumental in providing an example for younger players to follow.
“I think our grade 12 players, especially Jordan Poitras, he’s kind of our star player this year, have done a really good job setting the standard for work ethic in practice,” Cockrill said. “I think just now we’re starting to see the younger players realize just how hard they need to work and take their lead from a guy like Jordan.”
And start to take the lead they have, as the Vikings have played some of their best basketball as of late, coming off an 80-71 victory over Kindersley in their last game-action Jan. 21.
The team’s continued growth over the course of the season looks to be turning into results in the win column at just the right time, with only a couple of months remaining in the basketball season.
March 1 and 2, the Vikings will host their home tournament at NBCHS, inviting a number of other rural teams from around the province to take part. The tournament is an occasion that Cockrill says provides a great opportunity to take, what will be in some cases, a first look at some of the team’s competition down the stretch-run.
“[Other than] these tournaments we go to in Moose Jaw, PA, Saskatoon, that’s really our only opportunity to see other 5A rural teams,” Cockrill said. “We have most of them coming to our tournament the first weekend in March, so that’s an opportunity to hopefully beat some of those teams and improve our seeding for the regional tournament held in Mid-March in Yorkton.”
Of those attending the Rural Regional Tournament Mar. 15 and 16 in Yorkton, the top two teams will move on to HOOPLA, a year-end tournament featuring three teams from Regina, three from Saskatoon and just two from elsewhere in the province.
As the Vikings’ eye a strong finish to the season, the senior boys will return to tournament action Feb. 7 at the St. Mary’s tournament in Prince Albert.
On Twitter: MartyMartyPxP1
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