Marauders senior basketball teams return to action

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The Marauders are back on the field.

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Last week, the senior basketball program at Memorial Composite High School (MCHS) kicked off its first regular season in two years.

The senior boys are currently sitting 0–2, while the senior girls are up 2–0. In preparation for the regular season, both teams competed in two weekends of jamboree-style tournaments.

MCHS sporting director James Drolet said it was a difficult start for the boys but it was still early days.

This year, the two teams compete in Division 3 of the Metro Edmonton High School Athletics League. They’re each younger teams made up of a majority of 10th-grade players, many of whom haven’t played competitively since college due to the pandemic.

“A lot of it will be about regaining physical fitness as well as basketball knowledge. There’s a lot of learning going on,” Drolet said.

The game plan for both teams this season is to strike the right balance between development and competitiveness. The boys are made up of two Grade 12 players and a “phenomenal” group of Grade 10 athletes who Drolet says are adapting very well to the level of competition that high school senior basketball entails.

The women’s team, meanwhile, is made up of five strong Grade 12 athletes as well as a number of promising Grade 10s. Drolet said he’s really going to focus on developing the young girls next season. There will also be a number of talented 10th graders from the junior team who will rise through the ranks to become seniors in a year.

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“I’m looking forward to seeing both teams be able to compete for a championship in the next year or two,” Drolet said.

So far he has been impressed with the athleticism of the men’s team. He said it was a very big and talented group of players. Girls, however, will need a little more practice on what the “pace of play” looks like versus practice. Drolet said it will improve as they spend more time on the court.

As a coach, Drolet doesn’t have a particular style of play that he relies on to succeed. He prefers to play in the moment, adapting to the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents in real time. While both teams can work on “everything”, one thing he would like to see more of from the girls in particular is aggressiveness when it comes to shooting and rebounding. He said he was happy as long as everyone did their best.

“You’re probably in the wrong sport if you think you know everything about basketball. Love for the game means you are constantly growing and improving. There’s never anything you can’t improve on,” Drolet said.

So far, the whole program seems to be enjoying the sport much more after so long away from the pitch. Drolet said it was nice to see the kids enjoying their high school sports experiences again. After all, he said he was interested in the students, not the paycheck.

The girls and boys will next play Mother Margaret Mary Storm at home on Monday, January 10 at 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. respectively.

“It would be even better if we could just have a few fans in the stands, but we’ll take it one step at a time,” Drolet said.

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