Coaches Blaine Benner

Parents in Rossland coach two basketball squads to success

Thanks to some dedicated parents, the Rossland Summit School’s boys basketball team had a great year.

Thanks to some dedicated parents, the Rossland Summit School’s boys basketball team had a great year.

Three dads took on coaching the Grade 6 and 7 team. Josh Swain, head coach, returned to volunteer coaching after last year’s season, and was joined by Kevin Jangula and Blaine Benner. Together they coached two squads.

“Last year when I was assistant coach, we kind of had so many kids on the team, there were 17 kids on the bench at any given time, and I felt like it’s really hard to keep the kids engaged in the flow of the game when they’re just waiting that long for a turn to play,” said Josh Swain, head coach. “So I kind of hatched a plan last year that if we had that many come out again, then I wanted to split the squads.”

Splitting the squads gave the kids more time on the court, giving them more opportunity to develop their skills. Many of them started the season without any previous experience, but with more chances to play, both squads finished the season strong.

“We’ve seen a tremendous improvement in the basketball of all these kids,” said Jangula.

Together Red and Gold squads had nine wins, seven losses and four ties during the season, and at a season end tournament, Gold Squad finished first and Red Squad finished third.

The players said they learned a lot over the season, but were also straightforward about what they thought the team could improve on.

“It’s a really good team, we just… some of us get so lost in trying to win that we kind of like stop being so sportsmanlike,” said Diego Palmer, Grade 6, Gold Squad.

There were a couple of anomalies on the team this year. First, two Grade 5 players were included on the team.

“Two Grade 5s played up. They were super keen,” explains Swain.

Second, Savanah Tweedy asked to play on the boys team this year, instead of the girls team.

“[She] felt that the level of focus and competition wasn’t quite what she wanted with the girls team,” said Swain. “So she kind of talked to the coaches, and the coaches conferred and we talked to her parents and we kind of decided it was best all round, and certainly best for her to play with the boys. She was a real big addition to the team and a real treat to coach.”

“I find boys teams are a lot more competitive than girls teams,” said Tweedy, Grave 7, Red Squad. “Last year I played on the girls team and it wasn’t as fun.”

Of the 20 players on the team this year, seven are Grade 7 students and will move on next year. The team will miss the inside play of Ryder Eagleton, Savanah Tweedy, Tayne Stevens and Isaac Power, and the ball handling and hustle of Finn Kinghorn, Yarrow Doyle and Zac Johnson.

The coaches would like to thank Jim Adams for coming to so many games and practices, and stepping in whenever asked; Patrick Kinghorn and his staff at RSS; Chris Bowman and the other men’s league players who refereed at home games and the tournament; and the parents who kept score, came to all the games and supported their kids.