The Caledonia Kermodes Senior Girls basketball team is en route to ‘AAA’ provincials after ending the regular season with a first place finish at the Lake City Pioneer Classic in Williams Lake two weeks ago.
That means the team kept their tournament win streak alive, taking three first place finishes in a row to finish the season on a high note.
“Even though the girls are really starting to get a swagger from success – which is what can defeat an opponent before the game even starts – they have not settled,” said coach Arnie Pelletier, of the team’s successful regular season. “Their hate for losing is so strong.”
And if you ask the players what’s made the difference this year – one senior player says this season is one of the best seasons she’s been a part of – they’ll tell you that it comes down to the bond and trust between the team.
“This team’s a lot closer, the bond is a lot stronger, the whole team just trusts each other,” said Grade 12 Kavneet Tut. “There’s no hesitation on the court.”
That might have something to do with the creative training style – adopted at the beginning of the season to stop the girls from being ‘robots’ to their positions – that sees the girls switch up positions on the court.
“So now at times we have a player that would traditionally be seen as post player playing a guard position and reversed – all depending on what the opposing team is doing,” explained Pelletier. “We all know how each player on our team will react.”
Assistant coach Shelley Klassen said the turning point for the team this year was the first road trip to Vanderhoof – that really bonded the team together, she said.
And this is the first year two exchange students have been on the team – Kaisa Mikkola from Finland, who put up a 30 point game at the team’s last tournament, and Anna Benard from France. They both say the tournament style here is different than in their home countries.
“I’ve learned a lot,” said Bernard. “I’m proud of this team.”
Grade 11 Cassy Twiname says the team is a lot calmer than it was at the beginning of the year and that they’ve been focussing on defence.
She’s been to provincials and big tournaments before, so she knows what to expect.
“They’ll be a lot of competition that we haven’t seen year, but we’ll pull through and do as well as we can,” she said, noting it’s the size difference between the northwest teams and the Lower Mainland teams that always gets her.
But no worries. The team is heading to Langley during spring break with wins under its belt and a strong, determined mindset. “It feels great,” she said, of the season. “We all feel really strongly about this team.”