By Greg Price
There is always a tight timeline between the volleyball and basketball seasons in high school, and those timelines become even tighter when your volleyball team happens to qualify for provincials.
That spill-over effect was evident in the St. Mary’s Celtics boys basketball team’s River Ridge Basketball League opener last Wednesday, as the team faded late on the way to a 61-58 loss to Foremost on the road.
“The lack of practice time was evident when the game got into crunch time, when the pressure came,” said Ken Gabruck, head coach of the basketball team. “We really struggled at the end.”
The Celtics actually had a 17-point lead with eight minutes to play when Foremost went to the press, going on a huge tear where the opposition was able to get some easy transition baskets off of turnovers.
“Credit to the Foremost team, they used their gym to their advantage. It’s a very small gym, trapping us at the half court and we haven’t really had time to practice against something like that,” said Gabruck. “The kids didn’t react very well and we did exactly what Foremost wanted us to do which led to easy baskets with panic setting in. The closer the score got, the more panic set in.”
Cobe Cobarubias led the Celtics with 25 points. Jobert Cruz had 10 points and Herman Wiebe and Joey Giesbrecht each had seven points. Mason Muller grabbed 10 rebounds, while Cruz snatched eight rebounds and Wiebe had seven.
It will be awhile before Gabruck knows the exact potential of the St. Mary’s Celtics boys basketball team for the 2016-2017 season as the Celtics have nary a Grade 12 on its roster.
“It will take us until after Christmas to get to a point I feel comfortable with where players start showing that leadership being so young,” said Gabruck. “We have some athletes and some boys who can shoot the ball.”
The Celtics have the tough task of playing the Vauxhall Vikings tonight at 7:45 p.m. as River Ridge Basketball League competition continues. A roster that regularly features top athletes from the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball, the squad is tough to gauge from year to year.
“They had a different club that comes every year. It’s tough to prepare for a team that doesn’t carry over much from the season before.”