“We have taken a leave of absence for a year from the 4A Lethbridge league and are playing in the 3A Medicine Hat league,” said Bowes. “We have left for the year as our program wants to entertain the opportunity to compete at the 3A level, which is our school size and where all of our other school sports compete at.”
The 3A Medicine Hat league will see a Rebels team that is veteran laden with seven returning players from last year’s team who were zone champions and finished fourth at provincials.
“We have many key pieces back including third-year varsity players Tom Johnson and Brody Jensen, as well as six other Grade 12s, Ryan Hansen, Dennis Campbell, Wyatt Adams, Ethan Robbins, Wyatt Bennett, and Ash Epp,” said Bowes. “Having eight Grade 12s is very rare so we’re hoping to take advantage of our age and experience during the season. Joining these seniors are returning starter Nathan Bennett in Grade 11 and a rising star Blake Bullock in Grade 10.”
Bowes added all those seniors will make for a strong core of leaders, but the team will definitely be leaning on 2013 league all-star Tom Johnson.
“He has been a pleasant surprise this year after spending the off-season working on his game and getting stronger,” said Bowes.
The season for the Rebels kicks off kicks off today at W.R. Myers at 6 p.m. against the Brooks Buffalos.
“I expect this league to be competitive, with solid 3A programs in Crescent Heights and McCoy, but I don’t think the schedule will be as much of a grind that previous season’s have been,” said Bowes. “That being said, we will face tough competition in many tournaments and hopefully we won’t have to ride our better players as much in every game all season. We should be a deeper team and have fresher legs at the end of the season when we gear up for zones and with any luck, provincials which are hosted by Winston Churchill in Lethbridge.”
Give the athleticism on the team, Bowes will be pressing th issue with his team, promising a high-tempo brand of basketball up and down the court.
“That will require all 10 guys to show up to work hard each and every day and to have a great understanding of our systems. I’m very confident with this group as I’ve coached many of these players for a few years now, and I believe our success as a team this year is going to largely depend on our chemistry and the players’ willingness to accept their role, do it well, and work hard. My expectations are sky-high, but we have a lot of work ahead,” said Bowes.”
The junior varsity team kept 11 players, including four returning Grade 11s — Jeremy Steed, Thomas Platt, Jesse Witwer, and Daxon Matthews.
“Those guys will be looked to for leadership on the court. The Grade 10 boys will be small but they are great athletes and have some talent,” said Bowes.