After a several-year hiatus, the Lakers boys basketball team has returned with a bang. On Dec. 15, they gave the team from Frances Kelsey Secondary School a thumping during the team’s first home game since 2008.
The final score was 46-22.
“The kids played well, they played well together,” said LCS athletic director Brent Pinnell. “The atmosphere was good with all the kids in the gym.”
The Lakers defence was strong during the game, and while offence missed a few shots and layups, they still performed impressively on the court that day. This was the Lakers second game of the season, losing the first by two points in a nail-biter against Shawnigan Lake School.
Pinnell said he’s very impressed with the progress he’s seen among the players during the fall semester.
“Some of the kids I saw, who’ve never really played before, I thought they made a huge improvement and in the way the team was playing,” he said, adding that their efforts are particularly noteworthy given the school’s basketball program has been dormant the past eight years.
He attributed the lack of a basketball team (and other teams) simply to a lack of interest at the school, particularly among teachers.
“There just hasn’t been an interest to do sports teams at Lake Cowichan,” he said. “Ever since I became the director we’ve tried to change that a little bit.”
In addition to the new basketball team, this year the school also has a track and field team and a girls hockey team. The school is also is providing the younger students with more athletic options too, such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and baseball soon too.
He attributed the change in athletics to the school’s teachers and some students who have expressed an interest in playing.
“That’s… from the big help from the teachers there because they’re actually volunteering their time and doing more because we’ve never really had the volunteers before for it,” he said.
Pinnell also highlighted the work of volunteer coach Cyrus Gray, a former Cowichan High player who is now playing at the post-secondary level in Victoria.
Gray is not a teacher at LCS. Pinnell’s policy when it comes to staffing teams is to first approach school staff.
“If anybody wants to do a sport that’s great. If they don’t, then I put it out to the community. I try to keep it in the school because I want the teachers to be involved,” he said.
The Lakers next game is in 2017.