The Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds came up even in their first tournament of the boys basketball season.
After winning the first two games of the Ice Breaker tournament they hosted last week, the T-Birds had to settle for losses in their next two.
“I think the guys played really hard,” Cowichan head coach Sandeep Heer said. “They had some really good stretches, but they had some stretches where they looked tired. We have to work on their fitness. The potential is definitely there.”
Cowichan defeated St. Michaels University School 70-69 last Thursday, then beat Wellington 69-62 in their first game on Friday. The T-Birds lost to Nanaimo District Secondary 80-70 later on Friday, and to Belmont 106-50 on Saturday.
Belmont won the tournament with a 4-0 record, while Cowichan and NDSS both finished 2-2. NDSS was awarded second based on point differential.
This was the first senior boys basketball for nearly all the Cowichan players. The current Grade 12s were in Grade 10 last time a high school season was held in 2019-20.
“COVID was a challenge to get the guys games and meaningful experience,” Heer pointed out.
Some of the school teams in Victoria are affiliated with clubs that have been able to train and play over the last year and a half, but that isn’t the case for Cowichan. The T-Birds had only been practicing together for a week and a half or so before the tournament. Heer is optimistic about this year’s team.
“I think we’ve got a really good group of athletes,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to do, but if the dedication is there, I think we can be a really competitive team come the end of the year.”
The T-Birds are hosting their Welcome Back Invitational this weekend. Cowichan will play Ballenas on Friday at 10:15 a.m. and Stelly’s at 5 p.m., while Frances Kelsey will play on Friday at noon and 3:15 p.m.
Playoff games are on Saturday at 9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 1 p.m.