BY ZACHARY CORMIER
The Lacombe Composite High School Rams varsity boys’ basketball team is off to a flying start to the 2016-17 season, after going undefeated in their first two league games.
“If we had to give it a grade, it’s acceptable and we’re about where we need to be,” said Rams Coach Tim McLenahan of the team’s start, which has seen them post an overall record of 4-2, including both tournament and league games.
The team kicked off the year with a two-point victory over the Leduc Composite High School Tigers before heading to the H.J. Cody High School tournament, where they finished fourth after falling to the Oscar Romero Ravens and the H.J. Cody Lakers by 11 points each in the semi finals and bronze medal game respectively.
On the bright side though, they also posted a dominating 95-45 victory over Olds earlier in that same tournament, which could be an indication of their potential.
The Rams have had considerably more success when it comes to league games. At the time of writing, the Rams senior boys are 2-0 in league play, picking up an overtime win over West Central High School earlier this month before posting a 73-43 win over Wetaskiwin on Thursday.
“It’s a good start. We’ve got a group that’s a combination of a (junior varsity) team that went undefeated last year in league play and won the Central Zone for JVs and a group from a senior team that is trying to get better from where they were last year,” McLenahan said, adding that the team looks to continue that upwards trend as they prepare to travel south for a tournament in Airdrie this coming weekend.
It will be a tough test for the Lacombe team, who will have to face off against the defending 3A provincial champions in Chestermere on Thursday night.
The coach noted that the team hopes to build the success of the program as they move forward this season and beyond.
“There’s two parts to it. We’ve got a young group. We’ve coached a core of these guys a number of years, however they’re Grade 11. So they have to learn to adjust to some bigger, older, faster kids. And for our Grade 12s, they’re starting to come around to a higher level of expectation and attention to detail,” McLenahan explained.
When you bring those two sides together, you get a team that is trending in the right direction and that could very well be competitive in a Central Alberta 4A league that McLenahan described as ‘wide open.’
“In the 4A league, we are probably the deepest but we’re probably one of the youngest. For us to be successful at the end of the road, our young guys have got to learn to play at that senior level,” he said.
Only one of those four teams will be able to move on to provincials at the end of the season, and McLenahan said he’s hoping that it will be the team from Lacombe.
The Lacombe Composite High School Rams will play their next league game this coming Tuesday against Camrose and will host their annual tournament with the junior varsity boys team the weekend of Jan. 5th.