The Lacombe Rams Senior Girls Basketball team is starting to find the right mix between veteran savvy and young energy.
In their last game of 2018, the Rams unfortunately fell 44-40 to the Camrose Trojans but were in it right to the end — with Maddyson Felt hitting three triples to lead a comeback en route to game high 15 points.
“We took some chances to early and gambled a bit — they got a few easy shots,” Co-coach Murray Cunningham said. “You can’t give up too many open looks against a team like that. They are going to hit their layups and they did.
“We needed to scramble and hit big shots to come back. I am proud of our girls. They fight and come to play every night.”
Cunningham said the loss shows some inexperience — with his roster being comprised of several first-year Grade 10 players, but he likes the growth he has seen so far.
“It is just about getting them minutes and time and then making sure we keep the pace up. We don’t want to slow things down. We want to get used to playing fast because we want to go fast all the time,” he said.
Cunningham, along with his wife and co-coach Nadine Cunningham, are happy to be part of a growing culture of basketball in Lacombe — with the Rams seeing 40 girls try out this season.
“We will keep working at it and keep getting better. Me and my wife enjoy spending time with them as coaches and they are all working to get better,” he said, adding that his team will be in tough with the season having to compete with talented 4A schools out of Red Deer.
“We are a 4A school again with us just being over the limit. We have a great league,” he said. “We play tough 3A schools all the time and we play tough 4A schools as well. We will likely end up playing Notre Dame or Thurber in the cross-over.
“Our goal is to get to the point where we finish above the other 4A schools so we can host some playoff games.”
To gain home court, Cunningham will rely on veterans Felt, Grade 11 point guard Nina Secretario (11 points), Grade 12 guard Heather Schellenbergand and injured Grade 12 forward Lisanne Weever to help guide his younger players.
“We will keep going fast and our Grade 10s will catch up. We tell them before every game — we believe in you. You are all shooters. Go put the ball up,” he said.
Cunningham said his team mostly will relax over the holiday break, but they will get together as a team to stay fresh for busy 2019.
“We will try to find gym time to stay together. We want them to be a team and enjoy it,” Cunningham said.
He added, “I appreciate what they have done at the school. We are community coaches and they support what we are trying to do. The kids always want to learn and work hard. We are happy to work with them to get better.”