Basketball season is here. And players are excited for it. The Varsity team has some exceptional picks this year. We got an interview with player Owen Andrew and coach Cody McPhee. When asked about which players should be looked out for. Andrew said, “Finn Abel is pretty good. It seems team coach Cody McPhee agrees because when asked what players people look out for, he had this to say: “We've got a lot of strong players who have been playing together for a long time, but Finn Abel and Jake Quizon are those special players that don't come around very often. I think when other kids slept with stuffed animals, those guys were sleeping with basketballs.” A powerful statement from the coach.
When I asked both Andrew and McPhee about their expectations for the season, Owen responded with “I think it’ll be pretty good.” McPhee’s response was, “I am expecting us to do very well this year. We are hosting provincials this year and I intend to win the banner at home. That's a bit ambitious but I do expect a top three spot.” Quite an ambitious goal indeed, but it doesn’t seem impossible for the coach. McPhee has previously coached the JV girls’ team to a championship.
There are a lot of schools from across Manitoba competing in the basketball tournament, many who would pose a threat to VCI’s chance of bringing home a championship. While Owen Andrew has little to no knowledge of the teams around us, McPhee seemed more knowledgeable on the subject. “There aren't a lot of strong teams in our zone but Killarney typically has a strong team. I'm hoping we can be competitive against the Brandon schools; we had some good battles with the Neelin in JV last year.” Killarney is certainly a team to look out for. In the previous basketball season Killarney beat the Virden Golden Bears by a humongous gap.
In fact, according to the mhsaa.ca website, Virden had only won one game in zones. When asked why he thinks the school’s varsity team did so poorly, coach McPhee claimed, “I think last year it was about lack of leadership and lack of experience, and honestly a lack of caring. At practice there would regularly be four guys show up out of 15, then game time would come around and guys would have no idea where to be. Teams that don't practice don't win. The guys this year find gym time when they can. They come in weekends, they play during the summer, they go to men's night. They want to play ball. So ya, I think we have a shot at the finals.”
The previous basketball season seems to have scared away our now senior players as McPhee says most of the team is grade 11s.
“The grade 11s on this team all played JV together last year and were dominant right up until the last game of provincials, where we ended up losing and getting second place. I expect to be somewhere around that same caliber, although we do have a mostly grade 11 team, which might hurt us.”
There is a good height difference between the grade 11s and the grade 12s but there are a few players that make up for it. Owen Andrew claims to be over 6ft and 12th grade Oliver Nolan stands at a height of 6’3.
We can only hope our team's hard work and dedication leads to coach McPhee bringing a banner back from zones. It would certainly make our school proud.
Darian Wambidee-Higheagle is a Gr. 12 VCI language arts student with teacher Fiona White