Rookie Knight makes his point on the court
Basketball: Holy Trinity Academy to host tournament this weekend
Wednesday, Jan 09, 2013 10:23 am
A Holy Trinity Academy Knight had a near storybook ending to his first high school boys basketball game.
The Knights’ Dylan Wheeler was the starting point guard as a Grade 10 student and the ball was in his hands at a pivotal moment in the Knights’ 2012-13 opener to the Holy Cross Collegiate Hawks on Dec. 5 in Strathmore.
“I had the tying shot — and I missed,” Wheeler said. “I wasn’t really nervous, but it was just another shot that I had to make. I am just glad I had the confidence, and the coaches had the confidence in me to take the shot.”
The Knights lost the game in what is part of the learning curve for Wheeler as he makes the jump from junior high school to Senior boys high school basketball. He is the first Grade 10 player to start for the Knights since John Forzani in 2004. Forzani is now a receiver for the Calgary Stampeders.
“I think it is a great privilege to start in Grade 10,” Wheeler said. “It had been one of my goals when I was in Grade 8 at John Paul II Collegiate.”
Wheeler took up basketball at the age of 10 when he played community hoops in Okotoks under longtime coach Lawrence Cayetano. He credited Cayetano for developing his love and the skills for basketball.
He said the strength of his game is his ball handling and being able to handle defensive pressure.
“To play point guard you have to learn not to be selfish and how to make your team better,” the five-foot-nine, 125-pound Wheeler said. “Right now, I feel where I have to be but I still have to work on my shooting and I can’t turn the ball over so much.”
Wheeler got a chance to take on some of his former club teammates when the Knights played the Foothills Composite Falcons just before the Christmas break. Although Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) came out on the short end of a 105-65 score, Wheeler said he was thrilled to play against former teammates Jamie Derochie, Austin Orr, Anthony Cayetano and Morgan Burbank.
“That was my favourite part of the year so far,” Wheeler said. “It was nice to see them again.”
He admitted it was tough playing opposite talented veterans like Derochie and Hunter Karl.
“They are both really good players but I couldn’t let them push me around,” Wheeler said of the two Grade 11 Falcons. “I was pretty happy with how I played.”
Knights coach Sam Aiello said while there will be see some growing pains for his first-year point guard, he is impressed with what he has seen so far.
“He handles the ball very well and he’s also handled the pressure well,” Aiello said. “I think against the Comp he only had one turnover.
Dylan is going to be the cornerstone of our team not only this year, but for the next two years as well.”
Aiello said the key to Wheeler’s success is
his work ethic.
“Since September, his been coming to the gym at 7:30 a.m. working on his shot,” Aiello said.
HTA resumes Foothills Athletic Council play when they host the Holy Cross Collegiate Hawks at 7:15 p.m. tonight (Jan. 9).
HTA will get a good look at one of the top 3A teams in the province when it hosts the Knights Senior Boys Classic this weekend.
The tournament will include the Canmore Crusaders, the third-ranked 3A school in the province.
The Crusaders will be one of the Knights’ toughest opponents at the South Central Zone tournament in March.
However, Aiello said the Crusaders might not even be the top-seeded team going into the tournament.
The Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs, a 4A team playing in the tough Southern Alberta High School League, may be the team to beat.
The tournament includes the Highwood Mustangs from High River, who along with the Knights, received an honourable mention in the rankings which were released in December.
The Knights will open the tournament at 6 p.m. on Jan. 11 against the Magrath Zenith. The other teams are St. Joseph’s from Edmonton, the Olds Hawks and the McCoy Colts from Medicine Hat. The tournament final is Saturday night at Holy Trinity Academy.