Falcons gain experience in lost weekend

Basketball: Foothills boys and girls tuning up for season

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 10:38 am

Foothills Falcon Jenna Thomson drives to the basket during a game last season. The Falcons kicked of their season last weekend at the SAIT Silver Belles tournament.
Foothills Falcon Jenna Thomson drives to the basket during a game last season. The Falcons kicked of their season last weekend at the SAIT Silver Belles tournament.
Wheel file photo

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They don’t call it November Madness.

The Foothills Falcons went 0 for four on the basketball court this weekend, with the boys losing 76-55 to the St. Mary’s Saints in an exhibition game Friday in Calgary while the girls were winless at the Silver Belles tournament at SAIT.

However, pre-December is for getting the kinks out, not necessarily for three-point plays and pressure defence.

For the boys, it might have been too much success that led to their downfall.

“We were missing some guys who were at the volleyball provincials and we had some ankle injuries from guys who didn’t play big minutes for us,” said Falcons coach Amron Gwilliam. “We haven’t had much practice time, so we had a lot of mistakes that I don’t think we would usually make.”

The Falcons were missing veteran Noah Wilkie and Justin Grigor who were competing on the volleyball court.

One of the Falcons’ hot shooters and deft ball-handlers, Hunter Karl, saw limited action as a result of a high ankle injury he suffered while playing for the provincial finalist football team.

As well, veteran point guard Jamie Derochie saw just a few minutes due to a rolled ankle.

“They both got on the court, but they didn’t see a lot of action,” Gwilliam said. “Our team played hard. We just made a lot of mistakes because we were trying to learn more offensive and defensive schemes.”

With both the football and volleyball teams going deep into the post-season, the hoopsters have had as few as six players at practice in the last few weeks.

“It’s hard to get some continuity and learn to play together when there are only six of your players there,” he said.

Gwilliam is chalking this one up to experience.

“It’s never fun to lose but at this point we’re just trying to get better each day and try to improve on our schemes and systems as we go along,” he said. “I expect the first few games we will make a lot of mistakes, we just need to get some practices in.”

Gwilliam did not keep stats in the game, but he said he believed the top scorer was veteran Austin Smutko.

“We weren’t worried about the stats at all,” Gwilliam said. “It was an exhibition game and St. Mary’s is supposed to be one of the top teams in Calgary this year, so we wanted to play them and get that first game under our belt.”

The Foothills Falcons girls team rang in the high school season by going winless, but getting some valuable court time at the SAIT Silver Belle tournament.

“It’s not the way that we wanted to start,” said Falcons coach Lana Gwilliam. “But a lot of the younger girls stepped up and played hard. We got in a lot of different rotations.

“We have 13 girls so I’m trying to see who plays well with who and look at different match ups.”

The Falcons opened the tournament with a 39-33 loss to the E.P. Scarlett Lancers on Thursday in Calgary.

“We played hard defence the whole tournament, we were able to keep most of the teams under that 40 mark,” Lana said.

They then dropped a 39-31 decision to Bishop Grandin Ghosts on Friday. They ended the tournament by losing to the Aberhart Orange on Saturday 54-42.

“We were a little rusty and we need some games under our belts,” Gwilliam said. “I thought we played hard this weekend.”

She said point guard Kennedy Burgess had a strong tournament and there were moments of good play by the Falcons, now all they need is time.

“We have scheduled a lot of tough tournaments so there is a lot of basketball yet to play,” Lana said. “Ultimately, we want to be with the top 4A schools in the province.”

The Falcons are a veteran squad with nine Grade 12 players, including Kaleigh Fisk who came over from the Bert Church Chargers.

Both the girls and boys squads will head off to Edmonton for the Ross Sheppard Tournament. The boys will open with a tough one — the defending 4A champion Cardston Cougars.


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