The EDSS senior boys’ basketball team picked up its first win on Monday, notching a 48-43 victory over Preston Heights.
The Lancers built up an early lead and were ahead 12 points at halftime, but the Panthers pulled even in the third quarter. The two teams were neck and neck as the clock counted down the final minutes, but Preston Heights missed an easy layup and Matt Bauman made a pair of long drives to the net to edge EDSS out in front.
A series of fouls by the Panthers in the final seconds let the Lancers widen the lead on free throws, ultimately clinching the 48-43 victory.
It was a key win and a confidence booster for the senior boys, who opened the season Dec. 3 with a 59-50 loss to Huron Heights and lost their three games at a tournament in Stratford last weekend.
Coach Brian Carter said the team has a lot of athleticism and will be looking to improve every game.
Carter has six players back from last year, including scoring leaders Scott Albrecht and Eric Alderice. Albrecht and Alderice combined for 28 points in Monday’s game against Preston Heights.
Basketball is always a challenging sport for EDSS, which faces the perennial problem of tipping off against teams whose players hit the court with club teams in Kitchener and Waterloo.
“These guys play basketball November to April and that’s it,” Carter said of his players.
In the coming weeks, Carter is looking for stronger defence from his squad.
“We’re getting there, we’re making some strides, but we still have a way to go.”
The junior team also faced Preston Heights on Monday, losing 55-39 to the junior Panthers.
Coach Chris Finnie has just four returning players and nine rookies, making for an occasionally chaotic game. Monday’s match was an improvement over the season opener, which the Lancers lost 65-17 to Huron Heights.
“The shots just weren’t dropping,” Finnie said of the opener.
While they lack experience, Finnie said his players come ready to learn and practice.
The coach saw a lot more aggression in Monday’s game, and said they’ll continue to work on fundamental skills and composure on the court.
Key returning players are Tak Shibayama and Aaron Nafziger, two of the teams’ top scorers. And three of this year’s players – Lucas Nosal, Walker Stewart and Angus Docherty – have played basketball with the Waterloo Wildhawks.
Finnie expects the team will be more competitive with more practice, but he’s not overly concerned with winning. More important, he said, is to make it a good experience so they’ll stick with basketball.
“You need to have some fun so they keep coming out.”