With volleyball season finished for another year, basketball is taking over in high school gyms all around the West Kootenay.
At Stanley Humphries, the husband and wife coaching team of Gord and Kim Matson are back for another year at the helm of both the junior girls and senior girls basketball teams at SHSS.
“We’re running practices together, but we’re playing games separately,” said Kim Matson. “Each team will have an away trip they will be going on and three tournaments around the West Kootenays. We have more than 20 games in the season so they should get lots of experience.”
Gord and Kim are both former UBC varsity players and have done a great job rebuilding the SHSS program. Last year’s junior girls team finished second in the West Kootenay
“For the juniors, we have some very strong players coming back,” said Kim. “We’ve got some good grade 9’s that are moving up. We’ve got some new height that’s trying to fill in for the height we’ve lost. We’ve also got some grade 10’s who are new to the game.”
The junior girls team has five girls returning including three starters: forward Svetlana Hadikin, and guards Rebekah Liszt, and Rachael teBulte.
Unfortunately, the team will be without 6’2 provincial team player Michelle Matson, the coach’s youngest daughter, who tore her ACL playing soccer in the off-season and will be out for the season.
“I think we’ll be good this year,” said Hadikin. “I’ve played with most of the girls on the team and we know each other really well. We’re really good at defence. We’ve got a new offence that we’ve been working on and I think it’ll be good.”
The team also has several new players that they will call on to add depth. Stand outs include grade 9’s Maddy Morehouse and Alyssa Christianson, who played for the B.C. summer games basketball team in the off-season.
The senior team has eight players signed up and will occasionally rely on juniors playing up to help them field a team. Moving up from the junior team are Kierra Cates, Theresa Thom, Leeza Perehudoff and the Matson’s older daughter Kelsey.
“With the seniors, it’s a little tough as we’ve got players juggling other commitments,” said Kim. “But we’ve got a strong core.”
The senior team will be travelling to David Thompson Secondary in Invermere this weekend where they will face off against mainly East Kootenay teams.
Cates, who is a grade 11 guard, says the team is ready to hit the court for some hoops action.
“I’ve played with these girls for two or three years now, so they’re like family,” she said. “We’re looking pretty good. We play Kimberley first (Selkirk Secondary) and they’ll be a good challenge. I think we can beat them this year.”
Cates says the seniors should be good this season. “We’re very good at communicating,” she said. “We pass well and can score also. Our defence is solid too. We’re good at protecting the zone.”
The junior girls start their season on Dec. 11 with a league game at L.V. Rogers in Nelson at 4 p.m. The seniors play their Nelson counterparts following the junior game at 5:30 p.m.