The West Kootenay Bulls boys basketball club program is sending two teams to Kamloops this weekend for a tournament at Thompson Rivers University.
The two teams, which have been practicing twice a week since March 26 under the tutelage of coach Mike Lynn, feature players from throughout the West Kootenay area divided into Under 12 and Under 16.
The U16 team started with 20 players which was pared down to 12, while the U12 team was able to keep all 11 players who started.
“In six weeks the team has progessed extremely well,” said Lynn. “The focus for this group has not been so much team play as much as individual skill. The goal for the program was individual improvement with one tournament to measure how kids are improving individually.”
The tournament at Thompson Rivers University features teams from throughout B.C. in divisions ranging from U12 to U17.
“It’s a good opportunity for the university coaches to scout talent from the junior through to the senior level,” said Lynn. “There’s great talent from all across the interior of B.C. There’s club teams, select teams, and school teams that play as club teams.”
Lynn says that the goals for both groups are not winning or losing but competing hard.
“With the U12 group, it was to introduce them to basketball and show them how basketball is being played in the province and raise their awareness and interest level,” he said.
The long range goal, Lynn says, is to return West Kootenay basketball to the glory days of the 1970’s and 80’s when local teams regularly competed with the province’s best.
“For the U16 group, the goal is similar – to get them ready for senior ball, or for the younger players have them return to junior and be dominant,” he said. “I don’t expect to win either side, but I do expect to be competitive.”
The U12 boys tip off Friday at 5 p.m. against Vernon and then play Kamloops and Salmon Arm on Saturday.
The U16 squad faces Mission and Valleyview on Friday night at 6:15 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. respectively.
Their final round-robin game is Sunday against Vanderhoof.