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AT BBALL NATIONALS – The Wolfpack Basketball Club had two teams, U14 and U16, seen above, compete at the Bball Nationals in Langley B.C., on the weekend. Photo submitted by TIM BRADY

Wolfpack returns from Bball Nationals

The Wolfpack Basketball Club sent U14 and U16 teams to the Bball Nationals in Langley B.C., this weekend.

By John Tonin on August 7, 2019

The Wolfpack Basketball Club sent U14 and U16 teams to the Bball Nationals in Langley B.C., this weekend. For both teams, they played top-quality competition the likes of which they have not seen yet.

The U14’s went 1-2 through the pool play. They dropped their opening contest 49-44 to the Shooting Stars Basketball Club, a game in which they overcame a large first-half deficit, made a run in the second half but were unable to put away.

They tipped-off against the Dynamite U13 side next and fell by 12 points 52-40 and in their third game, they were able to route the Northern Bounce U13 team 49-17.

Coach Tim Brady said the team consisted of a few U13 players.

“They matched up against older and bigger players who are farther along in their development skill-wise and physically,” said Brady. “We have a small group of kids and they ran headlong into that.”

During the bracket stages of Nationals, which were single elimination, they dropped their final game 56-40 to Northern Bounce U14. Brady said their opponent effectively used a zone defence against them.

“The score was a reflection of our inability to attack a zone,” said Brady. “They were in a 2-3 zone and had the ability to defend the perimeter well. We are going to spend more time practicing penetrating a zone.”

The U16 team carried a .500 record through the round-robin. They opened their tournament with a tight win as they outlasted the BC Hawk 59-55.

Their second game they were outplayed by Team Finish and dropped the contest 65-36.

They then lost to the VanCity Basketball U15 team by a single point before getting back into the win column in their final game of the pool play when they toppled Dynamite U15 60-47.

In the single-elimination bracket, they lost to MacHoops 58-48.

Brady said it was a theme for both teams to get down early in the first half before fighting back in the second and that in the end, it is all a learning experience.

“In a really close game you will learn more from a tight game that you lose rather than a blowout win,” said Brady. “You have to maintain a competitive spirit and play when you play from behind. It will serve them well moving forward.

“To have the capacity to play in that manner is difficult for any team. The amount of energy and focus is unbelievable. You have to put on blinders. It is a real skill.”

The message to the team’s at halftime when they were down was simple.

“There is only one way out,” said Brady. “Focus on the game in front of you. You have to stop the other team from scoring and score yourself. Battle back one possession at a time.”

The importance of taking it possession-by-possession is paramount explained Brady, because it is easy to feel rushed.

Then you will give up easy opportunities off of mistakes and before you know it you are down more and playing uphill.

“It is easy to lose the competitive spirit,” said Brady.

The U16 team is the core of the Western Canada Summer Games team which will be leaving for Swift Current, Sask., on Thursday. Brady said it will be another step up the competitive ladder.

“They need to maintain the competitive attitude and win small battles, look for small victories,” said Brady. “It’s can we get two or three stops and get off a good shot.

Match (the opponents) intensity and hustle. Can we win a minute? Win a half? That’s the difference here.

“The mental resolve to play that way is challenging.”

Brady said he was proud of all the players’ efforts and how they conducted themselves at the tournament.

“Our players did a great job of managing and representing themselves and their team and program,” he said.

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