Thunderball basketball off to a rip-roaring start

Thunderball Basketball is now into week four of the 24th annual mini-basketball league, and organizers say this year is “amazingly fantastic. We have almost 180 youngsters playing the game of basketball in two gyms, with almost 30 coaches.”

The Grade 4-5 boys and girls play at Queneesh Elementary. After May 2 play, head coach Blake Tobacca was extremely pleased with the improvements and the efforts of the players over the first four weeks. All the participants are appreciative of their coaches.

The coaches – Tobacca, Ken McRae, Aleah Ashlee, Chloe Speed, Chase Hobenshield, Joe Whittington, Riley Meyerhoff, Rheyden Le, Zack Fieret, Maddie Eaton, Kayla Dewitt and John Lapp – make a big difference. Eight teams gather every Sunday at Queneesh at 8:45 a.m. and everyone looks forward to their practice, then their exciting games.

The Grade 6-7 girls play at G.P. Vanier at 9:45 a.m. each week. “What a huge improvement these girls have made over the four weeks of play and practise,” a league spokesperson said.

“Everyone has really started to understand the fundamentals of this game. The passing and cutting to the hoop was awesome and the girls play great team basketball. Everyone works really hard and play tough defence.  From all the coaches: Great job, girls.”

In Week 4 the Blackbirds took on the Cougars. Blackbirds’ coach Stefan was so proud of her girls she couldn’t single out any one player. Their defence was incredible as they played super tight on their checks and read the opponents plays very well. She also marvelled at their great V cuts to the basket, resulting in some pretty plays. The Cougars won this tight contest by two points despite being short-staffed. “Great effort girls,” the spokesperson said.

The other girls game featured featured the Limes (coach Aleasha Wiebe) who played the exuberant Monarchs (coaches Hope and Susie). Every girl on both teams played tough defence, and a big improvement on everyone’s passing was certainly evident…especially to moving targets. Sienna Stephens and Leiah Kelly (the  Monarchs) displayed their keen listening skills as they showed their coaches what they were taught in the practices.

The Grade 6-7 boys also play at Vanier, and these young, future NBAers (that’s the dream anyway) show their love for the game. Attendance is awesome each week, with eight teams and plenty of coaches who all are striving to get better. Fun to watch and end-to-end action. Game times are 8:30 or 11 a.m.

The Cavaliers took on the Thunder, and with only five players (we play 4-on-4) the Cavaliers put their minds to defence and did a good job finding their checks. As a team they transitioned to offence quickly from the numerous steals and rebounds.

A talented Aidan McDonald controlled the ball and had no turnovers. He did a fine job finding his teammates, inspiring them to play tough defence, which created many layups from steals. Will Derksen was the mainstay for the Thunder. He also showed awesome defence and rebounded with plenty of intensity. Armad Zadeh also scored some great baskets.

The Warriors took on the Raptors, and Warriors’ coach Scott Robertson has emphasized fundamentals with his boys. There is lots to learn after a mere 10-point loss to the Raptors. Trevor Nast played his usual confident game and shot well. For the Raptors. Curtis Trask was the main man during this close game. Defence was the key factor for this win.

The Vipers tipped off against the Heat, and Vipers’ coach Bryce Olsen loved how Scott Gilfillan and Josh Irving played this high scoring, tough and close game. Two-point winners over the Heat, these two lads combined to stop  their top scorer Luke Yeo.

The Heat made an amazing comeback to make this an exciting game and cause a few heart issues on the sidelines for screaming fans. Danny Yeo, the coach, GM, trainer and president of the Heat, liked how Riley Skalik and Luke Yeo helped with the rapid comeback.

In another close contest the Spartans topped the Titans 37-34. Coaches Nick Knopp and Tyler Knopp willed their troops into great defence and relentless rebounding to win this won. Great efforts by Micah Leopkey and Josh Negenman.

For the Titans, who gave it their all in this nail biter, Kye Kotopski-Tinga played a great game, along with Trent Johnson, who coach Johnson claims is a chip off the old block.  This was a fast-paced game with lots of passing. Defence was the difference.

 

– Thunderball Basketball

 

 

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