Lakers red shirt player fires up basketball team

The Pen High Lakers bench went crazy after Jackson Coates drained a shot from three-point range.

Jackson Coates (3), a red shirt player for the Pen High Lakers, energized the team during the Maggie Mustangs senior boys basketball tournament over the weekend. Coates took advantage of limited action to score seven points, including this layup. Emanuel Sequeira/Western News

The Pen High Lakers bench went crazy after Jackson Coates drained a shot from three-point range.

The shot didn’t tie the game, nor did it give the the senior boys basketball team a lead against the Pleasant Valley Saints. It was his first basket of the season. Coates’ teammates gave him the same support he gives them every time they go to battle with a 4A Okanagan Valley League foe or in tournament play. Coates is one of five red shirt players (Adam Lacroix, Jacob Weaver, Nathan Clements and Beau Chetner are the others) on the team who only practice, but may receive minutes if regular players are injured or can’t make a tournament. Coates said it felt good having his teammates respond like that.

“We got the win. I know my role. On the bench, cheering for my guys,” said Coates, who has only received playing time in tournament games. “It just feels good once in a while to make a shot like that.”

The Lakers defeated the Saints 87-60. Aquiles Downer led with 16 points and Coates finished with seven. Lakers assistant coach Andrew Knudsen said that Coates showed up to play.

“We’re thrilled when we can get him some minutes. He’s one of the hardest working guys on our team,” said Knudsen. “He’s in the gym every morning putting up shots. He’s a bit of a three-point specialist. Splashed one down with a couple of layups. Very inspiring to see him play.”

Of the three games Coates has seen action in, Knudsen said that one was his best. Coates liked how he played and said it felt good to contribute.

“I practice hoping even next year to play more,” he said. “I try to do my best at everything I do.”

Coates said he brings energy to the Lakers, which he hopes translates onto the court with a strong performance by his teammates. He works hard every practice so that his teammates follow suit.

“We thrive on our red shirt guys to develop our program,” said Knudsen. “These guys know that they come to practice with no glory. They come to work. They know that they may not see the floor. Today when he got his minutes, he really made them count.”

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