Player progress leads Lakers to league title

League title final reward for players taking strides in improving basketball skills

THE KVR LAKERS under-12 girls team won the Kelowna Minor Basketball League after defeating the Thunderbirds. The team is as follows: Back row from left is Tegan Elder

THE KVR LAKERS under-12 girls team won the Kelowna Minor Basketball League after defeating the Thunderbirds. The team is as follows: Back row from left is Tegan Elder

On May 17, the KVR Lakers under-12 girls basketball team scored 17 points to defeat the Thunderbirds in Kelowna Minor Basketball League play.

Three Lakers each netted four points.

Fast forward to June 7 and the Lakers defeated the same team 33-19 to win the league championship.

“Given that it was our first year in the league, the league championship was a pleasant surprise,” said Lakers coach Chris Terris. “The girls competed so well and improved so much. The last game was a culmination of all their hard work.”

Moving the ball well and pushing the pace created easy scoring chances for the Lakers.

Kayley Davies was a factor offensively leading with 11 points and was chosen as the most valuable player.

“Kayley has come so far,” said Terris. “She led the team with her agressiveness, which created a ton of opportunities for both herself and her teammates.”

Olivia Devito finished with eight points, while Tegan Elder scored six points and collected nine rebounds. She was chosen as the top defensive player. Jennifer Hayman finished with four points and six rebounds and was named the Hustle Player. Sarah Wood finished with four points.

Terris added that Elder, Hayman and Kaitlyn Hutcheson are strong defenders, while Emma Terris and Liev Elder did a great job of moving the ball up court. Devito has become a consistent jump shooter, which Terris said is remarkable for her age. Katie Foreman and Wood both improved by leaps and bounds and contributed in ways that don’t always show up on the scoresheet.

Terris said he had no idea how his players would compete. Playing in the KMBL was a chance for a keen group of players to gain a better understanding of basketball against higher calibre players. Terris said the experience was paramount.

“In our middle school league, the games are very loose,” he said. “No one runs an offence and there is no pressing. We don’t even keep track of fouls or the score.”

The KMBL proved to be a huge learning curve for his players. He said as rewarding as it was to win, as a coach he is more focused on the players’ skill development, game sense, their compete level and most importantly, trying to instill a love of the game. “Their skills and understanding progressed far faster than I anticipated,” he said.