Cedar basketball teams will play for their school for the last time in 2013-14

Greg Sakaki provides a look ahead at the senior boys' and girls' basketball season for the Cedar Spartans.

The 2013-14 high school basketball season started earlier this month, and Nanaimo News Bulletin sports editor Greg Sakaki did a round-up of Nanaimo teams, including the Cedar Spartans, as they looked ahead to the coming season.

CEDAR BOYS

To be in the mix, the Cedar Spartans know they need to mix things up.

The Spartans senior AA boys want to fast break and push the pace as much as possible on offence, and try to take a breather by slowing down the opposition at the other end. Implementing the system is new coach Gord Cawthorne, who has a core of returning vets complemented by some new additions.

Forward Josh Seward and swingman Ben Cawthorne are good at working a two-man game to create offence, and Braxton Clark is a primary ball handler who can find his teammates or slash to the net himself. Raury Lancaster and Edward Sackey are some of the other contributors.

The coach said the team has a lot of positives in place and just needs to build on them. He’d like his players to round out their defensive game and do a better job of capitalizing on their chances the other end of the floor.

“We still have to work on just a little bit of finish inside,” Gord Cawthorne said. “It’s just concentration. The mechanics are there, the ability’s there, the strategy’s there, it’s just they’ve got to finish.”

CEDAR GIRLS

For all Cedar Secondary School’s sports teams, it’s the last year before the high school closes. The basketball teams may or may not make history, but at least they can make some memories.

Daryl Rodgers, coach of the Spartans senior AA girls, said he’s told his players to just have fun and enjoy their last year at Cedar.

The team will participate in a tournament in Calgary in February and proudly sport the black and gold.

The Spartans have posted some good results in league play early this season. Rodgers said the team can still work on its defensive positioning and, at the other end of the court, on its ball movement.

Stefanie Talboys is the team’s top player and the most basketball-committed of the bunch. Marika Grubac, Shelby Dorman-Banks, Hailey Bradley and Kelsey Hutt are other key players.

“We’ve got people that can shoot from all over the floor so we’ve just got to keep hitting our shots,” the coach said.

The team should improve as it gets used to basketball fundamentals again as the high school sports seasons change.

“A lot of their favourite sports is volleyball and they’re playing basketball on the side,” Rodgers said.

“So I’m not going to push them too, too hard. Just have fun, enjoy your last year and at the same time, play hard, and the more success you have, the more fun you’ll have.”