Cedar Spartans have a versatile roster

Greg Sakaki offers his thoughts on the Cedar Spartans' prospects for the 2012-13 season.

Nanaimo News Bulletin sports editor Greg Sakaki recently caught up with the city’s high school basketball teams, and he included a preview of the Cedar Spartans senior boys’ and girls’ seasons.

Here’s what he has to say about the Spartans in 2012-13.

Cedar Spartans Boys

The Cedar Spartans senior AA boys play with a lot of emotion, which should serve them well over a short, intense basketball season.

The team doesn’t have a ton of depth, but it has a versatile roster that will be able to score both in the paint and outside. Coach Jarryd Engevik said he’d still like his team to get better at the other end of the court, though.

“We’re all right defensively; we just need to work on our defensive rebounding,” he said.

Tall post player Josh Lancaster will be relied upon for offence and will also be looked to for blocking and rebounding. Other primary scorers will be forward Justin Engevik and shooting guard Eric Sackey. Kyle Wolfe will man the point.

The coach said if the players show better commitment to attending practice, they have a chance at a good playoff run.

“I think we can achieve that if we’re all working hard and we get all our guys out…” he said. “When they are there, I like who we’ve got.”

Cedar’s next league game is Jan. 8 at Ladysmith Secondary School.

Cedar Spartans Girls

Cedar’s senior girls were one of two Nanaimo teams to qualify for provincials last year, but getting back will be much more difficult in 2012-13. For one, the Spartans have moved up to senior AA after competing in the senior A league last year.

It’s also a younger team — coach Daryl Rodgers said sometimes the starting lineup consists of three Grade 10s and two Grade 11s.

“We’re still trying to learn what we’re doing on offence. It takes a little while,” he said. “So the more games we can play, the better.”

Stefanie Talboys, a guard, and Marika Grubac, a post player, are two of the go-to players on offence, and guard Kelsey Hutt is another key player. Veteran post player Hailey Bradley is a strong defender.

The team started its regular season with two losses, but both those games came down to the final minutes, with Cedar losing by six points each time.

“Hopefully by the end, we can give some of these teams that we’re losing to by six a run for their money in the playoffs. That’s our goal,” Rodgers said.

Cedar hosts the Wellington Wildcats on Jan. 8 in a 5 p.m. tipoff.