Hoops teams set for NorWOSSA seasons

Lucas Punkari

For new Muskie senior and junior boys’ basketball coaches Bryce Coyle and Jeff Vandahl, the week they’ve been waiting for finally is here.
The first-year coaches will lead their teams onto the court in Dryden this afternoon against the Eagles in the NorWOSSA regular-season opener, with a home match versus the Kenora Broncos tomorrow afternoon at Fort High.
“Overall, I’m feeling pretty good and guys seem to be in good spirits,” Coyle noted.
“We had a good week of practice this last week here and we’ve been working on quite a few things lately,” he said.
“But it will be good to get some game time and see how all of the things we’ve been working on translates into actual action.”
“Things have been going pretty good for us going into this week,” echoed Vandahl.
“We have had some really productive practices over the last little bit and every day we have got a little bit better, so I’m feeling confident heading into both games,” he added.
The junior squad has been working on a variety of different things over the last couple of weeks following their home tournament in the first weekend of December, where they finished with a 1-3 record.
“We’ve been working on everything to be honest,” Vandahl remarked.
“We’ve been working on the little things that we didn’t really do well in during our tournament, and that includes passing, rebounding, and making those easy shots.
“And we’ve definitely been working on boxing out and on those physical aspects of the game,” he noted.
For the seniors, Coyle has been working on just a few minor tweaks with his squad after it went a perfect 4-0 en route to capturing their home tournament title back on Dec. 9-10.
“More or less, it’s been about fine-tuning the things we have already worked on,” he explained.
“We’ve done a lot on defence and rebounding, and we’ve also done a little bit of work with the offensive side of the game, as well.”
During their home tournament, the seniors defeated their two NorWOSSA rivals on the same day, edging Dryden 52-51 before dumping Kenora 41-19.
But Coyle knows the regular season will be completely different to what took place in a pre-season tournament.
“We can’t take it easy and rest on our laurels,” he stressed.
“Dryden played us very tough in the tournament and they are a very athletic and physical team, so I expect them to really bring it to us on their home court.
“Kenora looked a little raw when they came here, but they have had a couple of weeks here to prepare themselves now and we can’t take them lightly,” Coyle warned.
As for the juniors, they split their contests with their league rivals during their home tournament, downing the Eagles 40-26 but losing 38-28 to the Broncos.
“It was nice to have a chance to see our competition in the tournament, but the league games are a totally different thing,” Vandahl remarked.
“I’m more focused about where we were at our own tournament and where we are now, but I’m feeling really confident going into the week and I think we have a good chance of winning both games,” he added.