Senior hoopsters pinning hopes on balance

Dan Falloon

The Muskie senior girls’ basketball team is placing a pretty big emphasis on a consistent wave of attack this coming season.
Head coach Ian Simpson was thrilled to see a balanced attack at a tournament in Thunder Bay over the weekend, where the black-and-gold finished with a 2-1 record.
“It was a good first weekend,” Simpson enthused. “They were our first games and all the girls played well.”
Fort High had opened play with a 23-10 win over St. Patrick’s (Thunder Bay) before closing with a 28-17 defeat over Westgate (Thunder Bay).
In between was a 28-15 loss to Theriault (Timmins)—a game which the Muskies led 13-10 in the third quarter.
The loss prevented the black-and-gold from advancing to the official championship round.
“They [Theriault] pressed us and we weren’t ready for the press,” Simpson recalled. “We turned the ball over a few times.”
But Simpson said his players took the loss and worked with it, bypassing Westgate’s press in their third game in order to march up the floor.
“The biggest improvement was ball-handling,” he lauded.
“In the third game, where we were pressed, we were able to handle the pressure easily and move the ball up the floor against a full-court press,” Simpson added.
Perusing the scoresheets, it was difficult for Simpson to select one or two stand-outs from the weekend, noting each player tallied at some point.
“There was nobody that really dominated the scoring,” he noted. “Everybody scored. It was quite a balanced output.”
Still, after seeing his charges in game action, Simpson realized some tweaks still are in the cards as players’ roles became more defined.
“We’re going to have to fine-tune our offence a little bit,” he admitted. “The weekend really identified the positions that players should be playing.
As the team tries to defend its NorWOSSA crown, Simpson made clear the importance of tightening up the little things throughout the season.
“We’ve just got to work on fundamentals,” he stressed. “We’ve got to work on shooting and passing.
“We’ve got to keep improving our team defence.”
Although the 2010 edition is on the smaller side in terms of numbers, it means the players will be able to rotate in and out while still maintaining a similar skill level on the floor.
“We played 10 players,” Simpson said. “Everybody got to play quite a bit and everybody played really well, played really good defence.
“Losing to Timmins put us out of the championship round, but we won two games out of three so we were happy with that.”
All in all, Simpson was glad to see the quick progression in a short time,
“I was pleased with the way we came together as a team,” he enthused.
“There’s a good team chemistry and I think everybody felt as though they contributed on the weekend, so that’s good.”