Keeth Winia of the Chemainus midget boys Cougars isn’t giving up the ball easily when confronted by an aggressive Duncan Christian School defence. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Keeth Winia of the Chemainus midget boys Cougars isn’t giving up the ball easily when confronted by an aggressive Duncan Christian School defence. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Midget Cougars a strong work in progress

Boys display shooting skill, tough rebounding and poise in first home basketball game

Some emerging basketball talent could readily be seen from the Chemainus midget boys Cougars in their first home game of the season Monday.

The Cougars lost 63-50 to visiting Duncan Christian School at Chemainus Secondary School, but the team displayed impressive qualities. It was a high-scoring game for midget, with both teams trading baskets at regular intervals.

The depth of skill was evident when Chemainus’ Chris O’Dell scored on a great spin move in the lane.

Chemainus lost its first game the previous week at Frances Kelsey 48-18, but made significant strides against Duncan Christian.

“Our shooting accuracy improved greatly from the last game,” noted coach Graeme Arkell.

Official stats weren’t kept, but he estimated the players made more than 30 per cent of their shots.

The Cougars’ attack was hampered when stars Keeth Winia and Bradley MacRae got into foul trouble with four each and were in danger of being ejected from the game.

O’Dell is a speedster in the point guard position and drove the hoop hard for rebounds. He lit up the scoreboard with an impressive 28-point performance.

Winia is a constant threat in the wing position with his fake shots and passes. He opened up time and space on the court and made the most of his shooting opportunities with eight points.

MacRae is a force in the post position and used his size and strength to outmuscle the competition for the ball. His effective rebounding also earned him six points.

“Communication on the court is an area for improvement for us,” added Arkell. “In particular, I would like our players to routinely call “help” if they get beat on defense, call “shot” when the opposition shoots so we can immediately box out, and call for a pass if they are open.”

The Cougars had a rough first game when they only shot 14.7 per cent against Kelsey.

“Shooting accuracy is an area that we will need to see significant improvement on moving forward,” Arkell indicated.

The Cougars went on an eight-point run in the second quarter, but followed it up with a series of missed shots that killed the momentum. Arkell credited Kelsey for playing good defensively and limiting Chemainus’ chances to drive into the paint and shoot.

With 22 turnovers, the players’ passes to each other were frequently intercepted that Arkell attributed to poor passing technique with one hand on the ball instead of two, poor passing accuracy by throwing the ball at the knees or above the head of the receiver, and not utilizing fake passes.

The Cougars were unable to run their motion offense effectively due to a couple of players’ poor attendance at practices. That’s when players develop an understanding of plays that can be made from point guard, wing and post positions, Arkell pointed out.

Captain O’Dell had a strong game with his blazing fast drives to the hoop that made him a constant threat and, despite playing the full game, he maintained a high level of effort.

MacRae also had a strong game. He was impressive with his positioning in the post and using his size and strength to draw defenders in and create time and space for himself and his teammates.

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Bradley MacRae holds on tight to the ball during the home opener for the Chemainus midget boys Cougars basketball team against Duncan Christian School Monday. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Bradley MacRae holds on tight to the ball during the home opener for the Chemainus midget boys Cougars basketball team against Duncan Christian School Monday. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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