Coach Graeme Arkell looks over the action from the midget Cougars’ bench. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Midget Cougars go down swinging against powerful Salt Spring

Star player O’Dell finishes the season without committing a single foul

It didn’t end the way they would have liked, but it’s been a productive season for the Chemainus Cougars midget boys basketball team.

The team played its final tournament game last Tuesday at Duncan Christian School against Salt Spring Island Middle School. It ended in a lopsided 70-40 loss to Salt Spring, but the Cougars put forth one of their better efforts of the season.

“The boys stuck to the game plan and played a fast, run-and-gun game with an emphasis on accurate passing and chasing down rebounds,” noted coach Graeme Arkell.

In the early going, the scoring was very even. Chemainus only trailed 13-11 after the first quarter and a comeback was still within reach while facing a 46-34 deficit by the end of the third quarter.

However, Salt Spring sent all the members of its starting five back onto the floor in the fourth quarter and went on a 20-point run. Salt Spring later defeated Frances Kelsey and claim first place in the year-end tournament.

Chemainus star Chris O’Dell was identified early by the Salt Spring coach as a primary offensive threat.

O’Dell faced some tough defensive matchups the entire game, but still managed to register 11 points. He had a run of bad luck at one point, with shots ricocheting off the back of the hoop.

O’Dell maintained his composure and adjusted into a playmaking role, wiring some nifty passes to Bradley MacRae and Keeth Winia in great scoring locations.

“Chris accomplished an incredible feat, he played the entire season without committing a single foul,” noted Arkell. “That’s a testament to his sportsmanship and good positioning.”

Winia racked up 10 points with accurate pull-up jump shots. His ability to fake a pass or a shot before shooting caused his defenders to hesitate enough to allow him to get his shots off.

“Due to his superb shooting accuracy, I would like to see him shoot more often instead of looking for a pass,” observed Arkell.

Gage Copeland earned eight points from driving to the hoop and converting on his layup opportunities. He even successfully executed a couple of reverse layups and slick between-the-leg dribbles that are rarely ever attempted at the midget level.

Arkell cited the need for improving the team’s boxout technique to prevent the opposition from having second and third chance rebound opportunities as a factor in the outcome.

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