PK hoopsters show potential
Men's team works toward winning record
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 06:00 am
The Paul Kane Blues are tuning up for a winning season in high school men’s basketball.
The Blues are one win away from equaling last season’s win total in the metro Edmonton league after Tuesday’s 65-47 decision against the J. Percy Page Panthers at Paul Kane.
“We’ve got some really good potential and so far we’ve started to develop that. We’re 2-2 and we’ve played some good teams in the league. We can go places this year, we just have to practice hard and play better,” said Theo Block, a versatile Grade 12 hoopster from Onoway.
Last season the Blues finished 3-8 in the premier conference after an early playoff exit.
The merger of the metro and Edmonton public leagues created an extremely tough division one playing field of 14 teams, compared to eight in premier last season.
Five division one teams are ranked top-10 in 4A – the 5-0 O’Leary Spartans (No. 1), 5-0 Harry Ainlay Titans (No. 2), 5-0 Ross Sheppard Thunderbirds (No. 4), 2-2 Jasper Place Rebels (No. 7) and the 4-1 Bev Facey Falcons (No. 9) – while the Blues are unranked.
“The teams that were in the league last year, a lot of them were young like we were and this year they’ve got a lot of older kids just like us. Everybody is getting better at the same time as we’ve been getting better,” said Block, one of seven returning Blues in the line-up.
The Blues showed flashes of how great they can be against the Panthers (1-4).
“That was probably the best game of the season so far. We were running the floor. We got to the hoop and scored. We played good defence too. We held them to under 50 points and they've been scoring 70 and 80 in their previous games,” Block said.
The next day the Blues took it on the chin 91-61 at Harry Ainlay.
“That team is good. We’ve got to get better to beat them but I think we can catch them at some point in the season,” Block said.
Thursday the Blues tipped off the Paul Kane Invitational Tournament with an interesting 67-58 win over the division one M.E. Lazerte Voyageurs (1-5).
The Voyageurs scored only three points in the first quarter, all on free throws, and trailed 22-3 entering the second quarter. Their first field goal of the game was scored with 7:04 left until halftime. At the break it was 38-21 for the Blues.
In the third quarter the Voyageurs closed to within nine of the Blues, but fell behind 50-39 entering the fourth quarter.
“We came out great and then we kind of fell off and didn’t play as good as we could have,” said Block, who recorded seven points while dishing the ball off for multiple assists.
The speedy Frankie White sank a team-high 16 points and top gun Quinn Peterson was held to only 11. Zane Warren and Noah deSa drained eight points apiece.
“We moved the ball on offence pretty good. We drew a lot of fouls and got to the hoop a lot, we just didn’t shoot particularly well,” Block said. “We played good team defence, we just didn’t rebound very well.”
Scoring by committee is the name of the game for the vertically-challenged Blues.
“We don’t really play ball hog basketball. We share the ball around and get everyone some points,” said Block, who plays bigger than his five-foot-11 frame.
In Friday’s semifinal the Blues played the Sturgeon Spirits but the score was unavailable at press time.
Today the Blues will rattle the rim in the third-place game at 5:15 p.m. or the final at 8:45 p.m.
The division one Spirits (1-4), ranked No. 2 in 3A, defeated the Blues by five points in the semifinal of the Rise Up tournament last month in Namao.
“When we lost to them we were missing three starters so we’ll be excited to play them. It’s kind of like a St. Albert rivalry but not really. They’re a good team. They have one really good guard and a couple of good posts, but one of their starting posts broke his foot recently,” said Block, 17, a sure-handed receiver for the football Blues, the Miles Conference division two champions and Tier II north finalists, who was the recipient of the team’s Coaches Award, presented to the player who goes above and beyond the call of duty for the team.