HOOP DREAMS

‘We wanted to start early this year so we did have this ini­tial week to help get the word out’

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY CHRIS­TIAN ROACH Chris­tian.roach@cb­post.com

Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton ready for new sea­son.

Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton started this week at the Cen­ten­nial Arena in Syd­ney with open gym time for play­ers in every divi­sion.

Of­fi­cial try­outs are set to be­gin next week, but that didn’t stop dozens of kids from hit­ting the court and work­ing on their game.

This week there was open gym time for both boys and girls in two dif­fer­ent di­vi­sions, mini (grades 4–6) and ban­tam (grades 7–8).

Eli Tun­ni­cliff, 12, from Syd­ney River, is a point guard who has al­ready played in BCB’s mini boys league. He said he spent the sum­mer work­ing to ad­just to the higher cal­i­bre of play of­fered on Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton’s rep ban­tam team.

“In the sum­mer I prac­tised a lot and I was ready for this. I knew it was go­ing to be dif­fer­ent but I got ready for a lot in the sum­mer,” said Tun­ni­cliff. “It is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, but I’ll get used to it.”

On Wednesday, there were more 20 boys at both open ses­sions for the mini boys divi­sion and the ban­tam divi­sion — about the same amount as last year.

The league has been run­ning since 2012 and has seen its num­bers pick up since its in­cep­tion.

Chris MacPhee, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton, said that the or­ga­ni­za­tion has been ac­tively try­ing to spread the word to girls who play bas­ket­ball be­cause their num­bers have been con­sis­tently lower than the boys di­vi­sions.

“We wanted to start early this year so we did have this ini­tial week to help get the word out,” said MacPhee. “It’s also word of mouth with the girls. They’re talk­ing at school and they can start telling their friends.”

With the Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton League tak­ing place dur­ing the same time pe­riod as ele­men­tary and junior high leagues, MacPhee said the games and prac­tices are sched­uled so there is lit­tle con­flict be­tween the two.

“We want to re­spect the coaches; they’re putting time in as vol­un­teers with the school sys­tem, so we don’t want to make things dif­fi­cult. We typ­i­cally find out when they play their games,” said MacPhee. “With our teams, we’ll prac­tise once a week. Typ­i­cally, dur­ing school time, they’ll (the play­ers) con­cen­trate on school.”

Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton has evolved into a year-round bas­ket­ball league in re­cent years, with sev­eral di­vi­sions.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion now has teams in junior mini, mini, ban­tam, midget and ju­ve­nile as well as se­nior bas­ket­ball. There is also a spring league for any­one who wants to play, re­gard­less of skill. MacPhee said last year there were 600 kids play­ing in the league.

The ban­tam rep league for boys and girls that has try­outs next week is for high-cal­i­bre teams that pick only the best play­ers. MacPhee said he ex­pects about 40 boys to show up to try­outs for both the ban­tam and mini di­vi­sions. He’s also hop­ing the num­bers for girls pick up from last year when there were un­der 20 girls try­ing out.

“It’s open for any­one in Cape

Bre­ton — we want to have our 12 best play­ers, no mat­ter if they’re from Port Hawkes­bury, In­go­nish, New Water­ford or Glace Bay,” said MacPhee. “If we have enough games and a coach, we’ll make a sec­ond team.”

The open ses­sions for Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton con­tin­ued this week with mini and ban­tam girls prac­tis­ing on Thursday and the boys lac­ing up for another prac­tice on Friday.

CHRIS­TIAN­ROACH/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Bill Kachafanas, coach of the ban­tam boys team for Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton, runs drills with play­ers hop­ing to make the team at the Cen­ten­nial Arena in Syd­ney on Wednesday. The or­ga­ni­za­tion has booked open gym time this week to get the word out about the up­com­ing sea­son and next week’s try­outs.

CHRIS­TIAN ROACH/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Ben Kearny, left, drib­bles past half court as Eli Tun­ni­cliff de­fends at the Cen­ten­nial Arena in Syd­ney on Wednesday. Bas­ket­ball Cape Bre­ton has open gym time this week to get the word out about the up­com­ing sea­son and try­outs next week.

Tun­ni­cliff

MacPhee

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