Cava­lier spirit to the Winter Games

Laval ju­nior boys basketball team qual­i­fies for Clarenville

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

It has been a suc­cess­ful two weeks for the Laval High Cava­liers ju­nior basketball pro­gram.

In the past two weeks, the Pla­cen­tia school has qual­i­fied for the 2014 NL Winter Games in Clarenville March 1-9 in both male and fe­male basketball.

On Jan. 11, the boys turned the trick and a week later the girls did the same thing.

“The qual­i­fier was a first class event,” said male coach Mark Nash.

The male tour­na­ment was held at Dunne Memo­rial Academy in St. Bride’s, and fea­tured teams from the school, Laval and St. Cather­ine’s Academy.

The Cava­liers met the host team in the tour­na­ment opener. The game was an over­time thriller with Laval pulling out the hard fought 59-54 vic­tory.

Meet­ing St. Cather­ine’s next, Laval thumped the team 50-30 to book its ticket to the fi­nals.

In the re­match with Dunne, the Cava­lier out­classed their op­po­nent de­feat­ing them by a score of 58-43 to be­come the Avalon rep­re­sen­ta­tives in basketball.

As show by the scores, Nash felt his team got stronger as the tour­na­ment progress.

“Al­though we are a very young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced team, the boys show im­prove­ment through­out the en­tire qual­i­fier,” he said.

The coach said prior to the tour­na­ment his team had lit­tle time to prac­tice as the play­ers had other com­mit­ments both in school and the com­mu­nity.

How­ever, in a tes­ta­ment to their skill level, the boys pulled off the qual­i­fier vic­tory.

With the Games a lit­tle over a month a way, Nash and his team will be work­ing in a lot more gym time in prepa­ra­tion.

“Since the qual­i­fier, the boys have been in the gym a cou­ple of times per week work­ing very hard to pre­pare,” said Nash. “The team un­der­stands what we will be fac­ing dur­ing the Games, and they will be ready for the chal­lenge.”

Tough com­pe­ti­tion

The Cava­lier will be in tough at the Games. The en­tries from St. John’s and Mount Pearl have tra­di­tion­ally been strong in basketball, while the west coast of the prov­ince is known as a strong­hold for the sport.

“Al­though there have been more prac­tice ses­sions with an in­creased work­load, we will face tough com­pe­ti­tion in the Games,” said Nash.

Even know­ing basketball in these cen­tres is go­ing to be strong, there are still un­knowns head­ing into the tour­na­ment.

“There are many … as teams from the western and eastern re­gions of the New­found­land and Labrador Basketball As­so­ci­a­tion clash for the first time,” said Nash.

Ex­cite­ment build­ing

Since the Cava­liers won the right to rep­re­sent the Avalon re­gion, ex­cite­ment has been build­ing amongst the play­ers.

Some have been on this stage be­fore hav­ing par­tic­i­pate in softball for the 2012 Sum­mer Games in Har­bour Grace and Car­bon­ear.

“Those games were first class, and the boys are look­ing for­ward to the same sort of ex­pe­ri­ence in Clarenville,” said Nash.

Sub­mit­ted photo

The Laval Cava­liers ju­nior boys basketball team booked its ticket to the 2014 NL Winter Games af­ter a 58-43 de­feat of Dunne Academy in the qual­i­fi­ca­tion tour­na­ment fi­nal on Jan. 11. Mem­bers of the team are: front (lr) — Jordan Pomeroy, Cody Power, Kevin Tay­lor, Michael Leonard-Power and Joel Nash; back — Ryan Hickey, Nathan Hynes, Wil­liam Neville, Liam Shea, TJ Schu­mann, Dou­glas Cheese­man and coach Mark Nash.

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