Sen­tinels soar to suc­ceed

Young team sticks to­gether un­der coach’s di­rec­tion

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

With steady progress and lots of ef­fort placed on im­prov­ing their game, the Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate boys se­nior basketball team dreams of play­ing its way to a ti­tle ban­ner. But above all else, what im­presses coach Lyn­don Pike the most is how much re­spect play­ers on both the se­nior and ju­nior squads show for each other.

Play­ers from the ju­nior and se­nior boys basketball teams at Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate gather each Wed­nes­day evening for prac­tice. The younger play­ers start off the evening, with 30 min­utes of over­lap as the two teams share the gym af­ter the first hour.

The two teams share a few play­ers and also the coach, Lyn­don Pike. He’s known some of th­ese boys for quite a few years, hav­ing coached some of them at St. Fran­cis School (in­clud­ing his son Dy­lan) prior to vol­un­teer­ing his time at Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate. It’s a school he played for as a youth in his Grade 12 year fol­low­ing the clo­sure of St. Paul’s in Har­bour Grace in the early 1990s.

“When I came back to the area and started re­al­iz­ing where the game had gone … it seemed like there was still a lot of fo­cus on the girls basketball, and they’ve been quite suc­cess­ful here,” he told The Com­pass dur­ing a prac­tice last week. “But on the boys side of it, it had re­ally fallen by the way­side. They weren’t very com­pet­i­tive go­ing to tour­na­ments.”

With this in mind, Pike de­cided to get in­volved in coach­ing, and af­ter work­ing with some of th­ese play­ers for years and teach­ing the fun­da­men­tals of basketball, he feels the boys teams are be­gin­ning to earn the re­spect of their peers.

At the Keith Keat­ing Memo­rial Tour­na­ment ear­lier this year in St. John’s, Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate ad­vanced to the quar­ter-fi­nals.

“We’re walk­ing into gyms now and other schools, and they know who we are now,” he said.

But it’s not all about what they do on the court ei­ther.

“For me, the big­gest ac­com­plish­ment thus far is just the way they’ve learned to re­spect each other, be­cause I have a group of kids here span­ning from Grade 9 to 12, and the way they re­spect each other in here and out­side of here — they’ve man­aged to build a nice lit­tle group. If there’s a ju­nior game, the se­nior kids are all here watch­ing it and cheering them on. If there’s a se­nior game, it’s vice versa.”

Lo­gan Sparkes, a 16-year-old point guard from Car­bon­ear who was named a tour­na­ment all star at the Keith Keat­ing event, said there’s al­ways a good vibe in the locker room and that the play­ers get along.

“There’s an oc­ca­sional ar­gu­ment, but it gets solved even­tu­ally,” he said while tak­ing a quick break from prac­tice.

Colin Ros­siter be­lieves there’s a lot of chem­istry on the team that’s been built over time.

The boys get to take in a lot of basketball as mem­bers of the teams. Some­times they’ll gather at Pike’s house to watch some video from a re­cent game or a bit of NBA ac­tion if a good matchup is on the tele­vi­sion. The coach is also heav­ily in­volved in the lo­cal recre­ational men’s league, where a few of the boys help out. Five play­ers even dress for games in the four-team league.

Full year

When the school year fin­ishes, Pike con­tin­ues to hold weekly prac­tices at the school.

“We pretty much had to do that in or­der to be some­what com­pet­i­tive, be­cause some of th­ese boys are a lit­tle bit late get­ting in the game, and we’re go­ing up against teams where some kids have been play­ing since Grade 3 or 4. In St. John’s, the op­por­tu­ni­ties are there for them to be able to play at that age.”

The se­nior play­ers run set plays on both of­fence and de­fence and em­ploy dif­fer­ent sys­tems. For the play­ers who’ve been at it for a few years with the coach, there’s a strong com­fort level.

“Ev­ery­thing we do or ev­ery­thing we’ve done the last three years is just a pro­gres­sion of that sys­tem,” he ex­plained. “So by the time they reach Grade 12, well then, it’s like the pin­na­cle of ev­ery­thing they can learn about that spe­cific sys­tem.”

Cody Vaters, a 17-year-old cen­tre from Sal­mon Cove, likes his coach a lot.

“You couldn’t get bet­ter than Lyn­don. Lyn­don’s the best.”

Lo­gan has learned about the im­por­tance of team ef­fort and how you can’t win games alone, while Colin, a 15-yearold shoot­ing guard from Car­bon­ear, ap­pre­ci­ates strength­en­ing his de­fen­sive ca­pa­bil­i­ties with the Sen­tinels.

When asked about their goals for the rest of the year, Cody, Colin and Lo­gan all point to their de­sire to win a ban­ner to hang in the gym­na­sium. It’s some­thing they’ve seen the school’s girls team do plenty of times over the last few years un­der the guid­ance of their coach, teacher Ed Jarvis.

The team was tak­ing part in a tour­na­ment last week in Avon­dale, though its first game against archri­vals As­cen­sion Col­le­giate of Bay Roberts took place Thurs­day night in Car­bon­ear. The Sen­tinels won, mark­ing the first time in quite a while that the se­nior boys team beat As­cen­sion.

If there’s a ju­nior game, the se­nior kids are all here watch­ing it and cheering them on. If there’s a se­nior game, it’s vice versa. — Lyn­don Pike

PHOTOS BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/TC ME­DIA

Mem­bers of the Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate Sen­tinels se­nior boys basketball team gather in a cir­cle to lis­ten to coach Lyn­don Pike talk strat­egy.

Lo­gan Sparkes smiles as he at­tempts to ma­neu­ver around a team­mate tasked with de­fend­ing him dur­ing a team drill.

Lyn­don Pike has coached some boys now on Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate’s se­nior basketball team since their days at St. Fran­cis School in Har­bour Grace.

Colin Ros­siter watches his jump shot sail to­wards the rim dur­ing prac­tice at Car­bon­ear Col­le­giate’s gym­na­sium.

Dy­lan Sut­ton of Sal­mon Cove at­tempts a layup.

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