It’s a beautiful thing to behold, when a team executes their game so close to perfection.
For much of their opening match against Pemberton, Friday night in Agassiz, the senior Mustang girls could do no wrong. It was if they were shooting into a sinkhole — the ball seemed to have no chance of missing. Hannah Chisholm notched 24 points, matching Pemberton’s total output, and Sarah George added another 17 in the 60-24 win. The gap allowed coach Jeff Kuhn to go to his bench and let everyone have some court time.
“Pemberton is usually a strong team,” said Kuhn, Tuesday. “I was surprised.
“We pressed and made the other team make mistakes,” he added. “Sarah George has got so much potential. She has the best footwork, down low, that I’ve ever seen from a Grade 10. She has that reverse lay-up and she can nail it.
“We moved the ball well, against Pemberton,” said the coach. “We’ve been working in practice on letting the offence happen. The girls can get a bit rushed and force the ball.”
The Mustangs met Surrey’s Khalsa squad on Saturday, with knowledge that their number 8 player was the one to watch.
“She scored 34 of their 66 points on Friday, so I put Hannah on her all game and we shut her down to only 8 points,” said Kuhn. “But there’s another girl, number 13, who got 34. Her coach said she doesn’t usually score more than 4 or 6 points a game.
“They scored on their first 8 shots from the field and it was 38-32 at the half. We lost 66-50 but I was really happy with how we played.”
Playing catch up meant Kuhn couldn’t go to his spares to spread the workload. He felt that wore out his starters for the Saturday evening consolation match against a more-rested Agassiz.
“Agassiz has two tall girls this year, so you’ve got to have the outside shots working. They beat us 68-58 — but we’ll find a way to beat them,” said Kuhn.
Looking at this year’s league line-up, the good news is that Khalsa has been split out of the schedule, leaving Hope in a 5-team eastern district that includes Agassiz and Chilliwack’s High Road Academy (which had a close match against Pemberton, Saturday.)
“We’ve got Credo Christian and Unity, which are ranked 1-2 in the province in single-A ball,” groaned Kuhn. “It’s a little discouraging. Our girls will fight their best — but those two schools are in a whole other echelon. But it’s good for our girls.”
The Mustangs meet High Road for their first league game, next Tuesday, then they host their tournament on December 13 and 14. They get a day off before hosting Unity, at 6:15 on Monday night.
After a few years of playing only in tournaments, the senior boys are back in league play. They hosted a team from Abbotsford’s Dasmesh Punjabi school on Tuesday, winning 76-63.
“The boys look a lot stronger than they have in years,” said Kuhn. “Their tournament is January 10 and 11.”