The U13 and the U17 played in their first tournaments of the year last weekend in Calgary. Chad Pidhaichuk of Badlands Basketball said both teams made an impression on the court. The U13 team played the Junior Dinos, a university of Calgary program team, and the Calgary Selects team, and while they didn’t win, they held their head high against some tough competition.
“These guys (Calgary teams) play anywhere between seven and 10 months a year,” said Pidhaichuk. “They played really well, they got better every game.”
This was the first time the squad has played as a team.
The U17s also fared well in tournament play. They won their first two games, but lost to the Junior Dinos U17 team in the semifinal of the tournament. Gavin Pittman and Kyle Smith were each selected as player of the game in different matches.
Pidhaichuk says he is impressed with how well the team competed. While most of the Calgary teams they played against draw on a larger population and have selections, in Drumheller the squad is made up of kids who want to play.
“These teams get the pick of the litter and we get whoever wants to play, the fact that we can play with these guys is pretty incredible,” said Pidhaichuk. “We had quite a few people come over and tell us the skill level was pretty incredible, they always say ‘considering where you are coming from.’ I always say it doesn’t matter where we’re from, we can be good anywhere.’”
Pidhaichuk and Al Molzan are coaching the U17 team and Tyler Fournier and Mitchell Smith are coaching the U13 team.
The team will be on the road on June 4 and 5 to play in another tournament in Lethbridge.
Badlands Basketball has set the dates of its summer skills camp. The general camp, open to players ages 10-17 to work on fundamentals, is slated for July 12-15. The elite camp, geared towards high school aged players, is set for August 23-26. This camp works on development of team and individual skills to prepare for the upcoming school seasons.