Coach Mike Redford says the foundation for success this season was laid by last year’s group and the new grade 11’s on this year team have gelled well with the veterans.
“I think it started last year the foundation we set as far as hard work, defence, and toughness that we have,” he states. “Having a good group of grade 11’s coming up into the program that have kind of picked that up as well as the grade 12’s that we have has really cemented our ideals on how we win.”
Redford says it was apparent early in the season that he had a special group that he was working with.
“At the beginning of the year you see your team and you see how their playing and you always hope that you’re going to be good but you never really know. As soon as you go into that first tournament you see them play against some tough teams. We went to Grande Prairie because that’s the best teams we can play. The first game we played against St. Joe’s right away I knew we had a special team. That team was great and we were able to play with them.
The team continued their solid season in zones which determines what team will represent the area in provincials. The senior boys won all of their games by 20 points and Redford says it was quite the accomplishment for the group to defeat teams like Dawson Creek in the manner they did.
“I don’t think the Prince George teams are as good as they have been in previous years but I think Dawson has improved a lot. For us to beat them by 20, 30 points is pretty big. They play tough. They have a good group of grade 11’s and a few grade 12 seniors. It shows a lot of character. It shows our guys don’t give up. They dig in and they start opening it up a little more.”
Despite the success the team has had up to this point Redford is aware that the competition the NPSS senior boys face in Langley will be unlike anything they have seen throughout the season.
“I have to be honest with them. The teams that are there are incredible. They are better than any teams we’ve ever seen before. We played some teams in Edmonton that were pretty good to help prepare us but nothing is the same as playing those teams under the big lights in the coliseums. Bottom line is to even be in games we need to come out and do the things that made us successful. We need to play some defence and get out and run and hopefully our athleticism keeps us in some games.”
The team leaves on Monday and will be flying to Langley. The tournament goes from March 12th-15th.