Cobequid boys and girls basketball teams hoping to nab banners at provincials
TRURO - Their record may not agree, but the Cobequid Cougars feel they're a better basketball team than they've been in years.
Cobequid Cougars coach Marc Roberts talks to his players during practice Wednesday at CEC Gym. The Cougars open their bid for a provincial high school basketball title today at Citadel High when they meet the Prince Andrew Panthers at 4 p.m. Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News
They're about to get confirmation this weekend as they compete for a provincial high school boys hoops title at Citadel high in Halifax.
"We want to show some of the city teams that we haven't played that we can compete with them," Cougars senior Ethan Green said.
The Cougars open their run today at 4 p.m. against the Prince Andrew Panthers.
Cobequid enters as the tournament's fourth seed after posting a 16-15 record this season and the team taken an unusual route to get there.
More than half of Cobequid's game action has come on weekends against the top teams from New Brunswick and P.E.I. It was a move coach Marc Roberts made as the Cougars don't have a regular-season league to play in like teams in HRM making games against top talent in Nova Scotia hard to come by.
Cobequid's record took a hit playing against such high-calibre talent, but Roberts said he feels his team has benefitted from butting heads with the best.
"It was a lot more kilometres and a lot more time away and a lot more responsibility for these guys but hopefully it's going to pay off and I really think is has already," Roberts said. "Win or lose we've gotten a lot better learning from the losses."
The proof came recently at a tournament at Horton High in Wolfville, where the Cougars went 4-1 against five fellow Nova Scotian teams.
"So I think the experience, even though we lost more games than usual this season, was probably a gem in disguise because now we're close to these top teams," Roberts said.
The winner of their Thursday tilt moves to Friday's semifinal matchup while the loser plays for placing, making the opener a crucial contest to win.
"The first game is everything because if you don't win that then you have no shot," Chris Fitzgerald, a Grade 11 player and co-captain said.
Green said he feels his team can turn some heads at the event, not only because of the experience its gained this season, but also because of it's team approach to games.
"We share the ball," he said. "It's not just about one person but the whole team is in the game. If we play our best we can definitely compete with the city teams for sure."
Standing in Cobequid's way are the hosts and top seeded Citadel Phoenix, the Auburn Drive Eagles, Horton Griffins, C.P. Allen Cheetahs and Sydney Academy.
The Cougars girls are at Riverview high in Coxheath in search of their title.
Cobequid enters as the third seed after tearing through their season with a 26-8 record. The Cougars open today at 6 p.m. against Memorial.
"To be honest, we're here to go for the win," Cougars assistant coach Jude Clyke said of his team's goal of bringing home a provincial banner. "We have to play three good, solid game and I believe we can."
That's because the Cougars have played squeaky tight defence all season and they'll be leaning on it this weekend to hold teams at bay.
"That's how we define ourselves," Clyke said.
The Cougars have also gotten strong leadership from a driven group of seniors and contributions from a talented group of Grade 10 players.
"They came in ready to play high school ball," Clyke said. "These girls have played team basketball all year."
They'll be up against a field that includes the top seeded Phoenix, Griffins, Eagles, the Lockview Panthers, Cole Harbour Cavaliers and Halifax Grammar.
The format is the same as the boys, with Thursday's winners moving on to semifinal matchups on Friday while losers play for placing the rest of the weekend.
Both the girls and boys events wrap up Saturday with 3 p.m. finals.
On Twitter: @tdnmatt