Young Cougar squads tip off season

Matt Veno
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Despite losing key veterans last year CEC expects to compete with a lot of hard work

TRURO - The Cobequid Cougars girls basketball team is looking to take the next step this
A year after being the last team to be knocked out of provincial qualifiers, the Cougars want to make sure they get back to the tournament in 2009-10.
"We want to win regionals and make provincials," said senior guard Carly Totten. "We haven't been there in a couple years and I haven't had the experience of playing there so it would be nice to get the chance in my Grade 12 year."
The road starts today when the girls host Riverview and Halifax Grammar in a pair of exhibition games at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively. Riverview and Halifax Grammar meet at 12:30 p.m.
The Cougars feel like they have the tools to reach their goal. With six players returning from last year's team they feel they have much more experience than last year's edition.
"The Grade 11s are a year older and have another year of experience now," said coach Darren Gerrior.
However, with just two seniors (Totten and Felicia Gero), four Grade 11 players and six rookies, the team is still young. But that doesn't bother Totten. "Everyone is working hard," the 17-year-old said. "We've been accomplishing everything we've wanted to in practice and everyone has really been buying in.
"That's important because if you don't it won't work."
That enthusiasm from his players has Gerrior excited about what the season holds.
"The girls really want to learn and compete and they want to go to the next level," Gerrior said. "That's why I'm excited."

On the boys side of the ball, it looks like a tough road for the Cougars to get back to the provincial quarterfinal.
The Cougars graduated 11 players from last year's team. But senior T.J. Jordan said the Cougars can still have a strong campaign.
"It's definitely had an impact losing those guys because a lot of them were leaders," the 18-year-old said. "But a lot of the guys here can contribute just as well."
Jordan said the team's work ethic will be key this season to achieve the goal of a regional banner.
"I think if we work hard we'll be good."
The Cougars kick off their season with exhibition contests at Central Kings.
Although they lack size and have just Jordan and Andrew Myette as seniors, Jordan said the Cougars certainly don't lack in the leadership category.
"We've got a lot of guys who are leaders who aren't in Grade 12," he said. "But I'm definitely going to step up and try to lead by
The Cougars boast six Grade 11 and six Grade 10 players this season.
"We're a bit inexperienced," said coach Marc Roberts. "They have a lot of basketball experience, but not at the high school level."
Nonetheless Roberts said he's excited about his crop of rookies.
"A lot of them are going to be contributors and not because of the numbers but because of how talented they are."

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