Lake City Club Basketball’s under-15 boys team put an 0-5 start behind them with a 10-4 finish.
“As the season went on, the guys did an incredible job of coming together, learning the system, learning how to play together,” said coach Raj Dhillon.
Among their victories was against UBC, who crushed Lake City by 36 points in a previous game.
“The resilience of them to keep competing, to lose to a team by 30-plus points and then go and beat them, is a huge, huge turnaround,” he said. “The biggest difference between that was just confidence and competitiveness. They believe, they hustle.”
Lake City played a half court game relying on their post players and slowing the pace as they didn’t possess bursting speed. Lake City also liked setting up pick and rolls. The team is made up of players from four or five schools and Dhillon said they were likely the top players for their respective teams.
“They have to be a little bit unselfish, which they do a great job of,” he said. “They are a great group of kids.”
Because they worked so well together as a group, Dhillon is taking them to Washington State July 13 to 16 for the Gonzaga Boys Basketball High School team camps. While there, they will receive instruction sessions by the Gonzaga coaching staff as well as current and former collegiate players. The tournament features high-level competition and teams are placed into divisions based on size and skill level. Each team plays a minimum of eight games and players will also go through in-game and end-of-game scenarios.
Dhillon said this opportunity gives them a chance to play competitive basketball and gain experience outside the Okanagan Valley. This will also expose the players to how hard other teams work.
“It’s a night and day difference between Canadian and American basketball,” he said. “It’s good exposure because they are very young (13 to 15).”
To help cover the expenses of going, the team has held fundraisers. They recently bagged groceries at the Super Store, earning $1,000. This Saturday they will be at Rona from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. selling hot dogs, baked goods and ice cones.