With just a handful of tournaments left before the Kootenay Zone Championships and, if they qualify, the provincials, Golden Secondary School’s senior boys’ basketball team is getting its role players ready for the challenge.
Returning veterans Meva Dhami, John Oszust and Kiran Gosal continue to lead the charge at both ends of the court, but it might be the rest of the squad that has the biggest impact on the Eagles’ chances down the stretch.
This past weekend in Salmon Arm, the Eagles took a 76-57 win over Langley Fundamental before dropping a 79-61 decision to the host team from Salmon Arm and a 87-73 decision to Penticton.
Head coach Kindy Gosal isn’t concerned with those two defeats, believing that they will provide a good learning experience for his team in preparation for the challenges ahead as the team’s bench players received plenty of minutes to give them some valuable experience.
“The (Penticton) game was close right up until the last couple of minutes…and Salmon Arm has been beating a lot of teams by 40 or 50 points,” Gosal said.
“We played the bench a lot this weekend to try and get them ready to contribute. It’s time for them to step up.”
Among the Eagles’ depth players are Invermere locals Ben Wiegert and Blake Gulbe, both David Thompson Secondary students, a school that doesn’t have a basketball program this year.
While Gulbe wasn’t completely new to the sport of basketball prior to signing up to play with the Eagles, he says he has learned a lot so far so far this season.
“I’ve learned a lot from Kindy. He’s my first actual coach and the progress has been awesome,” Gulbe said.Gulbe and Wiegert make the trip from Invermere to Golden twice a week for practices courtesy of Wiegert’s parents. Gulbe says he is pleased to make the trip and be a part of the Eagles’ program.
“For the past two years I’ve wanted to play a higher level of basketball,” Gulbe said. “When I had the chance to play on the team I was definitely committed to coming.”
Gosal was also keen to mention just how dedicated the pair of Invermere players have been this year.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic to have (Ben and Blake) join us. They’re great kids and they’re working really hard. Their improvement has been phenomenal from the beginning of the season,” Gosal said.
The team will have a break from tournaments over the next couple of weeks as players prepare for final exams. They’ll be back on the court in early February with a tournament in Calgary. On Feb. 12 and 13 the Eagles will host their only home tournament of the season, the Kicking Horse Classic.