The EMCS Wolverines senior boys’ basketball team enters the 2018-2019 season with some of the best talent to come out of Sooke in years.
Last year the Wolverines stumbled through the season finishing near the bottom of the standings with a 4-6 record to enter the city playoffs.
This year the Wolverines are younger, with only one returning player, and will see the return of longtime coach Trevor Bligh, who took a three-year hiatus to develop young players at Journey middle and Edward Milne community schools.
“We really have a tight-knit group this year,” Bligh said. “I think we have guys who are showing good leadership. It’s been a great group to coach so far.”
The Wolverines no longer have the services of top hoopsters Ryan Fuhr and Robbie Lowerison who graduated after the end of last season.
Taye Julien, who is the lone veteran returning from last year’s squad, is this season’s captain.
“He’s an athletic guy that can finish. He’s got a great touch, runs the floor really well, his upside is unlimited right now,” Bligh said.
The strong recruiting class will undoubtedly be key to the Wolverines’ success this year. Six of the new players on the team played exhibition games with the Wolverines’ senior boys squad last year.
Bligh said the Wolverines are well balanced on both offence and defence, but the biggest focus in the practices leading up to the start of the season is on defence.
“The guys play great individual defence, but when you jump from junior to senior ball the defence intensifies,” he said.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to reach the level of defence in order to be successful at the top tier.”
On the South Island, Bligh expects the biggest challenges coming from Royal Bay and Reynolds secondary schools, but it’s teams to the north – G.P. Vanier (Courteney), Mark R. Isfeld (Courtenay) and John Barsby (Nanaimo) – that will make or break the Wolverines’ season.
“We’ll beat the crap out of the teams down here (south Island), but we’ll have to perform when playing the North Island teams,” Bligh said.
The Wolverines kick off the season at home on Tuesday (Dec. 4) against the Royal Bay Ravens and Dec. 6 take on Esquimalt High.
Tip off for both games is 7:30 p.m. at the EMCS gym.