At the start of the Edward Milne Community School Invitational Basketball Tournament, the Wolverines’ starting five had dwindled down to just one player.
The local high school squad was outscored 225 to 134 in three games.
Yet for co-coaches Alex Wright and Trevor Bligh, it became a team-building opportunity.
It gave younger players more playing time, and it added a dose of tough love to the more experienced players, losing to Oak Bay B 103-40 and Royal Bay 57-24.
Despite the Wolverines struggles, they remain in second place in the South Vancouver Island Division 2 standings and have five players in the top 10 for scoring.
All this without keys starters.
“We’ve played with three legs most of the season. We’ve yet to play with our starting five,” Bligh said, adding most absences have been due to injury, football and holiday commitments.
The biggest loss has been Brady Greenwood. The 6’4” forward rolled his ankle in the first game of the season against Glenlyon Norfolk, but not before amassing 27 points, 12 assists and 15 rebounds.
“Everything we do is through Brady’s skill set and being able to pass the ball well,” Bligh said.
Bligh and Wright are looking forward to having a full lineup when the regular season resumes on Jan. 5, when the Wolverines play Esquimalt.
The Wolverines will continue to work on new defences and offences leading into the playoffs at the end of February, and still have a goal to reach the provincial championships.
“I don’t care where I am at Christmas. I care where I’m at in the last week of February,” Bligh said.
“We need to be in the top three on the Island. We’re going to have to work, and we’re going to have to work at that pressure to get by [St. Michaels University School] and Shawnigan Lake and take that third seed.”
COURT TALK … The Wolverines tip off against Mt. Douglas at EMCS on Jan. 6. Game time is 7:30 p.m.