The Torchettes open the 2011-12 P.E.I. School Athletic Association Senior Girls Basketball League regular season in Morell against the Marlins on Wednesday evening.
“Last year, they were very heavy with Grade 12s, had no Grade 11s and only a couple of Grade 10s,” said KISH assistant coach Gigi Duplain, referring to the team that ranked third in the 2010-11 senior A league. “We lost the majority of our experienced players.”
The Torchettes will start the season with 12 players, but will be down to 10 for most of the season after two exchange students leave in early December.
“We are a very young team,” said Duplain. “We only have three returning players, and a lot of inexperienced players. It will be a building year for us for sure.”
Jill Smith is the team’s head coach.
“Jill played triple-A basketball in Moncton, and played at Holland College for two years,” said Duplain, who is a French Immersion teacher at KISH. “Jill and I coached some of these girls in midget a couple of years ago. When this opportunity came up, she said, ‘Let’s do it, I love these girls.’”
Just how inexperienced are the Torchettes?
“We are a very young team. We only have three returning players, and a lot of inexperienced players. It will be a building year for us for sure.” - KISH assistant coach Gigi Duplain
Of the 12 players starting the season, eight are in their first year of playing competitive basketball.
“It’s all about improvement,” said Duplain. “At the end of the season, if everyone has improved that’s our goal.”
This year’s team has no Grade 12s. The most senior members of the team, noted Duplain, are three Grade 11s – post Natasha MacLeod, post Nancy Ramsay and guard Lesley Clark.
Lots of teaching
Thus, it is safe to say the coaching staff will be providing a lot of teaching.
“Basic, basic fundamentals,” emphasized Duplain, who added what the Torchettes lack in skill they will rival any team in heart. “That’s why this team is a true team.
“Our strong players work hard and encourage the other players. There are no clicks and no infighting.”
The Torchettes are also scheduled to compete in three tournaments – at Montague in early December, at Westisle in January and the Three Oaks Sweetheart in February.