ELMSDALE – Longtime Westisle Wolverines coach Walter Davidson is sending a young team out on the court this season in the P.E.I. School Athletic Association Senior Boys Basketball League.
© Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer
Walter Davidson, head coach of the Westisle boys, explains a drill to Parker Gallant, centre, and Connor Gavin during a team practice. Davidson says his team is young experience-wise, but willing to work hard to improve.
“We’re making mistakes early, but they are mistakes we’re going to learn from and become stronger as the year goes on,” Davidson said. “I expect, by the end of the year, we’re going to be a team that’s quite well-known for our ability to play.”
The Wolverines were bounced in the senior AA semifinals last year.
“We expect to be right in that mix again this year,” Davidson assessed. “Of all the teams on the Island, we seem to be kind of middle of the pack.”
The Wolverines have five Grade 10s, two Grade 11s and five Grade 12s.
One of the Grade 12s, though, is in his first year of high school basketball. What Nathan Barbour lacks in experience, he makes up for in height and determination.
At six-foot-five inches, Barbour is one of the tallest players Davidson has coached in his 23 season with the Wolverines.
“He just works super hard,” said the coach. “He comes in with a work ethic. He wants to get better, and he’s doing all the things to get better.”
The team’s other graduating players are Quentin DesRoches, Bradley Ellsworth, Tyler Farrell and Parker Gallant.
The Grade 10s still have to make some adjustments.
“They’ve got game experience, some of them, at the junior-high level, but playing at a high-school level is another step up,” Davidson noted. “It’s a big step to get everybody on the same page to get them used to playing together at a certain level.”
“I expect, by the end of the year, we’re going to be a team that’s quite well-known for our ability to play.” Westisle Wolverines coach Walter Davidson
While inexperience is an issue, Davidson said the Wolverines’ quality is the players’ willingness to work.
“We have kids who will come in and they’ll work,” he said. “They will compete. They will run hard.
“Since we’re inexperienced, we need to run a little bit harder because our skill set needs to improve. We’ll hopefully improve that while we’re learning to run with the basketball.”
The Wolverines are off to a 2-1 (won-lost) start in league play. They also posted a 2-1 record in round-robin play in their four-team tournament last weekend.
Westisle’s only league game this week was against the visiting Three Oaks Team Two on Monday. Westisle won it 68-57.
“It’s going to be nice to get the practice time this week,” Davidson admitted. “It’s going to be nice to have three days of good, solid practice so we can get the kinks ironed out.”