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Barons ready for a test

Barons ready for a test

Posted in By Catherine

By Robb Fenton
The message around the Lloyd Comp Barons boys basketball team is that there is still work to do.
After the Barons swept the Westwood Trojans in their best-of-three zone playoff series, their focus immediately shifted to taking on the provinces best teams in Cardston at provincials, which begin today.
The Barons enter as the 16th ranked team, a spot that is particularly favourable, but the team will have to beat the best teams in Alberta if they want to win the title, so why not start with No. 1?
Barons forward Luke Muyres said the team is on a high right now, still pumped from their series win last weekend and are looking to carry that into provincials.
“We feel great going to provincials. This is a big opportunity to play some big dogs, we’re looking forward to it,” he said.
The Barons will face the top-ranked team, Harry Ainlay, in their first game today, needing four wins to earn the provincial championship.
Barons head coach Ryan Mitchell said that while his team played a very strong pair of games on the weekend, things are going to get harder when they hit the court at provincials.
“We’re exactly where we want to be. I’m proud of the boys. We said at the beginning of the year, for our two seniors – we had one at the time – we want to send them off by playing in provincials and see what provincial basketball is all about. I want the young guys to see it, to see the level of play around the province we don’t always get to see,” Mitchell explained.
He added that it’s not just about getting there this year, it’s about hanging with some bigger, tougher schools.
And the key to hang with those schools is what the coaching staff has been preaching all season long.
“Defence, communication,” Mitchell quickly answered. “We have to drill it into these guys, those are constant things. Your shot is going to come and
go, offence is going to come and go, but we’re going down to play provincial basketball and face teams that are going to be a lot stronger, a lot bigger and tough competition, so the guys have to come ready to battle.”
Mitchell also noted that he wants his team to play gritty, something that hasn’t always been there, but has helped them earn wins when it has.
Muyres said the way his team played last Friday and Saturday is the way they need to play every game this weekend and elevate their game to match the tournament favourites.
“We’re definitely confident going in, being able to push the ball and play hard defence,” he said, adding they’ll have to capitalize on their chances and limit the opposition’s opportunities. “Lots of communication, lots of defence. We have to hit the open jumpers and put the ball in the hoop. No turnovers, no fouls, just come out hard like we played these games.”
Mitchell is stressing that his team take each game as it comes and not to look ahead or look past teams, regardless of their ranking or record.
At the same time, Mitchell noted that the Barons can play the underdog role and possibly take advantage of teams not respecting them.
“We haven’t accomplished all our goals. We still want to go to provincials and make some noise and challenge and compete. We’re a young team, so it’s great for them to see it,” he said.
Game time for the Barons’ first matchup is set for 3 p.m. today.

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