A good problem to have

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December 13, 2016 12:00 AM

Prior to this season, the Lloydminster Comprehensive Barons girl’s basketball program barely had enough players to make one team — this year they had enough to create two.
It has created plenty of new challenges for senior girl’s head coach Natalie Wiebe, who had 25 girls come out for tryouts this year, but it’s a good problem to have, as the future of the Barons basketball program looks bright with the amount of girls who have shown interest in the sport.
“It’s nice to see that level of interest and girls willing to come out and make that commitment level and are willing to work,” said Wiebe. “We can start to look toward the future.”
The senior team, made up of four Grade 12s, three Grade 11s and five Grade 10s will been the busier team and play for provincials at the end of the season, while the junior team, consistence of two Grade 11s and nine Grade 10s, will compete in some senior level tournaments throughout the year, as there aren’t many other junior programs around for them to have their own season.
It’s the first time in at least five years that the Barons have had a junior program, with the heavy influx of Grade 10 students being the main reason for that. This year’s Grade 10 class is the largest the school division has had ever, so Wiebe isn’t sure if it’s just a numbers game, or if that many players just want to play basketball.
But whatever the reason may be, the future looks bright for the Barons basketball program, as the program can now realistically look at a future where their senior team will be made up entirely of Grade 12s.
“We’re trying to continue to just building for the future,” said Wiebe. “There has been lots of organization things that we haven’t had to do before, which is good as they are all really positive things. We have a big array of skill level. Some have played basketball for a number of years, some, this is their first year or second year playing basketball, but I think showing that commitment and that willingness to learn is huge. So there are lots of positive to look at this year and we’re looking forward to building a program in the future.” 
For the senior team, the dynamic is different than years before, as the influx of young players has pushed the older girls more than they have been in the past.
It’s created a healthy competition, and made it easier for Wiebe to coach as the girls are always working hard in practice.
Last year the Barons finished the province tournament in 16th place out of 16 teams, the rank in which they entered the tournament.
And while that is typically where the Barons enter, as they don’t have a zone playoff and the same competition some of the other larger city centres have, with the new junior program, there could be a day when the Barons are thinking a lot higher finishes in the provincial tournament than last place.

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