GREENWICH, NS – Horton High School’s division 1 basketball team will shoot for victory again this year with a nearly brand new team and a totally new strategy.
Last year, the Griffins were 9-0 when their season was cut short because of the teachers’ strike.
And this year, they’re off to another strong start with new head coach Dwayne MacLeod guiding the way.
“We’ve got new strategies to fight the stiff competition, but we aren’t worried – facing the tough teams just makes us stronger,” says MacLeod.
The team includes players ranging from grade nine to 12. Five grade nines and two grade twelves mean this year’s team is a different combination than usual, with fewer veterans to guide the team.
They’re also facing another challenge – a lack of height. But, to compensate, MacLeod has come up with a simple strategy of speed and aggression.
He and his girls don’t see these challenges as holding them back, but rather something that makes them stronger.
“We play a very fast tempo game, both on offense and defense – that tends to be our strength,” says MacLeod.
“We keep the tempo high and try and force the other team to make mistakes, and catch them when they do.”
To do that, MacLeod adds new tactics at practice, keeping both his players and other teams on their toes.
“We try to be unpredictable so other teams don’t know what’s coming,” he says.
Getting excited for the season
MacLeod and his players agree the team’s chemistry is stronger than ever.
Complete with speed, skill and precision, the girls also jive, and that matters.
“We’ve all been playing together for years,” says grade 9 player Mackenna Laceby.
“We’ve got a great team, and I’m excited to see where it goes.”
The team spends every weekday practicing, and nearly every weekend away at tournaments. In two weeks, they’re off to Moncton to face other first division teams from across Atlantic Canada and Quebec.
MacLeod says the team’s biggest competitors this year will probably be Bedford’s Charles P. Allen High School and Citadel High School in Halifax.
And from what the girls are saying, it’s a challenge they’re ready for.
“We’re going to really grow this year. We’ve got lots of rookies, and have lost some of our bigger players, but I’m excited to see people step up and take those bigger roles,” says grade 11 player Hannah Fuller.