Wild basketeball team is on fire

Junior girls team undefeated with first-place finishes at two tournaments.

The Mount Baker Wild junior girls basketball team in action at a tournament in Trail over the weekend

The Mount Baker Wild junior girls basketball team is off to a hot start with an undefeated record of nine wins, which has ranked them fifth overall in the province.

The team is a third of the way through their season, and has come out of two recent tournaments with first place finishes.

Coached by Greg Colburn and Joe Tank, the core of the team has been together for the last few years, which has brought everyone close and allowed the two coaches to perfect their systems.

“We got a very committed group of girls who’ve put in the time needed to develop their skills and play to the level that they need to, to compete in the province,” Colburn said.

“We’ve also been dedicated to a good off-season training program with the club system that is run through our school, but also, most importantly, we’ve got a very good balance of size, ability and smarts.”

The squad won its first tournament two weeks ago in Kelowna, beating out 11 other teams to earn the first title of the season by winning all five games.

Last weekend, the girls repeated their performance in Trail, winning their second consecutive tournament after winning four matches against fellow Kootenay opponents.

The Wild ended up facing Kimberley rivals in the Selkirk Storm in the final, and were winning 65-10 in the third quarter before an unfortunate injury to a Selkirk player forced the referee to call the game early.

Their success has rocketed them into fifth overall in provincial rankings, and the team is looking forward to more events after the Christmas break.

Colburn and Tank have both been working with the girls for a few years, which has the benefit of forging tighter bonds between teammates and perfecting team systems.

“It’s always easy when you’re winning, but the work is also tough. You gotta put in the time to be good at what you’re doing, you can’t just sit back and relax,” said Colburn.

“…The girls are striving to achieve their best and they know this is something that’s important to them and so they’re taking pride in what they do.”

It all starts in practice, as the girls are on the court three times a week in their home gym at Mount Baker Secondary School, said Colburn.

“For a junior team, we got good size, good quickness and lots of skills. We can play with any team we’ve seen so far. What we need now is to see the teams from the coast that are ranked above us.”