Samantha Johnson (#30) curls around a screen set by Marina Rubinato-Denny (#10) in a game against Smithers Secondary last Friday.

Samantha Johnson (#30) curls around a screen set by Marina Rubinato-Denny (#10) in a game against Smithers Secondary last Friday.

Spartans play well shorthanded

The Hazelton Secondary junior girls basketball team went 0 for 3 in exhibition and play-day games over the weekend.

The Hazelton Secondary junior girls basketball team went 0 for 3 in exhibition and play-day games over the weekend.

A short or empty bench is one of the main reasons the Spartans are overwhelmed, but there is another reason that will take time to reign in.

“Most of these girls haven’t played a lot of basketball,” Coach John Olson said.

“And others have zero actual game experience.”

Despite what they lack, the Spartans play very well when rested.

Unfortunately, they had one substitute for their final game against the Bulkley Valley Christian School last Saturday afternoon.

The game began with both teams playing aggressive defence and the Spartans made sure to make life difficult for the BVCS offence.

The first basket was scored just over three minutes into the game by BVCS.

Samantha Johnson, Hazelton’s most aggressive player, managed to weave her way to the basket and earn a trip to the free throw line, but could not connect on either attempt.

Defence kept the game low-scoring in the first quarter, as both teams moved their feet well and had active hands in passing lanes.

Marina Rubinato-Denny drilled a three pointer making the score was 7-3 for BVCS.

Five minutes into the second quarter BVCS pulled away, mostly through offensive rebounds and easy baskets under the rim.

A minute later, thanks to a half-court press, which is when the opposing team is met at the half court line by defenders, a flurry of Spartan baskets, started by Olivia Sampson closed the gap to 13-9.

Ashlee Johnson was strong at the half-court line for the Spartans causing problems for BVCS in getting their offence started.

Shortly before halftime the Spartans began to show signs of fatigue and

BVCS took full advantage making substitution after substitution to keep fresh players on the floor at all times.

The final score was 63-13 for BVCS.

Coach Olson was proud of his team.

“They never gave up,” he said.

“Even when we started trailing by a lot they kept playing hard.”

Olson says his team will work on fundamentals, such as boxing out in the practices to come.