It’s not often that the coaches of a winning team get a pie in the face for their efforts, but that’s the deal coaches Dale Verdon and Ryan Hutton made with the Salmo Secondary Grade 7/8 Falcons girls basketball team at the West Kootenay basketball finals in Salmo on March 8.
The girls won their final game against Stanley Humphries Secondary 35-20, playing with only six players against a full Castlegar bench and going undefeated all season. A perfect record and a pie in the face of each of the coaches were the final rewards.
“What an amazing team,” said Hutton. “As a coach I couldn’t have asked for better. A group of six determined athletes who improved each and every day from not being able to dribble a basketball all the way to becoming West Kootenay champions. The entire team can be summed up as very unselfish — as long as the team wins, they could care less which of their teammates scores.”
“We’re most proud of the fact that when our team faced adversity, they always supported each other. We focused on playing the right way, having fun and our team delivered,” said Verdon. “It is so great to see basketball picking up momentum again in the West Kootenay.”
The Salmo junior boys also had a successful season, qualifying for and competing at the provincial championships while playing more advanced teams from the 2A and 3A levels.
“What a season,” said Salmo Secondary principal Jon Francis. “A very well coached team that spread the ball around, ran their plays and worked together as a team. I can’t say I remember any teams going undefeated and I want to thank Ryan and Dale for their commitment to the school and to the girls.”
The Grade 7/8 Falcons are Naiomi Stavast, Arie Hutton, Kayla Cassar, Savanah Boyer, Kaja Poitras and Payton Speedie.
The team has already set their goal for next season: to qualify for the 2023 junior girls provincials when the girls will play at the Grade 9/10 level. And, if they win, there will be more pies at the ready.