Co-coach Jim Nugent felt that Cowichan Secondary School’s senior girls basketball team gave up too much ground on Tuesday night in a 46-26 loss at home against a physical Carihi Tyees squad.
"As I said to the girls, the only thing I was disappointed about in that game was that Campbell River pushed them around on their own floor," Nugent said.
Cowichan looked good in the early going, jumping out to an 8-4 lead in the first quarter. Carihi switched things up at both ends of the floor in the second quarter, and Cowichan didn’t have an answer. By halftime, it was 20-15 for the Tyees.
"They changed their defence, and our girls would not adjust," Nugent said. "They just went into panic mode."
Nugent understands that he and fellow coaches Michele Keserich and Danielle Nugent have a young squad on their hands, and there will be mistakes as the team adjusts to a higher level of play.
"They have to learn what senior girls ball is all about," he said. "We have some kids that may have to learn the hard way by sitting on the bench."
Because the team is young, the coaches have a long-term plan that Nugent believes the players have bought into.
"We have to work hard to do the best we can for the seniors on the team, but it’s a two-year program," he said. "That’s a big commitment on their part."
Eight different players scored at least one point for the T-Birds on Tuesday night, led by six from Crystal Brandt and five from Grade 9 point guard Ashton Aumen.
The game was Cowichan’s second league game following a 77-27 loss to powerhouse Dover Bay before Christmas. While the score on Tuesday night was closer, Nugent wasn’t any happier.
"It was a worse result," he said. "Because Dover is a far better team than Carihi."
One particular highlight for Nugent on Tuesday was the play of Sonja Manhas. Manhas scored just two points, but made a difference with her determination.
"She goes in there flying against their big players," said the coach. "They knock her down and she just gets back up."
The T-Birds will try to bounce back from Tuesday’s loss on Thursday when they head to Courtenay to face G.P. Vanier.
They’ll be back at home next Tuesday against Alberni at 5 p.m., in the first game of a double-header with the senior boys playing at 7 p.m.