It has been a successful two weeks for the Laval High Cavaliers junior basketball program.
In the past two weeks, the Placentia school has qualified for the 2014 NL Winter Games in Clarenville March 1-9 in both male and female basketball.
On Jan. 11, the boys turned the trick and a week later the girls did the same thing.
“The qualifier was a first class event,” said male coach Mark Nash.
The male tournament was held at Dunne Memorial Academy in St. Bride’s, and featured teams from the school, Laval and St. Catherine’s Academy.
The Cavaliers met the host team in the tournament opener. The game was an overtime thriller with Laval pulling out the hard fought 59-54 victory.
Meeting St. Catherine’s next, Laval thumped the team 50-30 to book its ticket to the finals.
In the rematch with Dunne, the Cavalier outclassed their opponent defeating them by a score of 58-43 to become the Avalon representatives in basketball.
As show by the scores, Nash felt his team got stronger as the tournament progress.
“Although we are a very young, inexperienced team, the boys show improvement throughout the entire qualifier,” he said.
The coach said prior to the tournament his team had little time to practice as the players had other commitments both in school and the community.
However, in a testament to their skill level, the boys pulled off the qualifier victory.
With the Games a little over a month a way, Nash and his team will be working in a lot more gym time in preparation.
“Since the qualifier, the boys have been in the gym a couple of times per week working very hard to prepare,” said Nash. “The team understands what we will be facing during the Games, and they will be ready for the challenge.”
The Cavalier will be in tough at the Games.
The entries from St. John’s and Mount Pearl have traditionally been strong in basketball, while the west coast of the province is known as a stronghold for the sport.
“Although there have been more practice sessions with an increased workload, we will face tough competition in the Games,” said Nash.
Even knowing basketball in these centres is going to be strong, there are still unknowns heading into the tournament.
“There are many … as teams from the western and eastern regions of the Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association clash for the first time,” said Nash.
Since the Cavaliers won the right to represent the Avalon region, excitement has been building amongst the players.
Some have been on this stage before having participate in softball for the 2012 Summer Games in Harbour Grace and Carbonear.
“Those games were first class, and the boys are looking forward to the same sort of experience in Clarenville,” said Nash.