The strength of great teams often come from depth – players who are coming off the bench when starters go down injured or suspended.
But the most valuable resource for second-stringers is real, hard court time and that can be hard to come by.
The Charles Hays Rainmakers’ depth players got their opportunity to shine last weekend in a game against the George M Dawson (Masset) Thunder, led by first-year coach and ex-NCAA and Trinity Western University guard Cal Westbrook.
Guys like Aiden Bull and Nick Campbell thrived on Saturday against a young but growing Masset team, and Bull’s Rainmakers defeated the Thunder 71-26.
“We had a pretty good defence at the beginning,” said Bull, whose team led 19-4 after the first quarter and never looked back.
“The starters don’t mind [the playing time]. It works out for us.”
Bull finished with 12 points but it was his work at the glass that got him, and Campbell noticed by their coach, Mel Bishop.
“I thought Aiden Bull rebounded very well on the offensive boards and we were pretty active,” said Bishop.
“He’s a valuable guy.”
The Thunder got off to a 2-1 lead but fell behind quickly once the starting five of Cole Marogna, Campbell, Bull, Jakob Henry and Brett Thompson found their groove.
Mitchell Nelson also hit the court and drove the inside often to capture the Rainmakers’ 18th and 19th point to put an exclamation point on Charles Hays’ dominant play in the first quarter versus Masset.
Masset’s Keenan fouled out in the second quarter which hurt the squad, but Tristan helped pick up the slack offensively with 12 points to finish the game, including sinking consecutive mid-range jumpers to end the second quarter.
“We played well defensively. [The players] were pretty good. They shared the ball pretty unselfishly,” said Bishop.
“It’s good for these younger kids to get court time. I carry 15 guys and it’s hard to get 15 people in the game. I thought it was very good for us.”
Despite three straight baskets for Masset to end the half, the ‘Makers led 35-11 and Carter Thorson and Nelson led the way in the fourth quarter to cap off the win, garnering five and four points respectively in the frame.
The Thunder, who played a lot of young guys in the game, will only have their program helped by Westbrook, who was vocal and encouraging when the team was down by a sizable margin.
“Cal was a very good collegiate player … he played Division 2 in the states and came back and played at Trinity Western. He’s very good – he’ll develop their program if he stays for a length of time and [his players are young. They’ll get better,” said Bishop.
Nelson finished the game with 12 points and Thorson had nine. Masset’s Brodie sunk four points of his own.
The Rainmakers faced off against Caledonia as well on Friday night, winning 86-64 and they toppled Smithers Secondary to close out the play day Saturday afternoon, 71-55.
The senior girls Rainmakers were also in action in Hazelton and won against Mount Elizabeth Secondary School 64-43 and topped Hazelton 74-36. They’ll play at Bulkley-Valley Christian School on Feb. 7.
The next action for the senior boys came in the way of competition versus Jesse Barnes and Queen Charlotte on Monday for two games and they faced Masset again once.