The Cache Creek Cats at their first practice, with head coach Max Beckett at centre, back row. The players are (from l) Adrian Vermette, Carson Moses, Nathan Husa, Owen Dunbar, Gary Gross, Louis Minnabarriet, Darrian Moody, Ken Muit. (Photo credit: Submitted)

The Cache Creek Cats at their first practice, with head coach Max Beckett at centre, back row. The players are (from l) Adrian Vermette, Carson Moses, Nathan Husa, Owen Dunbar, Gary Gross, Louis Minnabarriet, Darrian Moody, Ken Muit. (Photo credit: Submitted)

New Cache Creek Cats basketball team looking to make a mark

Club team for boys aged 13 to 18 is already practising in preparation for upcoming season

The Cache Creek Cats are the newest sports team in the area: a club basketball team for boys aged 13 to 18 which already has 14 members from Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Lytton, Walhachin, and area First Nations.

Head coach Max Beckett says the team has started practising in advance of club play that starts in May. “We’re looking forward to some good basketball.”

A non-profit society of volunteers has been formed, and will be doing fundraising for the new club. “We’re starting from scratch, and all the money goes back into the team. We need balls and score clocks and uniforms, and there are tournament and travel fees as well.” The team has already booked its spot at a tournament at TRU in Kamloops in May.

Beckett has been playing basketball for close to 50 years, and has a deep love for the sport. It led to many years of coaching basketball at Ashcroft Secondary/Desert Sands Community School during his time there as a teacher, and he continued coaching even after he retired two years ago.

After losing a normal basketball season to COVID during the 2020–2021 school year, and seeing the school district put an end to inter-school extra-curricular activities — including basketball league games — earlier this year, Beckett says he wanted to provide “a good basketball experience for these kids who’ve lost so much. Seeing the expression on the kids’ faces when the season ended, I felt I had to do something.”

The result was the Cache Creek Cats team, which has joined Basketball BC, a community basketball program with clubs across the province. While provincial basketball has just ended, Beckett explains that club play is a spring thing, so the two can operate in tandem with many of the same players but a “cooling off” period between them.

There is little sign of cooling off with the Cats, however. Practices have already started, and for now are taking place at the Cache Creek Community Hall. However, Beckett notes that gym time is a concern, with other events going on at the hall.

“I’m hoping that COVID regulations at school ease up after spring break, so we can have one practice a week at the hall and one at Desert Sands School. Transportation is an issue, and that would be easier for the kids, as half of them are on that side of the area.”

He adds that the team had a good two-hour practice with scrimmages on March 17. He is hoping to draw on his basketball connections and get some informal scrimmages with Kamloops coaches.

“We definitely have our hands full, being that we’re from a small population. Many of these clubs take it very seriously, with provincial-team-level players from a lot of big schools on the coast and in the Okanagan, and the Kamloops teams I know are very good. We’re trying to get all the business stuff taken care of, but we’re close to scheduling.”

The society is looking to do a fundraising dinner and auction, get sponsorship from local businesses, and sell some T-shirts.

“People really love their basketball,” says Beckett. “It keeps you young, and when you work with kids it keeps you younger. I enjoy working with kids, especially with basketball.

“We’d like to keep this club going and develop the players. Sports give kids something to be passionate about.”

For more information about the Cache Creek Cats, email cachecreekbasketball@gmail.com, call Beckett at (250) 457-3168, or call general manager Austin Ingram at (778) 586-7382.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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