Steinbach Sabres basketball season tips off


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While other sports enter the stretch run of a long regular season, the high school basketball schedule in Manitoba is a sprint to the finish.

The Steinbach Regional Secondary School (SRSS) Sabres tipped off their season in the first tier of the South Central Athletic Conference (SCAC) on Jan. 9, and will finish Feb. 22.

Even with the short runway to get prepared for any post-season, the Sabres boys varsity team has kept busy, playing in three tournaments before their league schedule began, and have scheduled two more for late-January/early-February.

Head coach Jeff Dykerman said while the Sabres haven’t gotten off to a great start, he was happy to see his team get back into the win column against the J.H. Bruns Broncos with a 63-48 win Jan. 18 in Steinbach.

“We’ve been pretty up and down,” Dykerman said.

“Some inconsistency, some games that we should have been close in, and we were not. I’d say tonight the first night we’ve came together as a team.”

Steinbach’s coaches were happy with the communication and connections on offense, with Dykerman noting that his usual quiet bench came alive against the Broncos.

Especially impressive in the win was the Sabres passing, with guards quick to find bigs underneath the basket after drives, or utilizing a nice two-man game on the wing to set-up easy buckets.

“A big thing for us the past couple weeks has been trust,” Dykerman said.

“Bruns came out with a 1-3-1 zone, and against that 1-3-1, short corner passes are always wide open. That was something we talked about at half-time, and we took advantage of it a lot in the second half.”

Ben Gigolyk provided much of the offense for the Sabres in the victory, knocking down six three-pointers on 11 attempts, finishing with 21 points. The Sabres also battled hard on the boards, with many of the team’s smaller guards picking up key rebounds throughout the second half.

“(Gigolyk) said in the huddle, we don’t look the most intimidating, but if we have the most heart that doesn’t matter,” Dykerman said.

“Some of those small guys, they surprise you (with their jumping ability).”

Steinbach’s season got off to a tough start at the J.H. Burns Bronco Invitational Dec. 9/10, with the Sabres going 1-2. The team also participated in the Brandon Sun Spartan Invitational (BSSI) Dec. 15-17. The BSSI is one of the largest basketball tournaments in the province, featuring teams from Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

At the Miles Macdonnel Buckeye classic Jan. 5-7, Steinbach was quickly bounced after losing three consecutive games to Fort Richmond, Transcona and Tec Voc.

The Sabres will also be playing at the Garden Valley Varsity Boys Basketball Tournament Jan. 20/21 and the Royals Varsity Boys Invitational Feb. 3/4.

The first tier of SCAC basketball has nine teams this season, meaning Steinbach will only get a chance to see each team once this season before the playoffs.

“Our expectations are zone finals,” Dykerman said.

“Those have been the expectations since before the season. We were there last year, we were there a few years ago, so our program seems to be rolling in that direction and I want to keep it there.”

Later that night, the Sabres girls varsity basketball team held off the St. Norbert Celtics 42-38 to improve their record to 2-1 in SCAC Tier 2 play (They now sit at 2-2). Both the boys and girls varsity squads will be in action at SRSS Jan 25.

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