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Pictou County Basketball Club has successful first season

Pictou County Lightning coach Andy MacKay, right, runs a drill during a practice session this season. MacKay helped the bantam and mini girls teams win medals at Basketball Nova Scotia provincials.

Three teams medalling at the provincial level in the opening season of a club is enough of a reason to say the year was a success, but there is much more to it.

Recently finishing their first season as an official Basketball Nova Scotia organization, the Pictou County Basketball Club’s growth and filling a void in the community is the true success story, although the medals are a welcomed bonus.

For a few years prior to registering with BNS in September 2013 they ran a few teams informally, but when they introduced the official club that number jumped to seven. The reason for introducing a new basketball club here in Pictou County was because outside of junior or high school teams there were no teams for kids to play on.

“There were multiple parents, myself included that were having to drive to Antigonish for our kids to play basketball,” said Vivek Sood, president of the club. “That’s when we first became aware of the interest in running a full-year program. The school programs were well set up here, so our intent was to support those school programs and help enhance them.”

Sood said the question facing those involved in the creation of the club was ‘why can’t we do this here?’

“The ultimate goal was to give access to kids,” he said. “If they didn’t make school teams where could they play? The school season is also so short, so when can you focus on all the fundamentals? We looked at all of this and how we could create a solid base to help get competitive teams at the high school level.

“A lot of good work had been done in the past, so we tried to take from what they did as well as mimic other clubs in the province that are doing a good job.”

With past clubs coming and going, he said their first priority was building a board that would help the club last. He said they approached business people, coaches and people involved in previous clubs.

Their next priority was developing skill sessions and making it possible for any kid that wanted to come to be able to do so with a minimal cost. Sood added that without community partnerships with the YMCA, NSCC and North Nova they wouldn’t have been able to get the gym time they did at such a low cost.

The initial sessions they held were for kids from grade 3 to 8, doing two grades at a time.

After the sessions they had enough interest for two mini girls teams, four bantam teams (two girls and two boys) and a juvenile girls team.

“It almost tripled what we thought we’d have,” said Sood. “We thought we’d run a juvenile group in the spring, bantam girls and enough for a boys bantam team. We ended up with those three, plus four more.”

Looking towards next year he said the club will continue on a similar path, although they will start earlier. He said the hope is to add more teams if possible and to give the kids an opportunity to play in September so they aren’t “cold” going into their school seasons in November.

For more information on the club visit www.pclightning.ca/. 

Organizations: Pictou County Basketball Club, Basketball Nova Scotia organization, BNS YMCA

Geographic location: Pictou County, Antigonish, North Nova

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