Things didn't start out so well for the Rainy River Owls' junior and senior boys' basketball teams last week, although both squads sure ended on a good note.
The juniors opened their NorWOSSA 'A' regular season with a 55-40 loss to the host Atikokan Voyageurs on Wednesday.
The Owls (1-1) trailed just 25-18 at halftime but couldn't muster enough to make the comeback.
Walid Quran scored a team-high 21 points for the Owls while Mike Vogan chipped in 10.
But the squad rebounded the following day with a narrow 55-50 win over the Falcons in Ignace.
Vogan led the way with a 24-point performance in that one, with Tyson Maki adding 15 points.
“I was mostly impressed by the team's ability to play as a team,” said Owls' head coach Kevin Gemmell.
“They have a genuine passion for the game and a hunger to learn,” he noted.
“We have not had a lot of time to implement a set offence as of yet, and I thought we had some guys really step up and provide some timely offence to keep both games competitive,” Gemmell added.
“At one time, the game against Atikokan was a six-point game,” he recalled.
“I felt that our team defence let that game slip away and in our second game, it allowed Ignace to climb back into the game.”
The juniors will resume NorWOSSA action next week with a pair of home games, facing the Red Lake Rams on Tuesday (Dec. 11) before welcoming the Sioux Lookout Warriors the following day.
Gemmell noted his squad would be hoping to continue developing its defence and focus on providing a stop that will feed into a quick transition game.
“But the ultimate goal is to continue developing the foundations of basketball for the future years,” he remarked.
“I'm hoping to continue building on the strong program that has been in place,” Gemmell stressed.
“The boys and girls were fortunate to have many dedicated previous coaches as mentors and teachers of the game,” he lauded.
“I think there is a real pride and passion for court sports,” Gemmell added.
“I'm sure the years of support from parents and coaches have helped to cultivate this.”
As for the senior Owls (1-1), they also split their opening games last week.
They began with a loss to the host Voyageurs last Wednesday (the score wasn't known as of press time) before thumping the host Falcons 55-20.
Carter St. Pierre grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds in the win over Ignace.
The seniors also will resume NorWOSSA action next week versus the Rams and Warriors at RRHS.