The Dawson Creek Secondary School junior girls' basketball team is back on the court this season after starting practices this week at the DCSS South Peace Campus.
With the same core squad of six girls and the addition of a few familiar faces, the Grade 8 to 10 team is hoping to carry on from last season's progress and work on advancing their skills.
"Our expectations are to see the girls pick up where they left off last year," said Troy Erickson, who is coaching the junior girls with his wife, Jenny. "Our biggest thing is to work on our offensive skill and points, so really work on that end of our game and develop a little more of an offensive threat.
"Just working on the girls advancing their skills a little more from the basics and where we were at last year to a little bit more advanced and greater understanding of the game and offensive players," he added.
There are a few new Grade 8 and 10 players on the team this year, some who are new to junior basketball, but Erickson is hoping that last year's core group of players will expand as the newer players get worked into the team's system and get more experience.
Erickson says he and his wife's involvement with the team go back to their own personal experiences playing sports, as well as Erickson's connection to the Ark Christian Youth Centre where he works as the youth director.
"The biggest thing for my wife and I wanting to coach is the effect that sports have," he explained. "Girls get more confidence and a sense of identity. On the basketball team it gives them a sense of confidence and pride, and being part of a team also has an impact on their life.
"I grew up playing sports and I found it gave me a lot of confidence. I also run a Youth Centre and our focus is on sports and having sport act as a tool to give kids confidence, a sense of identity and working through sport to help them improve their lives."
The team's first competition of the season will be next Thursday and Friday when they travel to Fort St. John for a junior girls' basketball tournament.