Slow start doesn’t worry Saints

With three wins and three losses kicking off the season, the Eastern Commerce Saints senior boys’ basketball team is going through an unusually slow start.
Head coach Kevin Jeffers said that with the constantly changing rosters in high school basketball – players graduating or transferring schools – his team is currently experiencing a period of self-discovery.
“They haven’t found their identity yet,” he said. “Once they get comfortable in their roles, we’ll be fine.”
Jeffers knows he has work to do, but remains calm through the early adversity, acknowledging that his team plays nearly 40 games this season.
“We’ve got to get these guys tough, but they’ll figure it out,” he said. “It’s still very early in the season – we’ve got time.”
Two key players the Saints lost during the off-season were guard Jake Hill, now at a prep school in Indiana, and centre Cameron Robertson, now playing for the Humber Hawks of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA).
Jeffers said he’s looking for a veteran member of his club to take hold of the team as the go-to player on the court.
“I’m waiting for that guy… that will come forward and take a leadership role on this team,” he said. “We have some new guys and we need a leader.”
One player looking to fill that role is returning guard Denzel Brooks. He feels that after three years on the team, it’s time to step up his game
“I have to lead by example and really be vocal,” he said. “I need to get back in shape immediately so I can bring my best to the court every game. I’m not playing as well as I played last year and I should be playing at a higher level.”
Brooks said the team is having difficulty settling into its jobs on the court, but if they can come together, a sixth provincial championship in eight years is within reach.
“We have to keep running through the plays and pick the best one for the team. Everyone has to know their role and play their role,” he said. “That’s what is going to get us over this slump and help us to win another OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) championship.”
In last year’s provincial tournament, the Saints were eliminated in the semi-finals after losing by just one point.
Brooks said the loss, combined with the naysayers, is fuel to work hard and aim high.
“People say we started to fall off a couple of years ago when I first made the team,” he said. “I don’t believe that. We have to pick it up and prove everybody wrong.”