Marauder boys hoping for third consecutive season with HOOPLA berth

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. The St. Mary Marauder boys basketball team is hoping to return to HOOPLA once again.

The St. Mary Marauder boys basketball team kicked off their 2023-24 campaign last weekend, playing in Carlton’s home tournament.

The Marauders finished fourth place in the tournament, falling 104-85 to North Battleford in the bronze medal game.

Despite not finishing with a medal, head coach David Seto says there was plenty to be excited about for the Marauders.

“I was happy. We have seven new faces on our team. It’s going to be expected that we have some things to learn and to work on, but we do have six returning players coming. Offensively, I thought we scored very well. We do have some things to work on defensively. For a relatively younger team, or at least seven new faces, overall, I was happy with the progress.”

St. Mary showed a strong ability to put points on the board over their first weekend of play. Seto says he expects the Marauders to have no issues scoring, but need to find a defensive identity.

“Offense, it’s probably our strength. We have some guys that can shoot it and go one-on-one. At least after the first weekend, we scored 80 some points, two out of the three games. We’re clicking a little bit. But we are lacking some size and some defensive intensity. This week of practice, we’re certainly looking at turning our attention to defence.”

The Marauder boys qualified for HOOPLA 2023 in Prince Albert as the number seven seed but did not win a game falling to both Saskatoon Walter Murray and Saskatoon St. Joseph.

Seto says St. Mary will look to make it three years in a row qualifying for the tournament.

“The last two years we’ve made it to Hoopla, so I think that helps, because obviously the tradition to reach that goal is there. The first thing is the attitude to compete. We always think about our fundamentals, and especially on defense, especially if we’re lacking a little size, our fundamentals are going to have to be important.”

All four high school teams from Prince Albert qualified for HOOPLA 2023 in Prince Albert. Seto says the sport of basketball has taken off in the city and the Marauders are looking forward to the upcoming season.

“We’re excited. I think basketball is really growing, especially in PA. I think both high school teams are going to be in the mix. It’s nice to see that. But really excited for the progress that this program has taken.”

Braden Akers is one of the six returning players from last year’s team. He says the Marauders possess incredible team chemistry after only playing a single tournament to this point.

“It’s definitely looked a lot different from past years, but we have a lot of potential this year. We have the potential to be the best we’ve ever been. It’s already a family and we’re already so comfortable with each other.”

Akers says he is hopeful that the Marauders are able to make it to HOOPLA in his senior season, but they will need to find a defensive structure that works.

“We need to make sure that we find a consistent defence. We have so much skill and so much potential, but we just need to make sure that we’re locked in and still able to compete with a lot of the other teams that have more athleticism than us. if we do that, then I don’t think we’ll have any problem making Hoopla.”