When you’re a kid the worst thing about winning a game by forfeit is losing the opportunity to compete and play.
West Island Lakers coach Karim Ladicani recognized that when his bantam boys basketball team’s opponent failed to show up for their scheduled game at John Rennie High School in Pointe Claire on Sunday.
So he divided the 10 Lakers players into two teams, and it was game on for a full-court scrimmage, complete with scorekeeper, timekeeper, scoreboard, coach Karim refereeing, and appreciative West Island parents cheering the boys on.
“I think that’s why he’s a good coach because a lot of people would have just sent them home,” said Leith Somerville, a Kirkland resident whose son Jackson led the blue team with 20 points in the scrimmage.
“It was pretty fun,” Jackson Somerville said. “I know everybody I’m playing against and I know what they like and don’t like. And I like the team a lot.”
The blue team came up short in the end as the white team claimed a 43-37 win.
“The team’s were fair and it was fun,” said David Emerson Mayas Dottin, who scored eight points for the blue team.
The white team spread its offense throughout its five players, with two players contributing 10 points each and no one with less than six.
Jimmy Zhou had eight points, and his parents, Kirkland residents Mei Ham and Ying Zhou, appreciated the fact he got to play rather than practice or just go home.
“Sometimes in practices they’re not thinking about competition,” Ying Zhou said. “But if they have this kind of game feeling that’s very important. It’s just a pity that the other team didn’t show up. The important thing is for the kids to compete.”
Coach Ladicani clearly agreed.
“I think it was a good experience for them,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t have time during practice to do a scrimmage this long. It was really a game and they played the whole time. And more than that they managed their team play alone. So they had to adapt, and if they were down by six points they had to change their strategy, maybe take a timeout. I think it helps with team spirit and competition and that’s where we want to go. The coach is one part but I think the main part is the players.”