Venture Heights organizes inaugural basketball palooza

Members of the Martensville High and Valley Manor junior basketball teams both vie for possession of the ball during the inaugural basketball palooza at the MAP on November 28

Junior basketball teams gained valuable court time at the inaugural Basketball Palooza hosted by Venture Heights Elementary School at the Martensville Athletic Pavilion (MAP) November 28 and 30.
Venture Heights has organized a volleyball palooza at the MAP in recent years and the school’s principal Ron Biberdorf thought it would be a good idea to start a basketball palooza.
“We just had so much success and positive feedback from our volleyball palooza’s that we decided to try basketball,” Biberdorf said.
Grade 8 and Grade 8/9 boys teams from Venture Heights, Osler, Martensville High, Valley Manor, Hepburn and Perdue competed on the 28th, while Grade 7 boys teams from Venture Heights, Osler, Hepburn, Aberdeen Waldheim and Vanscoy competed on the 30th.
During the palooza, each team played numerous matches, giving players a taste of the game without feeling pressured. Coaches also got a chance to evaluate players and see what they need to work on, so their teams can perform better going forward.
“They get to play four games in one trip and it gives kids a chance just to play and learn the game a little bit,” Biberdorf said. “It gives coaches the chance to put in their offence or defence strategies without worrying to much about winning or losing, and it gives all the kids a chance to play.”
Each game was 24 minutes running time and even though the scores were not visible during the game, Biberdorf said the coaches were probably keeping track of who won the games their teams played in.
“I’m pretty sure all of the coaches were actually keeping score on the bench, but there’s no visible score and so it makes the pressure on the young athletes and on the young officials much less.”
The event was also a great way for referees to gain some experience officiating a game as well.
“This is an opportunity for our rookie referees to come in to a low-stress environment,” Biberdorf said. “We pair the rookie referees with experienced referees, and they have a chance to get four games in while learning how to officiate.”
Even though the teams have learned specific skills and systems in practice, applying those skills in a game format before they play more competitive matches is great for their development.
“Teams have been practicing, and now they just want to play. So this gives them the chance to play a ton of games in one evening,” Biberdorf said.
Having access to the MAP’s two courts allows Venture Heights to host a big event like this.
A lot of the teams benefited from the extra playing time and Biberdorf wants to see the basketball palooza continue like the volleyball paloozas.
“We would like to start every season like this because it’s better than glorified practices. It’s actual games and the kids are pumped up to play,” Biberdorf said.
The palooza will continue on December 12 and 14 when junior girls basketball teams will be in action. It will be the same format as the boys’ event, with six Grade 7 teams competing one day and six Grade 8, Grade 8/9 teams playing games the other day.