Ken Dockendorf has coached basketball in Maple Ridge for more than 50 years. (The News files)

Ken Dockendorf has coached basketball in Maple Ridge for more than 50 years. (The News files)

Basketball coaches worry about hoops in Maple Ridge

Girls and boys coaches sorry for the Grade 12 students who miss out on final year

High school gymnasiums in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are much more silent than usual this January.

Gone is the squeak of sneakers and the rhythmic thwomps of rubber meeting the hardwood.

Calls of “And one!” and resounding, “Let’s Go’s,” are not heard while passing through the nearby halls.

Former Maple Ridge Secondary basketball coach Ken Dockendorf, who has been volunteering with the boy’s team until this season, is no longer standing under one of the school’s nets, tsk-tsking air-balls and giving pointers on shooting form.

“It’s pretty sad what’s happening,” he said. “Especially for the kids in Grade 12. This would be their fifth year playing and they always build towards having a great last year.

“But it’s not to be.”

READ MORE: Maple Ridge exchange student playing pro basketball in Germany

Like soccer, softball, ice hockey, and wrestling; basketball in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows has had to ride the pine as a pandemic precaution.

Programs across the province have been effectively shut down, as it is a sport that cannot be played while physically distancing.

Some clubs, and schools are still practising, but it is limited to dribbling, shooting, and some defensive manouvres.

Dockendorf, who has spent more than 50 years coaching the sport, and is sitting president of the BC High School Boys Basketball Association, misses being involved.

“I’m a volunteer, because I’m retired, and they don’t allow volunteers in,” he said. “I can’t even go into the gym.”

He does not dwell too much on his own issues, however, as he is more focused on the sport as a whole.

“A lot of the players have just quit,” he said. “They’re simply not playing anymore; and this is happening all over the province.

“I hear from a lot of the coaches, and they said because the teams can only practise at a Phase II level (no contact), a number of athletes have decided not to play the sport.”

He also worries about some of those coaches won’t stick with the sport once the pandemic is behind us.

“Some of them haven’t been coaching for at least a year, and they’re finding other things to do, so I wonder how many of them will even come back.”

Looking ahead to September, Dockendorf estimates it will be the most difficult start-up in school sports in B.C. history.

“I’ve worked through a number of lengthy strikes in my time but in a strike situation, you knew once the strike was over you were going back to the way things had been.”

Despite what happens next season, this year’s senior teams will take the brunt of the loss.

“We only lost one player from last year,” Dockendorf said of MRSS’s senior boy’s squad, “So we would have had one of our better teams in quite a while.”

The coach is holding out hope for a miracle.

“If everyone can get vaccinated quickly, maybe in late spring some sports can start up.”

Samuel Robertson Technical senior girl’s basketball head coach, Lesley McPherson, shares Dockendorf’s thoughts on the older high school hoopsters.

“The window to play high school athletics is so small, and to lose a full year in your Grade 12 year is pretty disheartening for some of them,” she said.

McPherson stipulated some of the more driven athletes have taken to working out with some of the clubs around the Lower Mainland.

“They’re still able to train, which is awesome, at least in terms of a kid’s mental health,” she said. “But even if they want to do that, they need the right club connections and opportunities.”

One of McPherson’s star players, Emi Nagai, who played point guard for the senior team last year, worked with a personal trainer during the summer months, and is currently driving out to Abbotsford to train with a team.

She is hoping to stay in peak condition to be eligible for a university or college scholarship, her coach explained.

“She’s been working hard,” McPherson said. “It’s tough. The onus is on the kids to promote themselves and touch base with these post-secondary programs.”

The loss of the season is particularly tough on the SRT senior boy’s team, which is coached by McPherson’s husband, Scott Tomlin.

“We would have had an amazing senior boy’s team this year,” McPherson said.

‘It’s probably the best group we’ve ever had at this school, so they are probably more upset about it than the girl’s,” she added. “The girls are more capable of finding the silver lining.”



ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

basketballmaple ridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

SRT Titan, Joel Blanco, raises above the rim at a shoot-around before the 2020 provincial championships. (The News files)

SRT Titan, Joel Blanco, raises above the rim at a shoot-around before the 2020 provincial championships. (The News files)

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Prep teacher Ola Cholewa shows local environmentalist Jack Emberly posters that students from the Fish Ladder Awareness Team made to promote a fish ladder along the Alouette River. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
New club in fight for fish ladder in Maple Ridge

The Environmental School club creating awareness about the need for a fish ladder on the Alouette

Keith Kartzewski captured a fogbow, when fog refracts light in the shape of a rainbow but without the bright colours. This was taken in Pitt Meadows Feb. 19, 2021. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Fogbow photographed in Pitt Meadows

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

The Pitt Meadows Art Gallery will be running a photography exhibition through February and March.
Pitt Meadows Art Gallery featuring photography

Pros and amateurs submitted their images on a variety of themes

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

Giants defenceman Bowen Byram has recorded his first NHL career point (Rob Wilton/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram records first NHL career point with Colorado Avalanche

Player with Langley-based WHL franchise assisted on goal against the Ducks

Most Read