Ottawa’s Canada Topflight Academy make their way to Rothesay, New Brunswick this weekend to take part in the first Prep game in the history of Atlantic Canada.
Rothesay Netherwood School will host CTA as part of their National Preparatory Association schedule, and will look to earn their first victory on the season on home turf.
Rothesay travelled to Ottawa last weekend to take part in a double header with Canada Topflight, where they lost both games by significant margins. CTA set the tone in the first meeting, topping Rothesay 101-50, but in the second matchup Rothesay was able to make it more of a game, losing 100-83.
“Call a spade a spade, it was a beat down, and that stung, and we need to prove ourselves this weekend,” said Damian Gay, Head Coach of Rothesay Netherwood.
“We didn’t play as well as we wanted to, we improved on the second game as compared to the first, but it was good in the way that the negative happened and practice is now much more focused this week. Guys are amping up the energy, and we needed that.”
Rothesay is led by senior prospects Andrew Milner and Will Spaulding, who recently committed to Calgary and Carleton respectively. The back court duo have been the cornerstone for the New Brunswick program, and will look to take over in the games against CTA this weekend.
The Rothesay program is a relatively young one in Atlantic Canada, only having been together under Gay for four seasons. In that time, the team has steadily developed and is poised to be drastically improved in the coming years.
“It’s a young program that has a lot of learning to do, and the one thing that I wanted this year is to gain perspective. I want my grade nine players to gain a full understanding and appreciation what hard work is, and how hard it is to play at that top level every single night.”
The basketball landscape in Atlantic Canada has been drastically changing over the past few years, and the Rothesay program and Gay have been at the forefront of these transitions.
The New Brunswick program is the first full-fledged Prep program in Atlantic Canada, with a program dedicated to helping these players make it to the post-secondary level, not only athletically but academically.
— RNS Basketball (@RNS_Hoops) February 9, 2017
The prep model is a relatively new concept in Canada, and even more so in the sparsely populated Atlantic Canada, which was why Gay was determined to create an option where East Coasters could face top competition and improve.
“We have zero easy games, we have to show up every night,” said Gay. “I think that’s one of the biggest things we struggle with, we need to come to the gym prepared to work every single day, and you can’t take days off. In leagues that we were in previously, you were able to take days off, because there might have been only one team who could compete with us, the 12 other league games you play are 50-60 point blowouts.”
In joining the NPA, Rothesay went from the team dominating their high school league to the team working towards their first win. That is the type of struggle that Gay wants his players to learn from, and to help them realize their full potential.
“Perspective is changing, the culture is getting stronger, and our expectations of what we need to do to be successful have been becoming more evident every single day.”