The Raymond High Comets are used to being the little guys on the block.
Year after year, the school of about 250 students produces teams in multiple sports that compete at the highest level, with the biggest and best schools in the province.
Senior boy’s basketball coach Brett Ralph believes it’s a testament to the community.
“They kind of rally around any sport that the kids are participating in,” he said.
“Whether it’s rugby in the spring or football in the fall — now we’re in basketball season — it’s a community effort.”
The banners lining the Comets gym are proof enough of how successful they have been throughout their history.
For the senior boy’s basketball team, the provincial title-winning dynasty dried up with its last championship in 2011.
But hopes are sky-high for the 2020 squad, who have gone 12-0 in league play so far, en route to the number one ranking in the province.
It’s a ranking that the players don’t put much weight behind.
“It doesn’t mean much right now,” said Jeter Heggie, one of the seniors on the team. “I meanm come March 21, when the provincial final is, that’s our goal. So we’ve just got to keep moving forward.”
“That’s the dream right now,” agreed fellow senior Brady Baines. “We’ve been trying to do this ever since we were little watching the older teams win provincials.
“It’s what we want to do… follow in their footsteps.”
The boys believe the chemistry the Raymond group has is what sets them apart from the big city schools.
“We’ve known each other since we were 10 years old and we’ve been playing ball with each other the whole time,” said Heggie.
The Comets have taken some creative measures to encourage a team atmosphere.
“On game days whenever we’re travelling, we all put our phones away,” said Baines.
“So we’re all just always together, we’re already locked in, and we just try to focus on playing basketball and enjoying the experience together.”
Ralph said only time will tell if a cellphone policy can make a difference in the playoffs, but it’s part of an overall culture that he’s proud to coach.
“It’s one of those things that proved to me as a coach that these kids are kind of willing to do the small things, to hopefully accomplish big things,” said Ralph.
With the target on the Comets’ backs ever-growing ahead of the post-season, the team isn’t letting it get in their heads.
“When you keep winning, the target gets bigger and bigger and that’s what we want,” said Baines.
“We want to keep being the team that people want to beat, and we want to keep beating them.”
The Comets will close the regular season with a pair of games in Lethbridge this weekend, before aiming for a zone championship beginning next week.