In 2011 the Pretenders branched out into basketball, launching their P-hoops team.
The brainchild of baseball stalwarts Glenn Wells and Kelly Kuhlmeyer, the team was originally conceived as a fun way to stay in shape during the winter months. As practices commenced, however, that famous Pretender competitive drive kicked in – and the American-dominated squad began to work hard to build up its untested but spirited team.
For the 2011-12 season, the first P-hoops team featured not only converted baseball players but also some purebred basketball talent such as Sigbjørn Skagestad (205 cm or 6’8+”). Raw and inexperienced, Siggy found his sport (his calling, say teammates) and has become the center of the P-hoops team in more ways than one. The Askim native developed into a relentless rebounder, tough defender and athletic scoring threat in NBBF Region Øst, Division 6. Season 1 regulars also included Darren, Mike, Matt, Rich, Leif Petter, Kasey, Lage and Erik J. With its home court at Vulkan, this squad was overmatched in experience but not in heart – the Pretenders fought valiantly throughout the season, losing their first 10 contests but earning a reputation as a scrappy club by never allowing opponents an easy game. With more battle experience came skills and confidence, and the team finished strong and upbeat for a 3-13 record for 7th place in a field of eight.
Second P-season (2012-2013)
Several core players reenlisted for the 2012-13 season and the Pretenders also added a host of transplanted international talent, including Canadian Jeremy, Andy the Briton, Recep the Norwegian Turk, Siggy’s & Lage’s childhood pals (Tommy, Ståle, Espen) and Swiss Adrian as well as Norwegian-Briton Joachim and Americans Jim S and Dave. Practice & game venue switched mid-season to Hangar’n.
The P-hoops squad began to realize that it had some real talent and could be very competitive in its second season. Indeed, the promising Pretenders bolted to the top ranks of the division after winning 4 of their first 5 match-ups of the season and appeared poised to be major contenders. But the loss of ultra-athletic Tommy (knee) and Espen (ankle) and defensive gadflies Ståle (illness) and Recep (shoulder) hurt the club’s chances badly. And without a coach to organize the team’s remaining talent into a cohesive offence and structured defense, the P-hoopsters were defeated by the division’s powerhouse clubs with far more experience.
Nevertheless, the P-hoopsters earned a winning record (10-8) in just their second season – knocking off the 1st and 4th-place teams in the process – to secure 6th place in a tough 10-team division. The goal for next season is to bring in an experienced coach to shape the team’s raw ability into a unified force on the court.
Stay tuned for Season 5, beginning in October …