© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Caleb Hayes runs a drill with other Vikings during practice Tuesday afternoon at Amherst Regional High School. The team is practicing this week in preparation for next week’s Christmas Classic at ARHS.
AMHERST – With only three seniors on the team the Amherst Regional High School Vikings are a work in progress, but their coach, Matt Gamblin, said they’re doing fine.
“We’ve been in the championship game the last two tournaments we played in, so the team really kicked in during the last couple of weeks,” he said.
“With a young team you have to realize it’s going to take some time but things are starting to come together,” Gamblin added. “They have shown a lot of improvement lately in their defence and they’re starting to get better at their decision making.”
Does Gamblin think the Vikings have what it takes to win a provincial championship this season?
“I think we’re going to be a dark horse,” Gamblin said. “But we’ve made great strides and will continue to do so.”
Gamblin took over head-coaching duties from Reg Caulfield and said he loves coaching the Vikings.
“I’ve always been a gym rat so I love being in the gym,” Gamblin said.
Caulfield coached Gamblin in basketball since he was a kid.
“I played basketball in Parrsboro but my sister and brother played here when I went to university,” Gamblin said.
Gamblin played university basketball at Mount Saint Vincent University and at Kings, and also played on a lot of Nova Scotia teams while growing up.
He coached a Cumberland County midget basketball team last year and, along with Thomas Skabar, was Caulfield’s assistant coach last year.
Skabar is Gamblins assistant this year.
“We have a really good group of kids and parents here at ARHS,” Gamblin said. “As a young coach it’s really helpful to have that support.”
The Vikings host the eight-team Christmas Classic from Dec. 29 to 30.