Junior basketball teams battle hard at home tournament

The boys’ and girls’ junior basketball teams were host this past weekend to teams from all over Alberta at its annual basketball tournament.

Casey Wright (13) of the William E. Hay Composite High School junior varsity boys basketball team takes a shot during a tournament game against the Queen Elizabeth Knights from north Edmonton on Saturday

The boys’ and girls’ junior basketball teams were host this past weekend to teams from all over Alberta at its annual basketball tournament.

There, the boys’ team made it to the consolation final, while the girls’ team battled it with basketball-crazy Chestermere, coming in second.

According to boys’ coach Steven Shillito, the boys’ teams trouble with fouls set them back at the very start, though they worked valiantly to recover from the slow start.

“We did pretty well as a team,” he said. “I’ve heard they (Queen Elizabeth High School from Calgary) are an AAA team, and we only lost by 30 points, which is really close.”

He said that the tournament gave a chance for the junior ball players to work on several teamwork skills as individual skills, since many of the players are playing together for the first time this year.

On the girls’ side, the Stettler team battled it through the round-robin, first against the Stettler senior girls’ team, who was playing in lieu of a team that withdrew at the last minute.

“This way every team got their three games,” explained girls’ coach Kim Poapst.

While the junior team lost to the senior, it was the last time the girls lost as they went on to push through the round-robin, going up against Chestermere in the finals for the gold spot.

“It’s a very small town,” Poapst said. “They have a basketball tradition. These girls grow up watching basketball and wanting to play at the college level.”

She said that while physically the makeup of the team was very similar to Stettler’s own, in way of ages, the experience level was far different.

“We have one girl who played in the Alberta Summer games,” she said. “They have five. They have nine girls who play club ball.”

The extra practice and experience gave Chestermere the edge, and while Stettler initially held its own, the team began to give ground midway through the game to eventually lose to the basketball-crazy team from Chestermere.

“We have an awesome team,” Poapst said. “Some of our girls aspire to club ball and college ball. Some have never played before. So we’re learning.”


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