Alex Warburton and Tia Coulter, representing Manitoba at the All-Canada-Classic June 21st
Winnipeg, MB–Basketball in Manitoba might not be the most advanced program in the country due to its lack of population, but this year there will be two girls representing the province of Manitoba at the All-Canada Classic.
Alex Warburton of Sanford High School and Tia Coulter of Crocus Plains High School will be representing for the West team as they battle at the ACC against Canada’s best at the Classic.
Both players are highly respected on the Canadian basketball scene but Alex was especially surprised to make it on the roster. “When I first found out I was selected to be a part of the 2011 roster, I was shocked! Being provincially recognized as the AAA Female Player of the Year was an honour in itself, but being nationally recognized brings the joy I feel to a whole new level.”
Alex and Tia both feel that basketball in Manitoba has not been the strongest in Canada but is taking strides in the right direction to competing with the likes of Ontario, BC and Quebec.
Tia believes that hard work is what is closing the gap between the provinces. “Although Manitoba has a much smaller basketball community than Ontario, BC and Quebec, we know that they are leading the way in terms of general ability and competition so it makes us want to beat them, and be competitive with them. Manitoban’s are willing to work very hard to achieve the national goals that our province is striving to reach in the game of basketball.”
Alex feels that Basketball Manitoba is on the right track. “It’s no secret that basketball in this province has been struggling on the national scale for quite a while now, but I feel as though female basketball in this province is following an upward trend. Manitoba is becoming more confident as a province (basketball-wise), so I definitely think that Manitoba can complete with the larger provinces!”
The executive director for basketball Manitoba Adam Wedlake feels that this is a great opportunity for Manitoba and for the girls. “Any opportunity that a Manitoba athlete can receive on a national stage is always a positive! Both Tia and Alex are great selections to the game. They have been great ambassadors with our provincial team program for the last four years and their selection only helps us show a pathway for future athletes in getting to the next level.
The All-Canada Classic is a great way to develop basketball in Canada and especially among girls in the country.
Tia feels that “Games like the All-Canada-Classic are really great for the development of basketball for Canadian girls. It’s just a huge honour to be named to the team so you want to try and develop as much as you can to be blessed with opportunities like this. I’m looking forward to meeting the top players in Canada and just enjoying the All-Canada-Classic.”
Alex is hoping that this game will become a nationally watched showcase. “I think that games like this are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If girls know about this game, I’m sure that many of them are inspired to be asked to play in it one day. The very idea of being a part of such a prestigious game will help girls develop into national-calibre players.”
After the All-Canada-Classic both Tia and Alex have both committed to play basketball at the University of Winnipeg in the fall.