SHERBROOKE, QC–In the 15U national tournament there are three teams who take the cake in terms of; athleticism, power and speed, those teams are Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. Although we did see a lot of the above mentioned today in preliminary games, this is not the focus of this story. It is geared more towards the development of the programs in the Maritime provinces.
One of the most intense games of the evening featured Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island. There was high energy in the gym from the supporters of both teams and the back and forth pace of the game. While Newfoundland trailed for a majority of the second half, they willed their way to a victory, battling back from a 10 point deficit with minutes to play. In the final seconds Brandon Bambrick nailed a three to put NL up one , giving them the 61-60 win.
The reason we believe that there is evident growth of the sport in these provinces is because of the style of play and mentality of the athletes when the game is on. These teams come in to games as underdogs almost every time, yet they never back down or show signs of fearing their opponent.
Asides from having the appropriate mentality for competition, the coaches have ingrained a very team oriented approach in their offense. On almost every possession, unless it was a fast break in transition, every player on the floor touched the ball and the shot clock is used to its final seconds or at the best scoring chance. PEI’s ball movement in their morning win over Alberta was entirely in sync with Coach Jason MacDonald’s offensive expectations.
“I think the boys did a great job controlling the pace of the game. We don’t want to play any hero ball and play one on five. If we can get the ball up the floor under pressure we’ll be ok by just moving it around and get everyone touches for the best shot”.
The proper stepping stones have been planted for these two teams; giving them guidance to be able to react in any basketball situation.
Newfoundland and PEI finished eighth and 10 respectively in 2011, however there is a good opportunity this year to move up. The NPH team wishes them nothing but the best in their continued goals for growth.