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Fort McMurray basketball gamers pleased with their efficiency after silver medal victory

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The Fort McMurray basketball gamers that introduced dwelling silver on the Arctic Winter Video games hope their victories will assist make basketball extra standard in the neighborhood. It was the biggest dwelling crowd that they had seen at a neighborhood basketball event when Crew Alberta North confronted Crew Yukon at Holy Trinity Excessive College.

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Whereas the staff hoped to deliver dwelling gold, they have been nonetheless proud of their efficiency in the course of the worldwide event. Native basketball participant Sai Shankar says it’s an expertise he gained’t overlook.

“It felt good representing the neighborhood and particularly at dwelling in Fort McMurray. All my household got here down to look at us win a medal. Clearly we have been hoping for gold, however any medal is a fairly good job,” he mentioned in an interview.

“The stands have been packed and it was a excessive strain and excessive depth recreation.”

David Chijioke, one other native basketball participant, mentioned the staff meshed collectively rapidly. The opposite eight members of the staff come from the Grande Prairie and Peace River area. Earlier than the video games, there had by no means been a follow the place all 10 athletes have been collectively.

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Primarily based on how rapidly everybody bonded when the video games started, each Chijioke and Shankar are sure the staff would have gained gold in the event that they have been in a position to follow collectively earlier than the competitors.

“You get actually near the opposite guys. Being collectively all week could not seem to be a very long time, however you eat collectively and discuss collectively and practice collectively. They turn out to be like your loved ones and I made some new buddies and lots of people I name my brothers.” mentioned Chijioke. “The opposite groups had a couple of good, robust gamers however I nonetheless suppose we have been the perfect staff at that event.”

Till the medal spherical, Crew Alberta North was the one staff to stay undefeated. Within the preliminaries, Alberta defeated Alaska 91-69 and 90-40, Northwest Territories 86-68, Yukon 98-76, and Nunavut 76-49.

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Within the semi-finals Alberta defeated Nunavut 117-70. However Yukon fought again within the medal spherical and gained gold with an 81-75 victory over Alberta.

Coach Wayne Dunnington wonders if the staff turned too assured after their profitable streak, however he praised Crew Yukon’s teaching and technique for profitable gold.

“The important thing to our success is we gelled instantly and the whole lot was simply working,” mentioned Dunnington. “On and off the courtroom they bonded rapidly, turned a good group and have been a fantastic group of fellows. It was outstanding to look at.”

It isn’t but identified if Alberta Basketball will ship a staff to the 2024 Arctic Winter Video games in Mat-Su Valley, Alaska. If a staff is shipped, solely Shankar and two different members of this yr’s staff can have aged out. Dunnington expects the remainder of the athletes will desire a second shot at gold if a staff is shipped.

Shankar hopes the video games in Fort McMurray may also encourage different basketball and sporting occasions to return to Fort McMurray. Chijioke hopes to see extra spectators present up for video games.

“It was displaying of what our neighborhood has to supply, and never only for basketball,” mentioned Shankar.

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