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

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The Fort McMurray basketball gamers that introduced residence silver on the Arctic Winter Video games hope their victories will assist make basketball extra common in the neighborhood. It was the most important residence crowd they’d seen at a neighborhood basketball match when Staff Alberta North confronted Staff Yukon at Holy Trinity Excessive College.

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Whereas the staff hoped to convey residence gold, they had been nonetheless pleased with their efficiency through the worldwide match. Native basketball participant Sai Shankar says it’s an expertise he received’t neglect.

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

“The stands had been packed and it was a excessive stress 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 observe the place all 10 athletes had 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 received gold in the event that they had been in a position to observe collectively earlier than the competitors.

“You get actually near the opposite guys. Being collectively all week could not look like a very long time, however you eat collectively and speak collectively and prepare collectively. They develop into like your loved ones and I made some new associates and lots of people I name my brothers.” mentioned Chijioke. “The opposite groups had a number of good, sturdy gamers however I nonetheless suppose we had been one of the best staff at that match.”

Till the medal spherical, Staff 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 received gold with an 81-75 victory over Alberta.

Coach Wayne Dunnington wonders if the staff grew to become too assured after their successful streak, however he praised Staff Yukon’s teaching and technique for successful 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, grew to become a good group and had been an incredible group of men. It was outstanding to observe.”

It’s not but recognized 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 need 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 come back to Fort McMurray. Chijioke hopes to see extra spectators present up for video games.

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

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