Keough, McKen­zie ready for hoops jour­ney to Asia

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY T.J. COLELLO sports@cb­ On Twit­ter: @cb­post_s­ports

Ali­son Keough and her Ca­pers women’s coach Fabian McKen­zie are part of na­tional women’s de­vel­op­ment team.

Wear­ing the maple leaf has been a goal for Ali­son Keough since she was a teenager, and the op­por­tu­nity has fi­nally ar­rived.

The Mar­ion Bridge for­ward will play for Canada’s women’s de­vel­op­ment team that will com­pete at the U24 Four Na­tions Tour­na­ment in Tokyo, Ja­pan, and the 29th Sum­mer Univer­si­ade in Taipei City, Taiwan, this month.

Keough was of­fi­cially named to the team on Fri­day af­ter at­tend­ing try­outs and a train­ing camp in Toronto that be­gan on July 29.

“I was fight­ing back tears when I found out I was on the team. I was so over­whelmed,” said the 22-year-old, who will en­ter her fifth and fi­nal sea­son with the Cape Bre­ton Ca­pers women’s bas­ket­ball team in the fall.

“It was prob­a­bly the great­est feel­ing I’ve had in my whole bas­ket­ball ca­reer.”

Last sea­son, the 6-1 Keough av­er­aged 19.3 points per game and led the con­fer­ence in re­bound­ing with 9.9 re­bounds per game. She was named the At­lantic Univer­sity Sport most valu­able player and a U Sports first team all-Canadian, while lead­ing the Ca­pers to a 13-7 record and an AUS cham­pi­onship.

This isn’t the first time she’s had a shot at mak­ing a na­tional team. She earned try­outs for both the na­tional cadet U16 and U17 teams, and was named an al­ter­nate.

But this time, it’s for real. “Fi­nally, getting to put on Ali­son Keough of Mar­ion Bridge and her Cape Bre­ton Ca­pers women’s bas­ket­ball coach Fabian McKen­zie of Glace Bay will travel to Ja­pan and Taiwan to com­pete with the Canada’s na­tional women’s de­vel­op­ment team this month.

that jer­sey was an amaz­ing feel­ing,” she said.

“Since I got ex­posed to it when I was that young, it’s been a dream ever since then. Fi­nally getting to do it, it’s a dream come true.”

Keough will have some fa­mil­iar­ity on the bench. Ca­pers head coach Fabian McKen­zie will be bench boss for the na­tional de­vel­op­ment team. This will be his sixth sum­mer at the helm of the team, and his 10th sea­son as part of the na­tional pro­gram.

“Not only is there a fa­mil­iar­ity, he’s one of the best in the coun­try,” said Keough.

McKen­zie gave credit to Keough’s

hard work in mak­ing the ros­ter.

“What an amaz­ing role model it is for young play­ers in Cape Bre­ton to say I can do this from Cape Bre­ton,” he said. “The play is faster and stronger and Ali­son has no­ticed that. To have her go and travel to the two coun­tries we’re go­ing to, see the world and play th­ese teams through the game of bas­ket­ball is an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity.

“It’ll be an ex­pe­ri­ence she’ll re­mem­ber for­ever.”

Canada opens play at the U24 Four Na­tions Tour­na­ment in Tokyo on Aug. 12 against the hosts from Ja­pan. They’ll play the United States on Aug. 13

and Australia on Aug. 15. The Univer­si­ade runs from Aug. 20-29 in Taiwan, with Canada fac­ing Por­tu­gal on Aug. 21, Korea on Aug. 22 and Ja­pan on Aug. 23.

This will be McKen­zie’s fourth Univer­si­ade, and his third as head coach. The Canadian squad took silver at the 2015 event in Gwangju, Korea, its best finish.

“As we told our girls here, anything’s pos­si­ble,” he said. “We’re go­ing over to try and get to the podium and go from there.”


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