Girls tournament a step in right direction
There was a point during the All Hallows Elementary Girls Basketball Tournament Apr. 16 when Dave Penney saw changes in his players.
Hosted at Amalgamated Academy in Bay Roberts, Penney had one of his players want to stick around the gym for the remainder of his team’s games instead of heading to hockey.
It showed the coach of All Hallows that maybe this basketball thing is worth continuing.
“I might even have another weekend before this year is over,” said Penney. “If I can get gym time, I’d like to do another one.”
The tournament featured five Grade 6 female teams from schools in Holyrood, Conception Harbour, Dunville, Spaniard’s Bay and North River.
Playing two games at a time — cross-court — meant players were always in movement. Seldom were they sitting for long stretches.
The fair play rules that govern basketball at that level ensured every player got a fair shake at the game.
Penney felt the tournament was a huge success.
“It went pretty smoothly. It was an excellent day,” he said.
“I thought using two courts all weekend worked excellent. I was really happy with it.”
There were no medal for first place or a championship banner handed out on the day.
It was more about getting a game of basketball for the players. It had a jamboree feel to it. “There was a lot of growth,” said Penney.
Impressed with results
Getting basketball experience and having that exposure to the game at that level is going to help any young athlete.
It can be all that pushes a sport from fringe activity to mainstream in a region.
Penney said he saw plenty of that happening over the weekend.
Overall, the players were doing things at the end of the day that they weren’t doing at the beginning.
Concepts became clearer and the game became simpler.
“The players are improving all of the time,” he said.
“They did an awesome job. It’s a real accomplishment.”
Holy Redeemer coach Cathy Downey knows a thing or two about grassroots sports and building a program.
She has been involved with the CBN Volleyball Club the past several seasons.
It’s an entity that has successfully exposed younger players to the game of volleyball at a younger age.
For a sport like basketball, it needs to start player younger.
“I see a lot of improvement in the players,” said Downey.
“It’s bridging the gap between the gym and the game.”
Even with the positive signs of development, the social aspect was just as impressive for Downey as it was for exposing kids to the sport.
“The players got to be a part of a school team. They spent time with their teammates and got to make new friends,” she said.
“It was great having an event like that on the weekend.”
It has Penney excited for the future too.
“I think it helped raise the level of girl’s basketball in the region,” he said.
“I think it helped raise the level of girl’s basketball in the region.” Dave Penney
All Hallows Elementary Grade 5 girls basketball player Claire Penney attempts a shot during tournament play at Amalgamated Academy in Bay Roberts on Apr. 16.