GET­TING READY

Bonds be­ing strength­ened as bas­ket­ball teams train for Canada Games

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - Fran­cois Caron

Team P.E.I.’s bas­ket­ball squads have had a busy spring.

I re­cently bumped into a cou­ple of for­mer Canada Games team­mates and it was in­ter­est­ing how in ev­ery case, the con­ver­sa­tion went to a tour­na­ment or an event we par­tic­i­pated in to pre­pare for the Games.

Trav­el­ling for com­pe­ti­tion is a nor­mal part of Canada Games prepa­ra­tion, and is of­ten where the bonds among team­mates are strength­ened. The men’s and women’s bas­ket­ball teams have both had a busy spring of com­pe­ti­tion and travel.

Women’s

The women’s team had a change of lead­er­ship ear­lier this spring when head coach Katie Hamil­ton moved to On­tario for an On­tario Univer­sity Ath­let­ics (OUA) head coach­ing job. Trent Whitty stepped into the role of head coach, and has been busy pre­par­ing the team for the Games.

They re­cently at­tended the Sum­mer Slam Chal­lenge in Mon­treal, where they had the op­por­tu­nity to play against some high-level com­pe­ti­tion and fin­ished the tour­na­ment with a 1-3 record. It came on the heels of the team host­ing the Red Rock Clas­sic ear­lier this month in Charlottetown, where it com­piled a 2-2 record.

The team fea­tures 12 play­ers from Tig­nish to Strat­ford, and will play in a pool with Bri­tish Columbia, New Brunswick and the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries dur­ing the first week of the Games. They open the tour­na­ment with a fa­mil­iar foe as they take on Team New Brunswick dur­ing the first day of play on July 29 at the Duck­worth Cen­tre.

Men’s

The Reagh Vid­ito-coached men’s team has been very ac­tive this spring by at­tend­ing a num­ber of tour­na­ments and play­ing in the Court­side Spring League at Hol­land Col­lege. The team’s iden­tity has re­ally been shaped dur­ing these events as the play­ers have dis­played great ef­fort, tough­ness and strong team de­fence.

Of­fen­sively, the team has good bal­ance and spac­ing, which has led to some very un­selfish play.

Ear­lier this spring the team trav­elled to Port­land, Me., for some games against Di­vi­sion 1 and 2 re­cruits prior to host­ing the Red Rock Clas­sic and com­pet­ing in the Court­side tour­na­ment.

The boys en­joyed some great success dur­ing the last week­end in June, win­ning the gold medal be­hind John Alex Vos’s 26 points and player-of-thegame per­for­mance at the East Coast Games in Saint John, N.B.

The men’s team faces off against New­found­land and Labrador to open their Canada Games tour­na­ment on July 29. Que­bec and the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries are the other teams in their pool. Fran­cois Caron is the cen­tral re­gion co-or­di­na­tor for the sport, re­cre­ation and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity di­vi­sion of the P.E.I. De­part­ment of Health and Well­ness. He has at­tended nine Games and will be Team P.E.I.’s as­sis­tant chef de mission dur­ing the sec­ond week of the 2017 Canada Games.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Team P.E.I.’s men’s bas­ket­ball team won the East Coast Games in Saint John, N.B., in June. Team mem­bers, front row, from left, are Zack Wall, Yousef Se­fau, Will Vid­ito, Lo­gan Cameron, Yahya Se­fau and Lo­gan MacCal­lum. Sec­ond row, as­sis­tant coach Lu­cas Squires, Adam Ryan, John Alex Vos, Joe Thom­son, Parker Roche, Josh Bourque, Thomas Ho­gan, man­ager Troy MacCal­lum and head coach Reagh Vid­ito.

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Team P.E.I.’s Lexi MacIn­nis, right, drives to the paint dur­ing the Red Rock Clas­sic bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment in June in Charlottetown.

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