Ready to play

Is­land hoop­sters see their first ac­tion to­day at the Canada Sum­mer Games in Win­nipeg

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - Ja­son Mal­loy

Fran­cis Al­varez can’t wait for the Canada Games to be­gin.

Af­ter a cou­ple years of prac­tis­ing, train­ing and play­ing games, Al­varez and her women’s bas­ket­ball team­mates will step on the court Satur­day for their first ac­tion in Win­nipeg.

“It’s sur­real be­cause we’re fi­nally here and we’ve been think­ing of this for a while now,” she said Fri­day af­ter­noon. “It’s re­ally ex­it­ing to be here and it’s nice at­mos­phere.”

The team ar­rived in Man­i­toba on Thurs­day, got set­tled in and had their first prac­tice Fri­day morn­ing.

“It was good to get ready, get on the court and get pre­pared for a game against New Brunswick (Satur­day),” Al­varez said af­ter prac­tice. “We’re pretty ex­cited to play them.”

Team P.E.I.’s last game was two weeks ago in Saint John, N.B., against New Brunswick.

“We got off to a slow start and then we were just play­ing catch-up,” head coach Trent

Whitty said, but “I like the way we matched up with them.”

He said Fri­day’s prac­tice al­lowed them the op­por­tu­nity to re­view the game plan for New Brunswick, get loose, get some

shots up and get men­tally pre­pared.

“Within a Games, or any sort of na­tional tour­na­ment, it’s easy to lose fo­cus, so I think when you’re on the court, you

re­mem­ber why you’re here and you can pre­pare for the ac­tual com­pe­ti­tion,” Whitty said.

But first they were off to the open­ing cer­e­monies, which be­gan at 9 p.m. At­lantic.

“It’s go­ing to be pretty amaz­ing, so we’re ex­cited to see that,” Al­varez said.

The team won’t have much down time be­fore step­ping on the court for to­day’s 12:45 p.m. At­lantic con­test.

Whitty said Fri­day will be a long night for the ath­letes and it will be im­por­tant for them to get back to the ath­letes vil­lage and get a good night’s rest.

Sam Strain said the team’s sole fo­cus is on its first game while Al­varez added they want to play good bas­ket­ball, get as much out of the week as pos­si­ble and have fun.

Both 17-year-old Char­lot­te­town natives are en­ter­ing Grade 12 at Colonel Gray High School.

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Sam Strain, left, and Fran­cis Al­varez are ex­cited to be­gin play Satur­day at the Canada Games women’s bas­ket­ball com­pe­ti­tion in Win­nipeg.

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