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Airdrie basketball players take part in Shooting Stars showcase

By: Lucas Punkari

  |  Posted: Thursday, Apr 03, 2014 11:38 am

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Although the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) basketball season wrapped up last month, players from the Bert Church Chargers and the George McDougall Mustangs were back on the court in Calgary over the weekend.

Members of the Chargers and Mustangs senior basketball teams were among those taking part in the 21st annual Shooting Stars Showcase all-star games, which were held on March 30 at the SAIT Campus Centre in Calgary and featured players from throughout the province.

“It was a great experience,” Grade 11 Bert Church student Hayvn Mills said. “To come down here and play with so many high-calibre players was something that I was really excited about.”

“When you have a chance to get outside of playing in your own school division and to see other girls from around the province, I think that’s something that is really neat to be a part of,” she added.

Unlike the regular season when the girls play with players who they know from around the school, a player might find themselves on the court with someone from Medicine Hat or Edmonton right beside them, which leads to everyone making adjustments.

“When you are playing with someone who you have viewed as just an opponent before, you have to learn quickly about who they are as a player and what they bring to the court,” Grade 11 George McDougall student Hannah McCormick said.

“I think you always have a little bit of transitional phase whenever you are playing with someone who is new, but I think it’s a good experience for us,” fellow George McDougall Grade 11 student Kate Paulsen added. “It’s great exposure for us as players to be teammates with girls from around the province, and to also meet coaches who have experience at higher levels.”

For McCormick and Paulsen, the hardest thing to adapt to was the fact that the two friends found themselves on opposing teams.

“That was really weird for me to be honest,” McCormick said. “However, I think we pushed each other even more, as we both know how each other plays.”

“It ended up being a lot of fun for us,” Paulsen added. “When I was guarding her a couple of times, I found myself not trying to say ‘Go Hannah’ out on the court, as I kept forgetting that we were on different teams.”

While Mills wasn’t up against a fellow teammate from Bert Church when she was playing, she did find herself teaming up with Chestermere High School’s Natalie Russell, who she had gone up against in the RVSA championship game on March 8.

“We had some hard-fought battles with them during the course of the season, so it was rather strange to be teammates with someone from Chestermere at first,” Mills said.

“However, I got used to it pretty quickly, which is what you have to do in an event like this,” she added.

As the players prepared for their final season in the high school ranks next year, they are planning to use the experiences from the Shooting Stars Showcase as they go forward in their basketball careers.

“If I’m lucky enough to play at a higher level following high school, this is something I can build off of,” McCormick said.

“You’re only going to get better playing against the best athletes, and I think that’s what I’m going to take away from this experience.”

“The biggest thing I learned is that you have to adapt quickly to new people,” Paulsen added.

“That’s something that applies off the court as well, and I think that’s a valuable lesson.”


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