The road to make the Zone 6 (Vancouver Island-Central Coast) girls basketball team for the 2016 B.C. Summer Games in Abbotsford began back in April with tryouts at Mark Isfeld secondary in Courtenay.
Since then, the West Shore players named among the 10 roster members and two alternates for the under-14 squad – not to mention their parents – have shown even greater commitment. They’ve made regular weekend trips to the Comox Valley, where the coaches are based, and since school ended, Wednesday evening practices in Nanaimo have been added.
“It’s been hard, because while school was on you had to bring your homework in the car,” said team member Jordan Scoville, 14, adding that social time has also been curtailed due to the extra travel.
Not that she’s complaining about the sacrifices this opportunity has involved. Scoville, one of seven Zone 6 players who played and won together at Dunsmuir middle school the past two seasons and in the Victoria Night League as Westshore Warriors, is enjoying playing with and getting to know girls from outside of her immediate area.
“The teamwork is definitely there (with the Dunsmuir crew), and it’s been building with the players we don’t know,” she said. Asked about the team’s prospects for a podium finish at the Games in two weekends’ time, Scoville said, “I think that if we really come together as a team we’ll have a good chance (of medalling). I think we’ve really improved since we started.”
Other team members who came through Dunsmuir and will attend Royal Bay next fall include Emilie Daitl, Mikayla Strandberg, Emily Brown, Rachel Gshiel, Mya Bains and Makenna Gargus. They’re joined by Sessaly Buck (Nanaimo), Memphis Dick (Port Alberni) and Myah Erikson (Comox Valley) on the Zone 6 team.
As Scoville’s mom Michelle reports, by the time they leave for Abbotsford on July 21, the West Shore girls will have logged a staggering 3,800 kilometres just for practice. That doesn’t include travelling for tournament play on the mainland twice during the preparation phase.
Two players in the group competed in 13-under three-on-three basketball at the Games two years ago. They’ve given Jordan Scoville a sense of what to expect, especially from the social events and nighttime activities.
While she admitted to being “really excited” about the whole experience, she has a mature philosophy about handling the distractions.
“I think you just take it all in in the moment, but when it’s time to play basketball you just centre your attention on the court.”
Zone 6 head coach Sherri Bohmer, whose Isfeld girls lost the Island Grade 8 final to Dunsmuir this past season, acknowledged that the Colwood school’s program has produced a number of good players in recent years. That said, players at this age have strengths and weaknesses and have a lot of things to work on, especially in the mental aspects of the game, she said.
“This is a high-level program and if they want to succeed in the future … this is an important process,” Bohmer said of the girls’ experience. “It’s about things like learning to self-reflect, not letting other teams get into your head and not getting frustrated when you’re down.”
Results from the SFU tournament (the team went 3-0) and the Basketball BC provincial tournament (fourth place against several rival Games teams) give the coach a good feeling about her squad’s chances for success in Abbotsford.
“I’m confident that we’ll do well,” she said. “Hopefully the stars align and we don’t have injuries or illness.”
The West Shore will be well represented in the sport of basketball at the Games.
Markus Modrovic from Dunsmuir and Noah Messelink, a Langford resident who attended Glanford middle school, are on the boys five-on-five under-14 Zone 6 team. And in the girls three-on-three under-13 competition, Dunsmuir’s Maggie Fehr and Hannah Massey and Spencer’s Tiana Maat will wear the Island-Central Coast green and white jerseys.
The Games run from July 22 to 24 at various sites around Abbotsford. More than 3,000 athletes, coaches, and officials will be participating in 22 different sporting events representing eight zones from across the province.
Watch upcoming print and online editions of the Gazette for more athlete and team profiles from the West Shore.
– with files from Michelle Scoville