National basketball championships bring future stars to Fredericton

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National basketball championships bring future stars to Fredericton

The girls' national basketball championships are underway in Fredericton this week, bringing some of the nation's best players under the age of 15 and 17 to the city. 

"Provinces playing every day, recruiters from all over North America here, university scouts watching these players play," said Brad Janes, president of Basketball New Brunswick. "A few of them will go on to represent Canada at nationals."

The games, which began Monday, are all being played at the University of New Brunswick's Richard J. Currie Center.

Bad weather doesn't stop game

Janes said the players had an interesting opening day, thanks to the bad weather plaguing the Fredericton area earlier this week, 

"We were just minutes away from New Brunswick under-17s playing PEI, and another game downstairs, with Saskatchewan and B.C, when the power went out," he said.

Because the championship only runs until Saturday, he said the schedule is tight.

Once coaches, officials and Canada Basketball all came to an agreement, Janes said the game continued.  

"We played during a power outage," said New Brunswick U17 coach Alyssa Lebans. "They set up the gym with security lights and they ran a portable score clock off a generator and they used an iPad for a shot clock.

"We played PEI kind of by candlelight."

New Brunswick: gritty but short

New Brunswick has two teams playing Thursday night, in both the U17 and U15 quarter finals.

But with players from all across the country coming to test their skills, Janes said the New Brunswick team suffers in one area: height.

"It plays a big part," said Fredericton player Maddy Colpitts, who estimates her height to be five feet 10 inches.

"We played British Columbia the other day. They had players that were six feet five inches. It was quite hard to defend, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're better than everyone else."

Janes said the province's top player clocks in around six feet one inch.

"We need to shoot better as a province and we need to be stronger," the president told Information Morning Fredericton.

He said if the province's women want to compete with the "upper echelon provinces all the time," they'll need to continue their shooting game.

Lebans agrees.

"We are lacking in height compared to the other provinces," she said. "But we make up for that in different ways. We find different ways … to play bigger than we are."

Powerhouse awaits

Tonight the U17 New Brunswick team plays Quebec, while the U15 squad faces Ontario. 

"It's going to be tough," Lebans said about the Quebec team.

"We're not supposed to win. But we're pretty excited at the opportunity to go in. We have no expectation. We have nothing to lose, they do."

The men's nationals are also currently underway in Kamloops, B.C. Janes said New Brunswick is expected to host the boys' championship next year.