Morinville Road Runners provincial champions

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Morinville – The final steps of a long season were paved in gold for the Morinville Road Runners Bantam Girls. The 10 young ladies (11-12 years old) completed a Cinderella-like season on Saturday in Calgary by winning four games by a combined score of 195-96 and coming home with provincial gold medals dangling from their necks.

“They are very diffcult to score on, they play amazing pressure defence and are constantly rotating to help cover open players,” said coach Serge Froment. “They create their offence with a stifling defense. They fustrate their opponents with their intensity. Its been a privilege to watch all season long.”

The girls opened the weekend with a Friday night game against The Raymond Comets from southern Alberta and won handily 51-11. Each player and parent felt ease as they realized that maybe something special had just started. They then woke up early Saturday and played Swarm (Edmonton team and eventual bronze medal winner) at 8:30 a.m., winning that game 47-33. This game woke the girls up as they were tested by a much improved and aggressive team from southeast Edmonton. Early Saturday afternoon they completed their round robin schedule by beating the St. Albert Slam Starzz 52-14. This game started slowly as the girls felt the nerves of being so close to their goal, but eventually their defense forced turnovers and layups followed.

This impressive performance got them a place in the finals for gold against a team from Calgary, the Edgemont Magic. The game started slowly with few points scored in the first quarter, but soon both player and spectators were into the game as the points dropped and the noise level in the gymnasium rose. By the end, each basket produced an eruption of cheers. The girls counted down the final seconds and exploded on to the court to meet the relatives, friends and each other, completing the game with a 43-35 win. They hugged, cried, laughed and screeched with joy like only a preteen can.

“I think I can speak for all the parents and the girls, its been a long time since we’ve felt that intense an emotional release as those last seconds,” Froment said. “They played amazing and were rewarded with provincial gold Mmedals at 11 and 12 years old. I’ve built a relationship throughout this season with these girls and their parents, and that made this team’s victory that much more enjoyable. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

Froment stated in January that Morinville would hear from these girls again in the future. Well we hear them loud and clear now as they are not only city champs but provincial champs. As they celebrated Saturday night, Coach Froment was asked several times by his players when the next practice was. After six months of basketball they can’t wait to start over and do it again.

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