Morinville – The Morinville Road Runners Bantam Girls head for Calgary this weekend to compete in provincials Mar. 18 and 19, a spot the team earned back in late January.
Road Runners Coach Serge Froment said the team would be competing against a strong team from Raymond and two local teams his girls had played this season.
“Southern Alberta has always been known as good basketball country,” the coach said of Raymond, a team the girls will play first in this weekend’s provincials. “The closer to the States you are, the more the influence comes up. That’ll be our first big game and then the next two in our pool are teams that we’ve played this year already.”
But Froment believes the girls, aged 11 and 12, will hold their own in the weekend competition. “I’m very optimistic because if we can win the first game, history has shown we have beaten the other two teams,” he said. “We should be playing in the gold-medal game.”
The provincials follow on the heels of another successful weekend for the Morinville Roadrunners. Both the Bantam Girls and Mini Girls emerged as city champions, taking the top spot in their respective divisions in Edmonton Youth Basketball Association playoffs held Mar. 11 and 12.
Froment said the Bantam Girls ended at the top with 19 teams below them. The coach said the team played two games to get to the finals and defeated South West Swish in the final game, a team whose only loss this season was to Morinville.
The coach said his team has steadily improved all season long. “They’ve gotten better every month, every tiering round,” he said, adding by the end they were beating teams quite handily. “They won the final game by 14 [points]. “They’ve become so solid it’s very hard to score against them. They find their ways to score and they do very well.”
With respect to the Road Runners Bantam Girls, Froment said part of the success comes from playing together for so long. “This is their fifth year together,” he said. “They started in Grade 2. Now they’re in Grade 7.
But the coach is also expecting a great future for the minis as well, a team who also finished at the top of their division in last weekend’s playoffs.
“I know that with the minis, if they continue like the bantams have, that success comes,” he said. “They play together. They get to know each other. League officials and parents comment on how these girls just know where to be.”