Showcasing their skills on the hard court, members of the Cochrane Kodiaks U11 girls’ division 2 basketball team took home a silver medal at the Alberta Basketball Youth Provincials last weekend.
The tournament took place at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton on March 10 and 11. The Kodiaks consisted of 11 players and was the only team from Cochrane to attend provincials in 2023.
Prior to the tournament, the girls finished second in their division at the Calgary city championships, which is what landed them their spot at provincials.
Once in Edmonton, the Kodiaks bested the division champions, CalWest, by one point in a close 39-38 game, earning them a spot in the gold-medal game.
Millie Williamson, a member of the team, said the heated game against CalWest determined if Cochrane would play for either gold or bronze.
“It came down to overtime,” Williamson said. “It was the last six seconds, and we won.”
Kate Richard scored the Kodiaks’ final basket against CalWest, netting the Cochranites a spot in the finals.
“It was a tie game, and I scored the winning goal, so that was pretty cool,” Richard said.
In a hard-fought battle in the ensuing final, the Kodiaks lost to Northwest Calgary 46-41, earning them the second spot on the podium.
Even though the team came up a bit short, Kodiaks player Chayse Conrad said her team played very well in the final, highlighting the work and performance by her teammates.
“A lot of us played to our best possible ability,” she said. “Our defence was really good, so was our offence. We made shots we normally wouldn’t make, and we were very smooth in all of it.”
Rylea Anderson, another member of the squad, agreed that the Kodiaks played very well throughout the weekend. A highlight for her was dethroning the division champions in the semi-final match.
“Especially since CalWest has been beating us, it made me really happy that we beat them in the semi-finals,” she said.
Assistant Coach Blaire Conrad said the girls did their best and she could sense the passion and effort from all the players over the two days of the competition.
“By the time they get there, they’ve learned everything you can teach them at that [point of the season],” Conrad said. “At that point, it’s just heart.”
The head coach for the team, Alex Paradis, said the girls did an amazing job this season. Although they started the season in division 4, he said they managed to rise up to division 2, and land a silver at provincials.
“We’re very proud of our girls,” Paradis said. “We had the largest number of girls [at the tournament], with 11. For a lot of them, it was their first year playing basketball and we’re amazed by the girls’ performance as a team.
“It was fun for me since I’ve been coaching that team for two years, but now I’ll be moving up with my daughter in U13 next year.”