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Team NWT strikes hard to win Calgary Storm basketball tournament 14 Tuesday July 14 2015 SPORTS RECREATION BASKETBALL THAIDENE NENE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT NOW The Government of the NWT is hosting a series of public consultations about protecting Thaidene Nene. Please attend and voice your support for permanent protection. For more information visit YELLOWKNIFE July 15 700 930 pm Tree of Peace FORT SMITH July 27 700 930 pm Roaring Rapids Hall HAY RIVER July 28 700 930 pm Ptarmigan Inn FORT RESOLUTION July 29 700 930 pm Community Hall Photos wanted for 2016 Fort Smith Pet Desk Calendar Filling up fast Get your pictures in soon Ifyouwouldliketohavephotosofyour petstakenarrangementscanbemade. Please call Chris at 872-5547. Becauseofthehighvolumeofrequests we are on a first come first in basis. Special consideration will be made for pets not in previous calendars. Please submit photos of living pets only. Thereisnofeetohavephotosinthecalendar. If you have any questions or need more information please call Chris at 872-5547 or email Deadline is August 31 This ad sponsored by the Northern Journal Players return inspired by international indigenous basketball tourney By DALI CARMICHAEL While thousands of tourists donned their 10-gallon hats and spurs to attend the an- nual Calgary Stampede another contin- gent came prepared with their sneakers and A-game to compete in the Calgary Storms Stampede Showdown basketball tournament. This year 12 boys from the NWT domi- nated the annual event taking rst place in the boys U15 division after a series of hard- fought games from July 3 to 5. To be honest I didnt quite know what to expect going into it said coach Aaron Wells. Im pretty happy theres so much talent in that age group here in the Territories but I mean whenever you go down south you dont know what to expect because the talent pool is quite a bit bigger. Despite the odds Wells had faith in his team. I knew that if they put everything to- gether and competed hard they could have a chance of having some success down there he said. I probably never thought of winning the whole thing. WellswhoalsoheadstheterritorysWestern Canada Summer Games WCSG basketball team hand-picked this years Stampede play- ers during a selection camp back in March. The players from Deline Fort Good Hope and Yellowknife quickly bonded creating the cohesive team that won the champion- ship trophy. The boys fought hard for their success after getting off to a shaky start losing a warm-up game by 17 points. We watched all of the game lm from that exhibition game and I think that really helped the kids because from that moment on some- thing shifted in their attitude Wells said. We never lost a game after that. In the rst of their four tournament games the boys won with a score of 60 to 52. After that they took each of their games with noth- ing less than a 20-point lead. There were a couple plays in the second game where the help defence was incredible. If one guy was beat their teammate was there to help them out and I think thats important in basketball Wells said. The teammates really connected and helped each other on defence and then some kids were hitting buzzer beaters some kids were taking charges - things that you dont often see in 14 year-old boys but they were aggressive and strong on defence and werent afraid to sacrice their body for the team. With a big win already under their belts these players will get a second chance to shine this summer as they head to the WCSGs set to be held in Fort McMurray from Aug. 7 to 16. By DALI CARMICHAEL TheNWTboyswhorepresentedCanadaatthe 2015NativeAmericanBasketballInvitationals NABI might not have captured any wins at the tournament but they did come away with experienceandanewoptimismforthefuture. By the end of the tournament - held in Phoenix Arizona from June 30 to July 4 - the boys had nally started coming together said coach Neil Barry showing impressive results for what he called a green team. We didnt get a win but our last game was a playoff game and we lost by six points Barry said. Going from losing 20 to 30 points to only six shows a little improvement but not soon enough I guess. Throughout the tourney the boys played in four round robin and two exhibition games using the opportunity to practice playing against a new pool of players with a wide range of skills. Some of the most impressive plays came fromtheteamsyoungestmembersBarrysaid. OneplayerWarrenCliisinGrade6andhe playedinourexhibitiongamesandhedidreally well.Hecertainlyimpressedthecrowdtheywere oohing and ahhing because he was so small playing against these really tall guys who were 6869andhesonlymaybe5feetBarrysaid. Our two Grade 8s Bryce Hardisty-Phil- lips and Zehroh Waugh also played really well the whole tournament. They handled the pressure really well and Im really excited to think about how theyll be in future years. An inspiring glimpse into the future The NABI Foundation - which hosts the an- nual tournament - provides not only athletic opportunities to indigenous youth but also a window into their scholastic possibilities. Onregistrationdaytherewasaneducation fair where different colleges and universities from mostly the western United States came Barry said. They were recruiting and ex- plaining the programs to the kids that was really good. They went around and learned about college and university some of the stuff they needed to do to prepare and some of the opportunitiesanddifferentprogramsthatwere out there especially for First Nations youth. Someofthekidswerepalpablyexcitedwhile touring through the fair especially the boys heading into Grade 12 Barry noted. Anothersourceofinspirationcamewhenthe boysattendedthechampionshipgamesheldat the NBA Phoenix Suns home court in the US Airways Centre. In honour of the NWTs fth year representing Canada at the tournament the team was invited to centre court to make a presentationtotheNABIfoundersgiftingthem with a Canadian Flag signed by all the players. During the presentation they met pro play- ers including NABI co-founder and 17-season NBA veteran Mark West and A.C. Green who holds the record for playing more consecutive games than any other player in NBA history. The team also got the chance to shake hands and take pictures with Kenny Dobbs a member of the Choctaw Nation who is in- ternationally known as one of the worlds top dunkers. With another NABI event under his belt Barry said he is optimistic about the teams future at the tournament. Were a young team so I kind of expected wed have troubles. There were a lot of Grade 10s and its a 19-and-under tournament. I can take this team back over the next couple of years and I think by the time theyre in Grade 12 theyll be a lot stronger Barry said. SPORTS RECREATION BASKETBALL Team NWT players pose with their trophy after capturing the U15 championship game at the 2015 Calgary Storm Stampede Showdown tournament on July 5. PhotoAaronWells