Quinton Hunter refused to let getting cut from Manitoba’s under-17 basketball team get him down.
Instead, the Grade 10 guard from Neelin turned his attention to the Manitoba Summer Games. He attended Team Westman’s tryout camp Sunday afternoon at Neelin’s gymnasium in hopes of competing in the event being hosted by Swan Valley from July 15-21.
Although Hunter would have loved to play for Manitoba’s under-17 team, he is looking forward to having the opportunity to represent his home region on the provincial stage.
“It would mean a lot (to go to the Manitoba Games),” he said. “It would be a big opportunity to go to my first Manitoba Games and hopefully pull out a big W.”
Hunter was one of 18 players who competed for the 12 roster spots in the two sessions during the day.
Head coach Jeremy Wielenga was impressed with the number of players who came out to the camp and their basketball abilities.
“The kids that we have here, there’s a lot of potential,” he said. “The biggest thing we have about this summer is making the kids better and it gives them an opportunity to play in another season. Now that basketball season is over, they can get out and we can play in a couple tournaments this spring and build towards the Manitoba Games.”
Melissa Stoesz, the head coach of Westman’s girls team, was even more impressed with her turnout. She had 27 players come to her two training sessions, which were also held at Neelin on Sunday. A few others couldn’t attend because of other commitments.
With so many athletes, Stoesz was busy working with her assistant coaches trying to figure out which players are athletic enough, smart enough and remain calm under pressure to make her roster.
“Just getting to know all the athletes is the toughest part,” she said. “There are 27 kids so you want make sure you see each one of them and what they can do in different situations. I think we’ve covered a lot of ground so far and we have other coaches helping me out.”
Natalie Vachon, a guard/wing from Oak Lake who attends school in Virden, came out to the camp to see how she compared to other basketball players in Westman.
She was impressed with the other players, but thought she performed well. The Grade 10 student also hopes she gets an opportunity to represent the area in Swan Valley.
“It would mean a lot to show everybody what we have here and what we can do and our ability and interest and play in this area,” Vachon said. “I’m excited to see that Brandon/Westman area compared to Winnipeg area, per se, and their teams and see how this area of Manitoba ranks with all the other areas.”
Wielenga was finalizing his roster last night. Stoesz is holding another camp this week, which will give her a chance to see players who couldn’t attend on Sunday. She will select her roster after that.