Team Ontario U17s End 2012 AAU On Positive Note
Published by Michael Henry on July 29, 2012
The Team Ontario U17s fielded two squads in the USJN National Championships in Washington, D.C. taking place July 22-24, 2012 and both found favourable results.
This tournament was planned as the final U.S. tune-up of the summer for both teams as they looked to complete their AAU schedules an a high note. This was coming off of the rigors and challenges experienced at the 2012 Nike Tournament of Champions Summer Showcase July 12-15, 2012 in Chicago, where the Team Ontario U17 Elite team went 2-3 and the Team Ontario U17 Dev. Team went 1-4 .
The added experience and more positive results gained in Chicago, appears to have Head Coach, Jodi Gram seeing more confidence and and improved team play.
“As for Washington, it was extremely exciting to see both rosters improve tremendously from the weekend before. Both teams created a very positive buzz around the courts and played excellent team basketball”, said Gram
Competing in the Gold Division, Pool P would be where the Team Ontario White U17 Team would find great success. On their way to going 5-0, the stronger of the two squads defeated Blue Star Virginia 17, Team Purpose 17 (West Virginia), Ring City 16 Gratch (New Jersey), Next Level Athletics 16 (Vermont) and Fencor 17 (Pensylvania).
Meanwhile, The Team Ontario Red U17 team mustered up a 3-2 record in Pool U of the same Gold Division, good enough for a Second place finish in that Pool. Their record was good enough for a birth in the first round of the Division’s playoffs, before bowing out in a loss to Alana Beard Future 16 Turner (Maryland) by a score of 46-34.
“Learning through competition, learning to play with each other, and learning to deal with the distraction of having major college coaches watching games has definitely helped us to prepare for the National Championship and respective National Team tryouts.”
When Team Ontario Head Coach, Jodi Gram formed these two teams, she had the intention of keeping the girls that were in contention of making any one of the the National teams (Junior or Cadette) together on a separate team, as to build chemistry amongst them, as well as build on the chemistry of those that will be competing for the Canadian National Championship that runs essentially at the same time.
“It would have been exciting to see how the team would have fared against the top AAU teams from the US, but because the bulk of the roster had to be at national team camps this week and the roster was down to 5 because of injury, we chose to withdraw rather than put anyone at risk of compromising their goals for the summer to compete at the FIBA Americas qualifier or the World Championship”, considered Gram.
“For Team Ontario, we are now focussed on getting healthy and having a complete roster with people back playing in their natural positions. We will be cheering for the Olympic team at our final training camp, and will be wishing the Cadette and Junior teams luck in their respective competitions as we put in the final preparations for Nationals in Fredericton.”
In reflecting on the performace of her teams, Coach Gram was please with the intrest her players received and the positive outlook her players have.
“During the live period, I was spending between 4-5 hours per day on the phone with interested coaches, so it is nice to know our athletes will have many options to blend academics and basketball on either side of the border for university.”