After a shock in their first game of the tournament, Calgary Basketball Academy shifted focus and is bouncing back. The U15 team from Alberta came to bballnationals looking for fresh competition after running out of options at home.
“Our team is one of the strongest U15 teams in the province,” Head Coach, Carey Blaskin said, “we haven’t lost to a U15 team in Alberta yet this season so when we came here and lost our very first game to a U14 team, it was actually really exciting.”
The CBA parents and coaches are thrilled to have new teams that are challenging their players, not only with a new level of play but also with a new style. The Alberta team is playing teams from across the country, including New Brunswick, Ontario, and British Columbia teams that they’ve never seen before.
“I find that there are a lot of similarities with the style of play across the different provinces,” Blaskin said of the Canadian teams, “there’s definitely some nuances in the game that we’re having to adapt to, especially with the Ontario teams.”
The nine girl roster, who play competitively in their own province as well as travel to tournaments in the United States, are enjoying the challenge the Canadian teams are providing, but they’ve had to make several adjustments on the fly.
“We’ve changed everything [to combat the competition]. We’ve thrown out the playbook and reinvented everything.”
Some things the girls were able to get away with when playing teams from Alberta are hurting them in competition at the national level, “the players are bigger and faster,” the girls have had to step up their game, and Coach Blaskin is really proud of his team for being able to do that.
Adaptation is what the team is learning to excel at, and with a roster that is nine players deep, they have tons of options. Coach Blaskin doesn’t have a starting five, and takes advantage of his team’s depth, “my starting five changes every game, and more importantly I can’t tell you who will start the next game because it’s all going to depend on how the game goes.”
But the team’s biggest strength is their chemistry, and how they work together, “every player on the team right now has played for us for four or more years,” Blaskin said of girls’ loyalty to the club, “that helps, because they know and trust each other and all egos are aside, we play as a team.”
The camaraderie is what kept the team intact after their shocking loss early in the weekend, “if we didn’t have a good solid group of girls that know each other and trust each other, they could have turned on each other,” he said of how his team is reacting to the high level of play, “they believed in themselves and we picked ourselves up and have played a bunch of excellent games since.”
Heading into the quarterfinals, the team is concentrating on themselves, “I think our focus is that if we play our game, I feel strongly that we could make it to the semi finals.” Blaskin is hoping the team gets the chance to play VK’s U15 girls to prove that CBA can compete, and win, at this level.