Alyssa Jenkins has been to BC before, technically speaking. But it was only for a stop over, so it doesn’t really count.
“The weather’s been nice while we’re up here, so we got to do some things as a team – we went swimming,” said Jenkins about her team’s time in Langley. “The gym and complex we’ve been hosted in is a really nice one too,” she added about the Langley Events Centre.
Alyssa Jenkins and her Rock Elite Under-17 teammates made the cross-country trip all the way from Newfoundland to be in Langley for their first ever Bballnationals.
“It was a really long flight,” said Jenkins. “We flew from St. Johns to Montreal and then Montreal to BC. The flights were really long, but they weren’t too bad, all-in-all.”
For Julia Warren, a 15-year-old playing on the U-17 team, her first time in BC has been a memorable. “It’s beautiful, it’s a lot different than Newfoundland is,” said Warren. “A lot more stuff to do, weather’s a lot nicer; in Newfoundland we have really high winds and rains. It’s nice to be around something that’s not like that.”
As for the basketball side of things, Warren, who is relatively new to the sport, is trying to soak in as much as she can as a double under-ager.
“It’s a great learning experience,” said Warren of her experience at Bballnationals. “It’s great competition.”
“It’s really nice to go up against girls that are from different parts of the country and have more experience than you. You can really learn a lot from just watching them play, even watching the girls on your team play,” said Warren.
“The tournament has been really well run, so it’s nice to get off the island and see a bit more competition,” said Rock Elite’s Head Coach Jane Baird.
The girls got off to a difficult start, losing their first 3 games but rallied to win their fourth by a score of 71-28 over the Edmonton Grads. “It was a big win for us,” said Jenkins, especially after getting off to what she described as a “rocky start.”
Since they have travelled further than most to get to Bballnationals, Rock Elite has some extra hurdles to clear. On top of that, they travelled light, bringing only 9 players making their rotations that much tighter. Almost forgotten in all the madness of Bballnationals is the fact that this is mainly just a team trip.
Only 3 players on their team have parents accompanying them in Langley. For Jenkins and Warren, even though their parents didn’t make the trip, their presence is still felt.
“They’re watching!” said Warren. Even in Newfoundland, the parents who didn’t make the trip are able to watch the games being streamed online.
Both girls call home every night and Jenkins usually calls after every game. “I usually call my mum after the game, call my dad after the game, see what they thought about the game and they give me a little feedback,” she said.
And even from far away, it’s clear the parenting never stops.
“Since it’s a lot of games – like 2 a day – we’re not used to it. You really have to keep hydrated, stay rested, eat well, just make sure you’re taking care of yourself so you can play to your best,” said Jenkins when asked about the best advice she’s got from her parents.
In between games, the girls try to do exactly that – eat well and rest when possible. And when they can, they’ll try and get outside and enjoy some of Langley’s sunshine.
“All around it’s been a really nice trip, to be honest,” concluded Jenkins. Hopefully, it’s a memorable one too.
By: Mohak Sood