Monday, 28 January 2013 13:01

Foremost girls’ basketball team gains valuable experience travelling to Phoenix

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Foremost girls’ basketball players had an eye-opening experience over the Christmas break and bonded even more as team, thanks to competing in the 13th Annual Cactus Jam Phoenix Hoop Classic.

This was the first year Foremost was able to send a team to Phoenix and it is something coach Laura Rumpel hopes takes place every three years.
“It was very competitive, but we knew that. They take basketball to a whole new level and are a lot more serious (about it in the States),” says Rumpel.
The teammates travelled to Phoenix on their own, many with family members, and then met up together for the three days of the tournament. It took place Dec. 27-29.
They played three games, losing two of them by 25 to 30 points but a third by only two points.
“We hung in there the whole time,” says Rumpel, about how the girls played.
In 1A competition, the Foremost girls’ team is ranked first as of Jan. 17, and usually wins games against competitors by a margin of 20 to 30 points. It was a nice challenge to face new teams in the States, who have a much larger pool of students to pull from and include larger schools who normally compete in 3A and 4A pools.
One of the schools Foremost ended up playing was the higher ranked Medicine Hat High School and that’s the match the team lost by only two points.
Along with playing on the court, the girls also enjoyed off-court activities. They attended a Phoenix NBA game and appeared on the Jumbotron as well as spent some time courtside as the players were warming up.  They also attended a women’s college basketball game and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl championship college football game.
Attending such large sporting events allowed the girls to see what it is like to have bands on the field performing half-time shows as well as how competitive the sport of cheerleading can be.
Because Foremost chose to have students travel with their families, many of them extended their stay by a few days and took in other tourist attractions creating memorable family holidays.
Rumpel believes the trip was an overall good experience for the team members.
“We definitely stayed conditioned better,” she says.
The players also came back more aggressive on the court than prior to the Christmas break and have a more physical game than they used to. It has been an adjustment to remember how basketball is officiated in Canada compared to the more aggressive nature of the sport in the States.
“We have a really good team this year,” adds Rumpel. “We happen to be in one of those years.”
The girls’ basketball team from the small school always performs well provincially, with numerous 1A championship banners hanging on the school’s walls.
Rumpel also credits the feeder-type basketball program in Foremost because mini-basketball is an option for younger children.
“We have a good program from the bottom up.”
The high school basketball season continues until March.

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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