North American Indigenous Games

Team B.C. goes for gold again in U16 girls basketball

B.C.'s under-16 girls basketball team will play for the gold medal for the second straight time in the North American Indigenous Games.

Trounces Team Alberta 70-42 to earn berth in Thursday's final

A Team B.C. player (14) drives to the basket in their under-16 girls semifinal win over Team Alberta Wednesday. (Cameron Perrier/CBC)

When team British Columbia landed in Toronto for girls basketball, they had high expectations for their team at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG).

And indeed, those expectations are being met — the under-16 girls team won its semifinal game against Team Alberta 70-42 and now has a chance to repeat their 2014 silver medal performance or better. 

Manitoba Boys won u-16 gold in 2014...same boys, same plan for u-19 gold in 2017 3:15

The final is Thursday.

"A lot of these kids I had in 2014 Regina NAIG ... they're hungry for another one," coach Mitra Tshan said. "They want a match set."

Tshan said she's impressed with how far the team has come, considering there was little time prior to the games for the entire team to practice together.

But she said the team showed its commitment to each other earlier in the tournament in a game against Nova Scotia. One of the players had torn an ACL in March and was supporting the team from the sidelines. But in that game, the team brought the player on to the court, supporting her injured knee, so she could also participate.

"They really came together for her because she's been on the bench encouraging them for the last three or four months," Tshan said. "And that one moment [Tuesday], she stepped on the court and hit two straight threes in a row with a torn ACL, and the kids just went nuts for her. That's a true defining moment for our team."

Memphis Dick is another team member suffering from injury, but she said she worked even harder to prepare for her second appearance in Toronto, even with a braced and taped up knee.

"I can't run as fast as I usually could, but I'm still trying my best," she said, adding she's happy to play and represent her home community of Tseshaht on Vancouver Island.

"My parents, my grandparents, basically everyone back home is supporting me," she said. "That's why I love being here because I'm representing them and not just myself."

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