For The Townsman
The Wild Battle at the Border tournament brings Canadian Collegiate Basketball to Cranbrook and the East Kootenay.
“It is an exciting opportunity to bring a different level of basketball to our area. For young players who love the game, they get an oppor-tunity to see and meet some of the players at the next level,” said Alan Nutini, organizer of the event.
This event is being hosted by the Mount Baker Wild Senior Girls Basketball Program and they will be raising money for the East Kootenay P.A.R.T.Y. Program.
“We want to support local charities like P.A.R.T.Y. and we hope the community will come out and support this event and try something new,” said senior Hunter Burton. The Wild Team members will be working hard to create an atmosphere of entertainment.
Two teams that will be entertaining the crowds for the weekend event running Friday, Sept. 25 to Sunday Sept. 27 at Mount Baker Secondary are the Red Deer Queens and the Kings Eagles.
Red Deer Queens
The 2014-15 campaign for the Red Deer Queens brought changes and a year of growth. The team struggled in the South Division of the Alberta Collegiate Athletic Conference (ACAC).
New head coach Ken King was brought into the program from an assistant coaching position with the Laurentian Voyageurs Men’s Basketball Program.
“Ken is an ideal fit for this team, he is a young coach with a variety of basketball experience and we look forward to what he will do,” Red Deer College athletic director Keith Hansen said.
King is a native of Oshawa, Ontario and said even when playing he always knew he was interested in coaching.
“I was always interested in coaching, I coached in high school and with club teams as well as with the Voyageurs,” King said.
He doesn’t believe the shift from coaching men to coaching women will present concerns.
“I’ve coached mostly guys, but have coached girls and feel success at the women’s level borders on what you see from the men. It melds together.”
Kings University Eagles
Kings University is located in Edmonton, Alta., and is a small non-denominational Christian school.
Kings has built a strong basketball tradition during its tenure in the ACAC. Kings head coach Dallas Wright enters his second year as head coach of the wom-en’s basketball program.
In his last year playing basketball at Concordia University, Wright was the captain of his team that earned a trip to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Championships. He hopes to bring the same level of success to the Kings women’s basketball program.
Kings returns two veteran guards to their line up, including a fourth-year player, Amy Whitesell, who graduated high school at Lindsay Thurber Secondary in Whitecourt, Alta.
Whitesell is a quick shooting guard that will certainly look to hit some deep three’s in “The Den at Mount Baker,” according to Nutini.
Also, fifth-year player, Vanessa Gulayets from Holy Trinity High School in Edmonton, led the Eagles with 13 points in last year’s opening victory over the Red Deer Queens. She will get an opportunity to repeat on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. when Kings hosts Red Deer for the first time in 2015-16.
Elementary Cheer Zone
“We want to see elementary students come out for free and cheer on their team,” Nutini said.
“We hope to see students come out and enjoy this event. Having the young people there will bring real energy to the gym.”
The WILD Mascot will be there to encourage fans of all ages.
Elementary Cheer Zone Teams:
Kings University- Amy Woodland & St. Mary’s (Team Colour White)
Capilano University– Kootenay Orchard & TM Roberts (Team Colour Blue)
Ambrose University- Gordon Terrace & Kootenay Christian Academy (Team Colour Yellow)
Red Deer College- Highlands, Steeples, & Pinewood (Team Colour Green)
Wild Battle at the Border Schedule:
Friday, Sept. 25, 6 p.m. Ambrose vs. Kings; 8 p.m. Red Deer vs. CapilanoSaturday, Sept. 26, 6 p.m., Kings vs. Red Deer; 8 p.m., Capilano vs. AmbroseSunday, Sept. 27, 10 a.m., Kings vs. Capilano; 12 p.m., Ambrose vs. Red Deer