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Young west coast female basketball players short listed for 2021 Canada Games squad


Some of the top female basketball players on the west coast have become closer to representing the province on the Canada Games stage.

Six female players from Corner Brook have been named to the pool of potential athletes for the Newfoundland and Labrador female basketball team heading to the 2021 Canada Summer Games in Ontario's Niagara region.

Laura Taylor, Charlotte Sweetapple, Cali Breen, Kanako Toba, Katelynn Howell and Lauren Hurley are among the 36 athletes in the mix for a spot on the 12-member team.

The girls will spend a weekend in May training in St. John’s to get a better sense of the competition that stands before them. The roster will eventually be whittled down to 12, but to help the coaching staff decide who wears the provincial colours players will participate in a two-week training regime in the capital city in early July before travelling to Montreal for a big showcase basketball tournament to get a gauge on the development of the team at this point.

The Star talked to the athletes in the running, as well as provincial U14 female basketball coach Sarah Purchase, about the opportunity being presented to them early in their basketball careers.

Question: What would it mean to you to be selected to play (or coach) basketball for Newfoundland and Labrador at the 2021 Canada Summer Games in Niagara?

Laura Taylor

Hometown: Corner Brook

Parents: Connie & Steve Taylor

Age:13

Height: Five-foot-seven

Answer: It would be a big honour to represent Newfoundland. You’re picked out of many, many great basketball players out of Newfoundland and you’re selected as one of them to play so that’s an honour.

Charlotte Sweetapple

Hometown: Corner Brook

Parents: Nancy and Dennis Sweetapple

Age: 14

Height: Five-foot-seven

Answer: It would mean a lot to me because me and all the girls have worked really hard to get where we are now and to represent Newfoundland at the Canada Games would be a great experience.

Cali Breen

Hometown: Corner Brook

Parents: Tammy and Frank Breen

Age: 13

Height: Five-foot-nine

Answer: It would be a huge honour and I’d be really happy, obviously. I would feel like all my hard work paid off. I have to put a lot of time and dedication into it now.

Kanako Toba

Hometown: Corner Brook

Parents: Natalie and Hiroaki Toba

Age: 14

Height: Five-foot-four

Answer: I feel lucky that I got chosen (for the tryouts) and I can’t wait to play. I’d be very happy and excited to play for Newfoundland and I will try my best.

Katelynn Howell

Hometown: Corner Brook

Parents: Deanna and Wakefield Howell

Age: 13

Height: Five-foot-10

Answer: It would be an honour because Newfoundland is just full of great basketball players and just to be one of them to make the Canada Games team would just be insane. I think that I have to work twice as hard and do my best.

Lauren Hurley

Hometown: Massey Drive

Parents: Cory and Kristie Hurley

Age: 13

Height: Five-foot-three

Answer: It would be a really good opportunity to improve skills and make new friends, and just to be able to play for my province would be an amazing feeling and I’d just be really proud of myself because it would be great to play. I have to work hard and put a lot of training into it because nothing comes easy and I have to show them what I got.

Sarah Purchase (Assistant coach provincial U14 female team)

Hometown: Corner Brook

Age: 24

Years coaching: 8

Answer: As assistant coach, it’s a great experience to work with this group of girls. There’s a lot of potential and we have high hopes that they’ll be very successful when we travel. I would love to be part of the coaching staff for the Games because I think it would be an amazing experience.

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