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Pelham girls shine in Games B-ball

Two Pelham basketball players took home bronze medals in women’s basketball at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.

Two Pelham basketball players took home bronze medals in women’s basketball at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.

Fenwick’s Corrynn Parker, 17, and 15-year-old Sarah Hurley, of Fonthill, suited up for Team Ontario, who beat Quebec 57-36 to earn the trip to the podium Saturday, August 13.

Both girls, who have been playing with the Kia Nurse Elite Youth Basketball League summer program, were over the moon at the opportunity to compete against the other 12 provinces and territories right in their backyards.

“It’s great to represent Team Ontario,” Parker said. “A lot of my family members came out to watch the games. This is a big event, so it’s nice that they can experience it with me.”

The 5’10” Parker, who has played with the Welland Warriors and the Niagara Girls Basketball Academy, and now traverses the court for the Niagara Prep program, says she got invited to try out for Team Ontario in June. Parker found out she had been selected just two weeks before the Canada Summer Games.

Sarah with her father. PAUL SAMPARA

“We were at a tournament,” she said, “when [Coach] Jobina [D’Alosio] called me to give me the news. I was pretty happy.”

Hurley found out she had been selected even closer to the opening game on Monday, August 8.

“I just got called up a couple of days before the games,” Hurley said. “They lost a couple of girls and they needed another player. They’re all U18 and U17 players and I’m a U16, so this is a step up for me to play with older players. It’s a good learning experience to play with them.”

It’s a good learning experience to play with them

To prepare for the competition, Parker and Hurley joined Team Ontario for pre-Games training sessions at Greater Fort Erie Secondary School, where Coach D’Alosio had her first real chance to get all the players together.

“They really focused on team bonding,” Hurley said. “We had lots of practices, and we stayed together at the dorms [during the games], getting to know each other really well.”

Hurley said playing three of the team’s six games at Niagara College’s Welland campus gym was a bonus for her, it being so familiar from her time playing with the Pelham Panthers and the Niagara Juel program. And though the 6’0” forward and Parker haven’t played together, it was great having a familiar Niagara face on Team Ontario with her.

Ontario stormed right out of the gate in game one, doubling up on PEI 95-47 at Niagara College. They followed that Monday win with an 83-55 victory over Manitoba on August 9 at the Meridian Centre. The two wins made them the top seed in Pool B moving into the qualification round.

It was back to Niagara College Wednesday for a mismatch against Team Yukon. Team Ontario punched its ticket into the quarter-finals with a 120-17 victory.

They knocked off British Columbia in that round 86-70 at the Meridian Centre, and had to face a tough Team Alberta that included Hurley’s cousin, 17-year-old Maya Flindell of St. Albert. Flindell, whose family traveled to Niagara to watch the cousins play, ended up with bragging rights after Alberta’s 80-71 win at Niagara College.

The bronze medal game was played at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines. Hurley and Parker both contributed to the team’s lowest-scoring victory of the Games, a 57-36 win over Team Quebec. Parker had three points, three rebounds and an assist, while Hurley nailed her only shot of the game, a three-pointer, and had two steals.

Flindell’s Alberta team went on to beat Saskatchewan 71-60 to take home the gold.