The Elite Basketball Program, which was here in Barriere by Coach Anfinn Siwallace, recently reached out to Bella Coola, the Coach’s home community.
Coach Siwallace, along with Brandon Proppe recently traveled to Bella Coola on July 28, and returned to Barriere Aug. 5, after facilitating basketball clinics within that community. The two leagues that operate in Bella Coola PMJ (Pee Wee, Midget, and Junior) and the Nuxalk Basketball Association (NBA for short) shared the cost of bringing in the Coach and Proppe from Barriere.
Each basketball clinic day consisted of four sessions beginning at 10 a.m. and finishing at 10 p.m. with a lunch break from noon to 1:30 p.m. and supper 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
The main focus of the basketball camp was to develop player skills as well as team play. The evening session from 6 to 8 p.m., provided a coaching clinic for the local coaches in Bella Coola.
Eight coaches attended the nightly sessions. Six junior boys and six junior girls were instructed by Coach Siwallace during the coaches clinic, with team and individual defense, as well as team offense covered each night. Special attention was given to team spirit and sportsmanship both on and off the court.
Flash drives were made available to the coaches, consisting of some of Coach Siwallace’s favorite drills. Proppe performed all of the demonstrations, and did an excellent job of demonstrating the drills.
Coach Siwallace says the participants were wowed by Proppe’s excellent dribbling skills.
Bella Coola resident Christian Siwallace assisted Proppe in demonstrating one-on-one drills. In the beginning Proppe was defeating Christian Siwallace quite easily; however, by the end of the clinic, with the new skills Siwallace had picked up during the clinic the competition evened out.
Players of all ages attended the five day basketball camp, with the youngest being six-years-old, and the oldest refusing to disclose their age.
The second day of the camp participants arrived a bit sore and tired but as each day went by all seemed to be able to rid themselves of their tiredness and stiffness.
On the final day the PMJ had lunch prepared for the participants; hot dogs, fruit, juice and Rice Krispie squares.
After lunch the youth portion of the clinic finished with a four team five-on-five true double knock tourney, consisting of two girls teams and two boys teams. The boy’s team was coached by Proppe, and the girl’s team was coached by Christian Siwallace.
Each game was decided by the first team to score five baskets. Team Shanice won their first two games sending them into the finals. Team Cody had to come through the back door after losing their first game against Team Shanice 5 to 1. Team Cody beat Team Shanice 5-3 and 5-4, to win the championship.
Also, one of the requests of the community organizers was to address “bullying”; therefore Coach Siwallace spoke on the issue each day of the camp both to the youth and the adults. He closed the camp by speaking on the sense of belonging, as everyone has the right to belong in the community no matter what ethnic background an individual may have.
The Elite Basketball Program from Barriere touched the lives of about 40 Bella Coola community members.
Individual pictures were taken with Coach Siwallace and Proppe, then posted on the Bella Coola Events Facebook site. All requested that the program return next year and the organizers have indicated that they will have Coach Siwallace return in 2013. All in all everyone had fun and had the chance to learn new skills and build self-esteem.
T- shirts with the Elite Basketball logo on the front and the motto on the back were offered for sale at the clinic, and all 32 shirts were sold.