In men’s basketball action, all eyes were turned on the much-anticipated televised gold medal game between the powerful team from Ontario and the underdogs of Alberta.

Ontario started in force, taking a 15-point lead early in the game. However, Alberta never gave up and kept fighting. The hard work paid off as Alberta managed to keep the gap at 13 points heading into the locker room.

The second half continued to be an all-Ontario affair. Missing two of their top starters due to injury, Alberta rallied together, but the sheer power of the Ontario team proved to be too much.

Once the dust settled, Alberta came away with the silver medal, dropping the final 108-65.

Coach Clay Pottinger, a teacher at Red Deer College, is proud of the overall accomplishments of his team. “Our main objective here was to play a style of basketball that we had been working on for the last six weeks. The second objective for us was to ensure we were peaking at the right time. It was quite important to follow our periodization plan and arrive here prepared. That definitely played into our performance here.”

The team prepared much differently for this tournament than what they were used to, selecting their teams on June 24 after a single selection camp. “It was a bit of a gamble shortening up the preparation. We wanted to make sure we wouldn’t burn up the athletes,” explained the former player from the University of Alberta.

And the key to success was all about defense. “We have been defending well, and that’s something we’ve emphasized from square one. We wanted to make sure we defended well, and that’s what set us up for success here.”

“There was a lot of changes at Basketball Alberta in the last year. We’ve had lots of coaching changes, lots of kids turning around. We approached our team selection a little bit differently, and that’s what made the difference for us. We have the hardest working kids in the province right here.”

Impressively, this silver medal is a remarkable victory for Alberta’s men, who finished a disappointing 10th place, second last, at the last Canada Games in Sherbrooke. This competitive matchup for the gold medal was a success for Basketball Alberta.