U17 girl's national basketball ready for New Caledonia
Guam's U17 girl's national basketball team is preparing for the FIBA Oceania tournament in New Caledonia next week. Coach Jimmy Yi says the team is young and filled with first time players to the national team program. Guam will play Australia, New Zealand and Samoa for their first 3 games of the tournament.
Jimmy Yi, Head Coach, said, "We leave on Saturday the 17th and we will get there a couple of hours early. We'll have Sunday to rest and shoot around and get ready for the game on Monday. We have been prepping for the last 3 to 4 months now, 3-4 times a week so we're ready as we can be."
Leading the way for Team Guam is captain Alana Salas. Size will be the teams disadvantage as in other elite competitions but speed will be Guam's biggest asset.
Salas said, "I've seen the level of competition and I know that they are bigger than us and some of them play already in college. They eat, sleep and breathe this sport. I guess we have to just use our speed and make smart play making decisions and not turn the ball over as many times. Just be smarter than the other teams and control the pace of the game."
The team will have to adjust quickly to the physical style of play FIBA rules allow and not let the game get out of hand. Guam hosted the 2017 U17 FIBA tournament where Australia took the title 81-60 over New Zealand.
Myka Terlaje with Team Guam G said, "It's an honor to represent our island and just really excited to play out there. Getting more reps, like practicing our plays, post work and just communicating on the court so it will be easier for us to work together."
The girl's national team program picked up wins over Palau and New Caledonia 2-years. The team will have to knock down shots in order to have success in New Caledonia.
Salas added, "Everyone is excited. Of course we are nervous, this is a whole new team. We have never played with each other in previous tournaments like this so it's just excitement and nervousness but we're honored and blessed to play for Guam."