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Tuesday, May. 21, 2019
Coach Filion and company take their game to Thunder Bay
by Randy Pascal

One would think that coach Richard Filion would already have his fill of basketball, guiding the Sudbury Jam U19 Girls alongside John Desormeaux the past few years.

Apparently not.

Easter weekend would find Filion and another group of young female hardcourt talent up in Thunder Bay, site of a small tournament hosted by Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario. Events such as these have been put in motion to serve as talent identification opportunities for athletes who might ultimately compete in the North American Indigenous Games.

Molding a team with players coming from Manitoulin Island (Wikwemikong), Moose Factory, Timmins and Sudbury, the squad of 14 to 17 year olds were in tough to start, facing a Treaty 3 team that featured a 6'3" post, an athletic point guard blessed with phenomenal defensive acumen, and a second guard recruited to attend a Division I NCAA school.

Though Filion and company would drop that contest by 21 points, their spirits remained high, evidenced through a bounce-back victory over Pelican Falls by a final score of 55-14. A rematch the next day produced an equally dominant Sudbury performance, completing the sweep with a 53-25 triumph and setting up a final versus the Treaty 3 all-stars.

Their opponents came out guns a blazing, building up a 19 point advantage by half-time, but that margin would increase no further, as the locals and friends rode the leadership of Josée Filion and Mackenzie Innes, completing the contest down by that very same 19 points that Treaty 3 had established early.

"We were super happy with the outcome, receiving silver medals, and were even happier with the way the girls represented the Sudbury and Timmins areas," said coach Filion. "This fantastic event enabled our youth to be active on the court, develop new friendships, and participate in our indigenous community."

Joining Filion and Innes on the roster were Tristen Wapachee, Ava Gustafson, Hope Osawamick, Emma Sutherland, Talia Eusepi, Ava Beatty, Calee Hunter, Tessa Thomas, Emily Ashamock and assistant coaches Mia Filion and Josh Carpenter.

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