Pallister part of Team 'Toba
Portage la Prairie-born basketball player Shawn Pallister has committed to play for the U of W, beginning in 2014-15.
Not too many teenage basketball players in the province can say they've had the successful 2013 that Shawn Pallister has had on the court.
The Portage la-Prairie born player, and daughter of provincial Tory leader Brian Pallister, will be heading to the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., as part of the 17U Manitoba female basketball team that begins play Aug. 12.
And she'll be looking to add to her trophy case as Pallister was part of the Oak Park Raiders varsity team that won the MHSAA provincial championship back in March.
"I've never done a tournament that's this big and it's really cool because it happens once every four years, so I'm lucky to do that," Pallister said, before heading to Sherbrooke.
A resident of Winnipeg, Pallister played in the Manitoba Games last summer and also competed at the 16U Western Canadian Cadet Championships in Edmonton last August. Now 17, she says the competition will be significantly stronger in Sherbrooke.
"It's hard competition, because they're the best from all the provinces," Pallister said. "Some of the people last summer were already on this team, the 17U team, and went up and now I get to play with them and they already have that year of experience. This is a great opportunity, because I can really learn from them."
Those players on the 17U provincial team from 2012 returning in 2013 include the likes of Susanna Namgung (Miles Mac), Heidi Smith (Virden Collegiate), Sara Ibrahim (Glenlawn), Nikki Majewski (Westwood), Montana Kinzel (Linden Christian) and Jasmine Ibrahim (Glenlawn). Pallister's teammate from Oak Park, Winnipeg's Jordan Tully, will also be part of the squad.
The team has competed at recent tournaments in Minneapolis and Regina, recording solid results, said Pallister, including games against the Saskatchewan provincial team and the University of Regina.
"We actually played Saskatchewan in our final game (in Minnesota)," Pallister said. "The teams in the States are hard, but we were able to get better playing against them."
Pallister said adding a medal from the Games to her provincial title is definitely a possibility. Pallister and the Raiders were the top seed at the MHSAA girls provincials and defeated Garden City, Sisler and Glenlawn to claim provincial honours. Pallister will be back on the team for her final year of high school, looking for a repeat.
But for now, her focus is on wearing her provincial colours proud and helping Manitoba make some noise on the national stage.
"Usually B.C. and Ontario are powerhouses," Pallister said. "But I think we're a really good team as well and I think if we work really hard, we'll do pretty good as well."