A talented young basketball player from Estevan will represent Saskatchewan at the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara Falls.
Frances Aceron, who is in Grade 10 at the Estevan Comprehensive School, found out recently she had been selected. She will play on the under-18 female team, even though she was eligible to play for the under-17 squad.
She decided to try out after receiving encouragement from ECS Elecs’ senior girls’ basketball coach Jessie Smoliak after this past season.
“She told me it would be a really good idea if you were to try out, even if it was just to see who your competition was,” said Aceron.
Once she arrived at the camp, the coaches tested out all of her skills and abilities, and then she was invited for another tryout.
Aceron believes she was selected because there weren’t a lot of point guards at the camp.
“I know there are a lot of girls that are really well-rounded, like a lot of guards, but my kind of skill that I brought to the team was being a [point] guard,” said Aceron.
During the season, she had to distribute the ball, know the team’s plays and understand her role.
At first she was surprised because she made the U18 squad instead of the U17 team. Aceron and her family thought there was a typo on her invitation. But the coaches believed she would play her role well and help the athletes mesh as a team.
Team Saskatchewan will have four practices, and then head to their first tournament in Brandon. Other competitions are scheduled for Edmonton and Vancouver before they head to Niagara.
“I’ve practised with them once. It was up in Saskatoon, and we had about eight one-hour practices in one weekend,” said Aceron.
She also expects they will enjoy some team bonding during the tournaments.
Aceron has known some of her Team Saskatchewan colleagues through Basketball Saskatchewan when she was younger. She also played some from rural communities during the Elecs’ basketball season.
“I’m getting to know them this season,” said Aceron.
Sports have long been a big part of Aceron’s life. When she was younger, she was into soccer and gymnastics. She had to make a decision when she was in Grade 5 which sport she wanted to focus on, and she picked basketball.
“One of my favourite things about the game, is not only the competitiveness of the sport, but also meeting new friends and being able to meet new people and develop relationships with friends. That’s really important, and one of the most important things with sports.”
In addition to her time in Estevan, she has played in Regina and for a club team in the U.S.
She is grateful to the school and club basketball programs for helping with her development.
“I really owe playing club and playing high school a big part of my development, because it’s where I got to develop my skill and hone things and learn a lot experiences. Especially playing with older girls, it was really important. It pushes you to not only develop skills, but know the knowledge of playing someone older or someone more experienced. You can gain a lot of knowledge from that.”
She is looking forward to seeing how much playing at the Canada Games helps with her development.
“It will be really exciting to see teams from all over Canada, like British Columbia and Alberta … and playing with some of the top girls in the province and in the country,” said Aceron.