© Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Nowa
The Oxford Midget-Bears celebrate winning the provincial championship by gathering around their newly unfurled provincial banner. The Oxford Midget-Bears are: (front, from left) coach Kendall Black, Kathryn Hickman, Emma Galbraith, Ashley Wheaton, Kiana Stevens, general manager Paul Atkinson, (back, from left) assistant coach Deiter Warwick, Bethany Warwick, Reese Black, Taylor Mattinson, Emma Oderkirk, Chelsea Atkinson and Mackenzie Mattinson.
OXFORD - The Oxford Midget girls recently won the Basketball Nova Scotia Division 4 Midget Girls provincial championship in St. Margaret’s.
It was their second midget title in a row.
“Head coach Kendal Black instilled hard work and the girls went 4-0 at the provincials,” said Paul Atkinson, Oxford girl’s general manager.
Atkinson’s daughter Chelsea won her second championship with the team.
“The first time I won provincials it was an unbelievable feeling,” said Chelsea. “This year many of the girls on the team won their first provincial title and it was nice to be able to share the experience with them.”
Chelsea congratulated Reese Black who received the team-tournament MVP, and Bethany Warwick who was the tournament all-star.
She says the tournament in St. Margaret’s was very well run.
“It was at the Canada Games complex,” said the 13-year-old. “It’s a beautiful facility. I loved playing there.”
Chelsea and Paul are both from Springhill and say many of the Basketball Nova Scotia teams in Cumberland County are a combination of players from different towns throughout the county that are put together with little notice. They often compete against much more experienced teams from Halifax.
“There’s some really good basketball players that are going to come out of this area, including Sydney Balser from Springhill, Regan Swan from Oxford, and Bethany Warwick from Oxford,” said Atkinson.
Atkinson has a lot of experience coaching Junior C hockey in Cumberland County, but is new to the game of basketball.
“I never took an interest in the game until Chelsea got involved but basketball is a very exciting game,” he said.
Atkinson has had some run-ins with hockey referees in his career but says basketball referees have zero tolerance for arguments.
“Hockey and basketball are similar in a lot of ways other than, with basketball, the refereeing is very tight-lipped.”
Atkinson says he’s learned a lot from the more experienced coaches in Cumberland County.
“Amherst Selects coach Charlie Chambers is a veteran basketball coach and anybody who has coached with him or against him will learn a lot,” said Atkinson. “We played against them this year, and watching him and Kendall Black coach against each other was certainly a treat for me because I got to see two great coaches in action.”
Both Paul and Chelsea congratulated all the other basketball teams in Cumberland County on their provincial success.