Spartans reign at basketball awards

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This article was published 29/04/2014 (3142 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Sisler High School cleaned up at the Basketball Manitoba Awards, which took place April 19 at Victoria Inn Hotel.

In the AAAA category, Sisler Spartans shooting guard Joseph Medrano was named Male Player of the Year, while his teammate Denzel Soliven made the Male All-Manitoba Team.

On the girls’ side, Spartans star Kyanna Giles was awarded Female Player of the Year and her teammate Tiara Licsi was named to the Female All-Manitoba Team.

Photo by Jordan Thompson Sisler High School dominated the 2014 Basketball Manitoba Awards. (Top row, from left) Coach of the Year (junior high) Janelle Ablao, AAAA Female All-Manitoba Team selection Tiara Licsi, AAAA Female Player of the Year Kyanna Giles, AAAA coach of the year (for varsity girls basketball) Michael Tan. Bottom row, from left: AAAA Male All-Manitoba Team selection Denzel Soliven and AAAA Male Player of the Year Joseph Medrano.

Medrano, 18, started playing basketball in Grade 4 in the Filipino community. He said he’s thrilled to win the award in his final year of high school basketball, a year that saw the Sisler varsity boys squad make it to the Final Four in provincials.

“It’s a big accomplishment obviously. It’s an honour, knowing that all the coaches around the province chose me,” Medrano said.

Medrano said he hopes to play Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) basketball with the Manitoba Bisons next season.

For Giles, the award is a bit bittersweet, as she had to miss Sisler’s final game of the season, a 70-53 loss to Vincent Massey in the provincial finals. However, her absence was due to being in Edmonton for the Canadian national’s team identification camp.

The 15-year-old Grade 10 player said she’s determined to make a lot of noise with Sisler next season.

“I’m ready to beat every team out there, setting the tone so everyone is scared to come at us, and hopefully winning provincials next year,” Giles said.

“I’m going to push myself 100 times more.”

Grade 12 players Licsi and Soliven said they plan to continue playing basketball after highschool, Licsi with Canadian Mennonite University, while Soliven will vie for a spot with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. If he cracks the U of W squad, Soliven said it will be due to his work ethic.

“Whenever I worked out, trying to get better, I always had the mindset that I’m the worst player and I have to try and catch up to everyone else,” Soliven said. “This acknowledgment is just proof to myself that hard work really pays off.”

Photo by Jordan Thompson Joseph Medrano and Kyanna Giles were named AAAA players of the year by Basketball Manitoba.

Two Spartans coaches also picked up awards. Varsity girls coach Michael Tan was named AAAA Coach of the Year (for varsity girls basketball), while Janelle Ablao was named Female Coach of the Year in the Junior High category (Sisler’s Grade 9 girls play junior high level basketball).

Tan led his squad to an undefeated season before losing the provincial finals to Vincent Massey. Ablao’s team also sported a perfect record before losing a 47-45 nail-biter to Sargent Park in the provincial finals.

Both coaches credit Sisler’s success to having more and more players completely committed to basketball.

“We’re getting a lot more kids that are playing year-round,” Tan said. “It gives us a better shot with the kids in the south who are playing year-round because they can afford to go to camps and whatnot.”

“We’re trying to get our girls more involved, playing in the summer,” Ablao added. “I’m telling my girls in Grade 9 to try out for other teams, play year-round, even if it’s just outdoor basketball with your friends.”

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