Spartans represent at Canada Games

Sisler High School’s Maranan and Alexander compete for Team Manitoba


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This article was published 07/07/2017 (2085 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.


Two Sisler Spartans basketball players are aiming for nothing but net at the 2017 Canada Summer Games.

Two Sisler Spartans basketball players are aiming for nothing but net at the 2017 Canada Summer Games.


Shawn Maranan, 17 and Malachi Alexander, 16, are two of 15 players in the U17 Team Manitoba squad. Both said their summer has been tiring, but thinking of playing against some of the country’s best talents gives them fuel. 

“I’m excited,” Alexander said. “I hope we get to see some of the best talent, so I know where my game is and to look at how we come up to them.”

The young players have been practising for two months two and a half hours almost every day. They’ve just returned from a pre-Canada Games tournament in Regina, Sask., hosted by Basketball Saskatchewan, which ran from June 29 to July 1. They finished with a 3-1 record. They scored victories against teams from Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick and lost 75-72 to Team Alberta.

“We did pretty good…Our guys just started to click now, as time goes on I think we’ll get better as a team,” Maranan, who’s been on Team Manitoba for two years, said.

Alexander recently moved from Quebec to Winnipeg and played against Team Manitoba while he was a member of Team Quebec. They beat Team Manitoba in what he said was a tough game.

“It’s been pretty fun playing with Team Manitoba. It was hard to adjust, but they made it comfortable for me,” he added. “Some of us have really good connections together. Hopefully, we can get a gold medal by the end of the summer.”

Team Manitoba head coach Grant Richter said both Maranan and Alexander are exceptional athletes, and while they play the same position, they have distinct abilities. 

Maranan is not as tall as his other teammates, standing 5-9, but Richter said he’s one of the best point guards he’s ever seen.

“He dribbles, he can go both ways, he passes very well, he sets up the offence, he defends, he’s quick… He can do it all, and we’ve been surprised with the strength of that position,” Richter said.

“He plays excellent defence, he has excellent quickness, excellent understanding of the game so (his height) hasn’t been an issue.”

Maranan has been playing basketball for 12 years. He’s also a volleyball player, but recently he decided to devote his abilities to basketball.

“It’s something I fell in love with at a young age, and I decided to stick with it,” he said.

Although he is one of the youngest players, Alexander has shown an impressive ability to penetrate in the game and finish on big guys. The 6-1 athlete cites Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James as his influence and said he wants to make it to a good college when high school is over.

“I played soccer when I was younger, and then I started to play basketball, and it just clicked,” Alexander said, adding he also played volleyball for the Spartans this year.

“I’m not sure if I will go back to volleyball. If all the guys come back, then maybe I will. But my main sport is basketball.”

Richter added Alexander can be unstoppable when he gives his all on the court.

“He’s really strong for his age and has that really uncanny ability to get to the basket,” he said.

Richter said his team is looking much different than last year’s and that they stand a good chance of keeping the gold medal in the province. In contrast to last year’s team which focused on being athletic and running up and down the court, this year’s team has several big players and guards who can control the game.

However, Richter and his assistant coaches want the guys to give their all, but at the same time, have a good attitude toward the game and the event.

“We’re trying to explain to the guys that this is an experience that we want you to remember for the rest of your lives,” he continued. “We’re really going to enjoy this, and we are going to compete like crazy.”

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