Battle at the Border basketball tournament coming to St. Stephen

Erin Ingalls of Charlotte County plays for the Port City Fog of the Maritime Women’s Basketball Association. (MWBA)

ST. STEPHEN — The Moncton Mystics, Fredericton Freeze, Port City (Saint John) Fog and Miramichi Her-icanes will compete in the Battle at the Border tournament at St. Stephen High School from April 27 to 28, playing for for the World’s Oldest Basketball Court Trophy.

The Maritime Women’s Basketball Association (MWBA) also includes the Halifax Thunder, the Halifax Hornets, and Lake City (Dartmouth, N.S.) 56ers.

“We had looked at having all seven teams but it’s just something that logistically couldn’t work because of scheduling and accommodation,” league founder Brad Janes said.

The Port City lineup features Charlotte County’s Erin Ingalls and league MVP Kaylee Kilpatrick.

“Saint John would be the closest team to St. Stephen, so we’re hoping both Kaylee and Erin are there,” he said. “Kaylee’s a former professional and a Division 1 player and Erin is a very good player at UNB who came up through Charlotte County.”

During the tournament, under-13 and under-14 girl’s teams from Fredericton, Saint John and St. Stephen will play exhibition matches.

On Saturday, April 27 at 9 a.m. the Junior Fog U13 team will face St. Stephen, then at 10:15 a.m., the St. Stephen U14 side will play the Junior Fog. At 11:30 a.m., the U13 team from St. Stephen takes on the Fredericton Fusion. The St. Stephen U14 side plays again at 2:45 p.m. against the Fredericton Fusion.

“That’s a big part of what our league does,” Janes. It’s very popular with young women so it’s an opportunity for them to get out and play and then watch our games.”

The consolation game is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, and the championship final will be at 1 p.m.

There is an advantage to holding the tournament outside the tourist season, noted Janes.

“Just before we’re getting nice weather and the tail end of bad weather, just an opportunity for something different,” he said. “It’s just really good to be able to spread our league around … We want to show how strong the MWBA is and how much talent there is in the league. We’re looking forward to it.”

Janes also pointed to another effort to grow the sport in the region: the work to convince the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame to relocate to the world’s oldest basketball court, recently discovered in a former YMCA building on King Street in St. Stephen, which developers are working to turn into a museum and basketball centre.

“That’s quite a project that that group is putting together to make that a major tourist attraction,” he said. “They have the building there. They’ve had a number of fundraising events over the last few years. The artists’ rendition of it would make it an interactive facility. It’s just going to be a huge tourist attraction in the town. For us to get them involved, because there are certainly some real movers and shakers with that group, we’re pleased that we’re able to combine it.”

Jake Boudrot

A graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and a resident of Arichat, Jake Boudrot is an award-winning journalist with decades of experience as a freelancer, reporter and editor representing media outlets across the Maritimes.