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Lethbridge teammates win gold with Team Alberta at 2019 Western Canada Summer Games

Click to play video: 'High school teammates win gold with Team Alberta at 2019 Western Canada Summer Games'
High school teammates win gold with Team Alberta at 2019 Western Canada Summer Games
WATCH ABOVE: Teammates from a Lethbridge high school, Ryan Evans and Dray Walburger got the chance to represent Alberta together earlier this month. Danica Ferris has more on the 16-year-olds. – Aug 26, 2019

Lethbridge high-schoolers Ryan Evans and Dray Walburger took home gold medals as members of Team Alberta’s men’s basketball team earlier this month at the 2019 Western Canada Summer (WCSG) games in Swift Current, Sask.

The 16-year-old athletes attend Lethbridge Collegiate Institute (LCI) and have played both basketball and football together.

“It’s always good to have somebody that you know,” Walburger said, “like a teammate that you can have chemistry [with] on the team.”

Evans agreed that pre-existing chemistry was a nice bonus as they started to train with Team Alberta.

“We like just kind of knew where each other were on the court,” Evans said. “It helped a lot.”

As members of Team Alberta, they went undefeated in the round robin before facing Team Saskatchewan in the final. A decisive 90-70 win secured them the gold medal.

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“We played well as a team,” Walburger said.

Alberta led the 2019 WCSG medal standings with 299 total podium appearances, including 129 golds.

Team Alberta featured more than a dozen Lethbridge representatives, with athletes and coaches hailing from the city competing in an array of the competition’s 16 events.

For Evans and Walburger, the opportunity was a chance to compete at a high level during the off-season, before high school sports begin.

“In the spring, I didn’t really get a chance to do basketball,” Evans said. “It kind of gave me a lot of practice… and [helped me with] getting ready for next season.”

Evans said he will continue to play basketball in his final two years of high school, even though his ambitions lie in football and track and field.

“I’ll always play basketball because it’s fun, and I like to be with my friends and everything; and I’m not bad at it, I guess,” he laughed.

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For Walburger, his goals now lie solely in basketball after quitting football, and he has high hopes for his final two years of high school ball.

“[I want to] win a provincial championship,” he said, “and receive a scholarship and play somewhere after high school.”

With his love of the game, Walburger said the growth of basketball in Canada has been neat to watch.

“I notice it a lot,” he said. “Like, hockey is the main sport [in Canada], but basketball is gaining popularity and it’s awesome to see.”
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