Justine Colley is not quite on top of the world, but she’s close.
The East Preston basketball standout returned home this week after helping Canada to a fourth-place finish at the FIBA world women’s under-19 championships in Bangkok. She is ecstatic about the result, with good reason — it marked Canada’s all-time best finish at the event by five places.
Colley, the fifth-youngest player on the roster, came off the bench at point guard and averaged 17 minutes a game along with four points, three rebounds and 1.25 steals.
“I can’t ask for anything better,” said Colley, a two-time most valuable player of the metro high school circuit with the Halifax Grammar Gryphons. “It’s every girl’s dream to play for her country and it feels great to do so well.”
Canada went 3-3 in the round robin and edged past Australia 50-49 in the quarter-finals. But they lost 82-51 to the eventual champions, the United States, in the semifinals, and 58-51 to Argentina in the bronze-medal game.
Although that game slipped away — tied 50-50 in the dying minutes — the strong finish helped Canada climb one spot to 12th in FIBA’s latest world ranking.
“The highlight was our ability to play as a team,” the 18-year-old Colley said. “Even though we weren’t together for very long, we still came together and got the job done.”
Colley, who aspires to one day play for the senior national team, will now turns her focus to the Saint Mary’s Huskies. Her experience at the FIBA level should serve her well as a freshman at the Atlantic University Sport level.
“At my age group not many ladies have had the opportunity to play at such a high level,” she said. “It’s an eye-opener and I think I’ll be ready for anything that’s thrown at me.”