Viveros learning on the fly

It’s been a big learning experience for Paola Viveros over the last six years.

Jason McCaw of Team Light flies to the hoop during Light’s 79-49 win at the CASAA 32nd Annual Senior Bowl at the Red Deer College on Wednesday.

Light 62 Dark 54

It’s been a big learning experience for Paola Viveros over the last six years.

The first and possibly the most difficult experience for the native of Columbia was to learn the language. The second was to learn to play basketball.

Viveros, who will graduate from Notre Dame this year, moved to Red Deer six years ago with her two brothers and two sisters. Her dad was already in the city, but her mother still remains in Columbia.

“I didn’t speak English at all when I moved here and that was hard at the beginning,” she said. “It also made learning basketball a little difficult because I didn’t understand the language.”

Viveros attended Central Middle School when she arrived in Red Deer, then switched to St. Pat’s, where she took up basketball in Grade 8.

“That was my first experience with the sport and I really liked it,” she said.

But it was a slow development for the five-foot-11 post player.

She didn’t play high school basketball until Grade 11 and then only with the junior varsity team. This year she moved up to the senior squad.

“I didn’t play in Grade 10, only volleyball,” explained Viveros, who helped the Light squad record a 62-54 victory over the Dark team in the girls’ portion of the Central Alberta 3A/4A Senior Bowl at RDC Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Light team beat the Dark squad 79-49 in the boys’ contest.

Viveros spent a lot of extra time this year working on her skills.

“This year really helped me develop as a player. I learned a lot about driving to the hoop and I spent time with the coaches after practice working on my shooting. That wasn’t easy and I still have a lot of work ahead of me in that area. Plus my defence still needs work, that’s a tough part of the game.”

The 18-year-old Viveros will attend the RDC Queens ID camp, April 3-4, and is expected to be on hand when the Queens open camp next fall.

She could have looked at sticking with volleyball, but that wasn’t her first love.

“I love playing basketball and I didn’t want to go to college and play something I didn’t like doing. I do hate running, but I’m going for it,” she said with a laugh.

Viveros finished with five points Wednesday while Rachel Christenson of Wetaskiwin led the Light squad with 14 points. Chantel Heier of Stettler, Shea Greene of Wetaskiwin and Sam Fraser of Notre Dame added six points each.

Krystal Reitsma of West Central in Rocky Mountain House and Baujke Buruma of Ponoka had eight points each for the Dark squad with Tayler Letwin of Sylvan Lake hitting seven and Melody McKay of Sylvan Lake six.

Light 79 Dark 49

The Light squad pulled away in the second half after leading 34-30 at the half.

Jesse Cheema of Notre Dame had 15 points for the winners while David Shantz of Wetaskiwin, Hayden Meador of Notre Dame and Jason McCaw of West Central added 11 points each.

Dan Portas of Camrose led the Dark side with 20 points while Landon Miller of Camrose added nine.

• Shantz will be invited to the RDC Kings ID camp Friday and Saturday at RDC . . . Queens head coach Dawn Smyth is expected to invited ”two or three” other players besides Viveros to her ID camp, including Reitsma and Christenson.

Contact Danny Rode at

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