Nova Scotia-born duo looking to make hoop dreams come true with Team Canada at Olympics
HALIFAX -- Two young cousins from the small, historic Nova Scotian communities of North Preston and East Preston are on the verge of something special.
Daneesha Provo and Shay Colley were among Canada's top 20 players taking part in a virtual training camp with the national team last week as their goal of making the Olympic team draws closer to reality.
The 24-year-old Provo, who hails from North Preston, has seen a lot of the planet in her young career.
Provo plays for a German pro team after completing her college career with the University of Utah.
The guard is among 20 women competing for 12 spots on Canada's Olympic roster for Tokyo this summer.
"It gives me a lot of goosebumps because it's always been a dream of mine," said Provo.
But, it's not a dream she dreams alone.
"For the Olympics, it's very big because me and my cousin, we always talked about this at the age of 16," said Provo. "It means so much to me and our family."
The 25-year-old Colley was a star guard at Michigan State. She moved to Toronto at the age of 10, but she remembers her basketball origins in Nova Scotia.
She started out with the East Preston Pacers and it grew from there.
Both have had to overcome knee injuries as both have torn their anterior cruciate ligaments while playing in college.
Provo says she was by no means a natural.
"I was really bad," Provo said. "I was horrible for two or three years."
But, by the time she was 14, she was talented enough to play at a boarding school in Connecticut.
"It was very hard my first year," Provo said. "My dad probably drove down 30 times."
Provo's dad, Danny Castillo, would drive down to watch her games and then head back to Nova Scotia for work. "It was a lot of sacrifice, but it taught me a lot," Provo said.
Shay credits her grandfather in East Preston for inspiring her work ethic.
"It was instilled in me to always work and never give up on your dreams," Colley said.
But now, the dream is bigger.
"I do imagine having a medal -- specifically gold," Colley said. "It does cross my mind."
Colley, who is also the cousin of former Saint Mary's University standout Justine Colley, says she's also motivated knowing she has younger cousins watching her back in Nova Scotia.
"To them seeing Shay on TV is the most exciting thing ever," Colley said. "So, just to see that, we come from small communities, but you can dream big and make your dreams come true one day."
Provo agrees and thinks it's important for girls in Nova Scotia to understand that they can "achieve anything if they set their minds to it."