Knight set to join the college Wolfpack
Basketball: Holy Trinity Academy student commits to Thompson Rivers University
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 06:00 am
Seeing is believing for a coach of an up-and-coming university women’s basketball team.
Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) Knight Ryan Kennedy secured a scholarship to Thompson Rivers University after Wolfpack coach Scott Reeves actually saw her play and offered her a chance to commit to the post-secondary school in Kamloops, B.C.
“I was aware of Ryan about a year and a half ago when a person in our PE department said his friend’s daughter was about six feet tall and a pretty good athlete,” Reeves said. “So I started phoning around to some Alberta high school coaches to hear what kind of player she was.”
Reeves finally got a chance to see Kennedy, the daughter of former Calgary Flame Sheldon Kennedy, in person when her summer club team made a visit to Kamloops to play a tournament in 2012.
Was he impressed with the Grade 12 student’s play?
“I was impressed enough to have her out for a visit and offer her a spot on the team,” Reeves said. “What I liked was her length and her pure athleticism. She can shoot it from 15 to 18 feet, can drive to the basket and I think she will be a good rebounder. Most of all, she is a good student and a good person and that is what really impressed me.”
Kennedy, who just turned 17, said she has benefitted from playing under coaches Ken Power and Ashley Herzog at HTA for the past three seasons in getting her ready for university ball.
“Coach Power and coach Herzog have both definitely helped me the last three years,” Kennedy said. “I would also have to say that Kristen Ford helped me a lot when I was in Grade 10. She was a Grade 12 player and she helped me focus more.”
Ford has played the last two years for Trinity Western University, who are one of Thompson Rivers University’s rivals in the Pacific Division of the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS).
Kennedy said she has always been one of the younger players on the court. It’s taught her to grow up quickly on the court.
“It has pushed me to be a better player,” Kennedy said. “In club ball, I was always the youngest player and it has always been better to play against tougher competition.”
Always being one of the youngest in her grade made her realize quickly she had to get stronger — the meek might inherit the Earth, but they won’t get a lot rebounds.
“I was pretty weak in my beginning year of high school and I was getting pushed around a lot,” Kennedy said. “I worked out a lot last summer and got myself in shape and this year I like to think I am one of the stronger girls on the court.”
Kennedy may be one of the taller players on the Knights but her strong ball-handling skills has her playing a position usually reserved for a smaller person on the team. She brings the ball up for the Knights as the team’s point guard.
She is also one of the team’s leaders along with fellow Grade 12 standout Kylie Pozniak.
“It has been a big different because I have been a post for the past two years,” Kennedy said. “I am also looked on more as a leader which is nice because we have so many rookies
The Knights are currently 2-2 in the Foothills Athletic Council, losing their first game after the Christmas break when they lost to the Strathmore Spartans on Jan. 9
She said it was a wake-up call to herself and the Knights they can’t take anybody for granted.
“We beat Strathmore before and I think everybody just kind of thought it would be really easy,” Kennedy said.
She said she is confident the team can gel in time for the South Central Zones as the Knights attempt to get back to the 3A provincials for the third consecutive year.
However, right now Kennedy is more interested in scoring high on her Grade 12 diploma exams rather than racking up points on a scoresheet.
She wrote her English 30 and Math this week.
Being a good student will help her as she makes the adjustment to university ball. So will playing some point guard in high school, according to Reeves.
“She won’t be a point guard here — she will play the three or four spot,” Reeves said. “Her basic skill set needs to improve so her playing point guard in high school is not a bad thing. She has to learn to attack the basket and play under pressure. That will help her basketball IQ.”
He said there will be a sharp-learning curve for Kennedy with the Wolfpack, who are 11-4 and sit second in the Pacific Division of the CIS.
The Knights will resume Foothills Athletic Council action on Feb. 4 when they play the Highwood Mustangs in High River.
The first-place Foothills Falcons will resume play on Feb. 6 when they travel to play the Strathmore Spartans.
In Tier II play, the Oilfields Drillers will play the Holy Cross Collegiate Hawks on Feb. 4 in Strathmore and the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans will host the Notre Dame Collegiate Timberwolves also on Feb. 4.