The school may be small in size, but the Conestogo Public School girls’ basketball team packs quite a punch, remaining undefeated against any other team in the region for the past four years.
The team, a mix of newer and rep players, has also won the championship for the past three years, and is looking to keep that perfect record intact.
“We played against the top A and B teams for the past two years and beat them pretty handily this year as well,” said assistant coach Aidan McLellan. “So I’d say we’re probably the best team in the region. Unfortunately, because of the school size, they won’t let us go higher than AA in the playoffs.”
McLellan began coaching the team to help out his little sister, Caela. It grew into a passion and he continued coaching for several years, noting the increased skill progression in the players over time.
“We’ve had three rep players – my sister in Grade 5, and two other girls in Grade 5 – who all complement each other very nicely; they’ve really grown, and they’ve been the anchoring force,” said McLellan. “But what’s really cool is watching the other girls who haven’t played basketball before pick it up and grow with them. It’s not just the three of them, it’s everyone else who’s helping them too.”
“We’re top-heavy, but have a deep defence. It’s great to see all the girls come together and not have any egos – I haven’t seen any drama the past couple years or anything, it’s very cool
The girls practice on average twice a week, save for weeks that they play other public school basketball teams across the region.
“We have kids who bring out the best in each other,” added assistant coach Laura McMillan. “We try to focus on the team, and capitalize on their knowledge of other sports – a lot of them are hockey players. We have several basketball players, but a lot of them play hockey, ringette or soccer. And they understand the concept of defence… And then [head coach] Jamie takes those concepts of defence and applies them to basketball.”
Rounding out the coaching staff of the team is Conestogo PS phys-ed teacher Jamie Robertson. Caela McLennan, Jessica Schmitt, Emily Ferguson, Niya Garan, Lottie Martin, Keturah Martin, Abby Schill, Serena Hoag, Eadyn Meier, Gwyneth Martin, Macy Weber, Emma Cote, Brooke Rempel, Delaney Cortes make up the winning combination.