Queens lock down 13 players for basketball season

Mike Woollard has been busy since taking over as head coach of the RDC Queens basketball squad.

Mike Woollard has been busy since taking over as head coach of the RDC Queens basketball squad.

Woollard, who replaced Dawn Smyth in May, has 13 players committed for next season with only two of them — guards Morgan Schultz and Sarah Williamson — returning from last season. Guard Paveena Narijj is returning after a year as a red shirt.

“I feel both Morgan and Sarah will come in and give us some valuable minutes,” said Woollard, who is coaching the provincial U17 boys’ team in B.C. during July.

Woollard has also added a trio of first-year players at guard in five-foot-three Melissa Woolley and five-foot-seven Dedra Janvier, who are from northern Alberta and played club ball in Edmonton, and five-foot-10 Amrie Bonzio of Munich, Germany.

Bonzio worked out with the Division I team Halle Lions last season during a season that saw them finish second in the German league. She can play either guard position or the wing.

“Her level of experience and leadership should really help us as we progress forward,” said Woollard, who has two players coming in from the Hunting hills Lightning — five-foot-eight wing Carly Kolesnik and six-foot forward Teigan Ponto.

“Carly is very athletic and we’ll be interested to see her at her full potential as she recuperates from a wrist injury,” added Woollard. “Teighan has shown to be very quick and hard working during our workouts and should contribute right away.”

Veterans Erin Weirsma and Lauren Loyek have yet to commit for next season leaving a void up front, but Woollard has added a pair of newcomers who should fill in nicely along with Ponto.

Kaitlyn Bracko comes out of Dr. E.P. Scarlett and Charley Weir from Raymond.Both are listed at six-foot.

“Bracko has the size and strength to be a great asset and is an all-round athlete, who competed in four sports at the high school level,” said Woollard. “Weir didn’t play last year, but is a very talented post player and very athletic.”

Five-foot-11 Amy Sheppard of Saskatoon is expected to add some outside shooting while Desiree Patterson has a similar story to Weir as she didn’t play last year. Patterson spent last year working in Red Deer after coming out of the Salmon Arm program where she was on the B.C. High School AAA All-tournament team.

“Like Charley she may take some time to get back into it, but her natural talent and athleticism will shine,” said Woollard, who rounds out his recruits with Carly Hoar of northern Alberta, who impressed in early workouts.

“I’m very excited about the talent we were able to bring in. It would be nice to add or bring back one or two more players, but if we go into the season with these 13 we’ll compete.”

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