Coming out of Hunting Hills High School Teighan Ponto wasn’t sure what her future held.
She was looking at attending college and while she was recruited to play basketball, she wasn’t sure that’s something she wanted to do.
During the summer that changed. Ponto decided to accept an offer to attend RDC and play for the Queens, and it’s been a move that’s benefitted both parties.
“I realized I wasn’t ready to stop playing competitive ball and I’m enjoying it,” she said. “It’s been a big change from high school as every girl here wants to play, they’re just not students from school . . . everyone is competitive.”
Ponto has adjusted to the speed, size and intensity of the college game and is averaging a respectable 4.13 points per game and 3.75 rebounds.
“It’s taken some time to get used to it, but it’s coming,” she said.
One of the difficulties in adjusting to the college ranks is that head coach Mike Woollard has asked her to play both the two-guard position and the post.
At six-foot and with one of the best verticals on the team, she fits in at post, but is more comfortable on the outside.
“Really I’m not big enough to play the post as I’m up against some big girls,” she said.
But on the outside she’s facing some of the premier players in the league.
“It’s a lot different at this level as the guards are a lot faster, but I do have my quickness, which actually helps me inside as I’m more mobile than some of the post players. It just takes different skills at the two positions.”
Ponto got into basketball in Grade 8 while at Camille J. Lerouge.
“It was then I figured out I liked the sport,” said Ponto, who decided to attend Hunting Hills instead of Notre Dame.
“All my friends were going to the Hills, and I liked their team,” she said.
Woollard likes what he sees from Ponto.
“I’m really happy with what I’ve got out of Teighan,” he said. “She’s a positive young lady who works hard. No matter if she starts, like she did earlier, or comes in off the bench, she has a great attitude and is getting better every day, every week.
“A couple of weeks ago she had a tough weekend, but she worked hard and this weekend she got rid of those mistakes. That’s a testament to her work ethic. She’s in the gym a couple of times a week working on some things and it’s starting to show.”
Ponto is one of 12 rookies on the team, so it’s been a slow process for the team, which is 0-8 on the season.
“We’re a whole team of rookies and everyone has their rookie mistakes,” she said. “It’s a little frustrating and tough to get out of that, but we have to grow up fast.”
Despite the losses, she feels the team is headed in the right direction.
“For sure. You can see it in practice. We just have to figure out what the next steps are.”
That could be learning to win, as the Queens have been right there on more than one occasion this season, but just fell short.
“We want to win but we still need to figure each other out and our strengths.”
The Queens will be in for another tough weekend as they finish the first half of the season. They host the undefeated Kings University College Eagles Friday and visit Lakeland Saturday. The women tip off at 6 p.m. with the men to follow.
The Kings head into the weekend looking to forget about their first loss of the season — 79-76 to SAIT — that saw them drop out of the No. 1 ranking in the nation down to No. 4.
• The volleyball Queens took a jump in the national rankings following their weekend sweep of the NAIT Ooks. The Queens moved up to No. 7 while the Ooks dropped to 11. Grant MacEwan, who split a weekend doubleheader with Briercrest, dropped from No. 1 to No. 3.
The Kings are ranked No. 1.
The volleyball squads have finished the 2012 portion of their schedule.
• The hockey Queens have a tough test this week as they face the league-leading Ooks, who are one point up on RDC, in a home-and-home series — Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena and Friday at NAIT.
• The ACAC curling season opens this weekend at Grande Prairie with RDC having teams in all three divisions — women, men and mixed.
• Volleyball swept the Boston Pizza RDC athlete of the week voting with left side Chris Osborn taking top honours for the men and setter Kirsten Sorensen for the women.
Osborn was the Kings most consistent player in a sweep of NAIT, finishing with 31 kills, 10 digs and three blocks.
Sorensen played a major role in the Queens sweep of NAIT with her leadership and contributed five kills, five aces, 24 digs and a block.
Basketball Kings Sam Lolik and hockey Queens Jade Petrie were in the running.
Volleyball Kings received the Breathing Room Yoga Studio and Café team of the week award.