Rode: Ballhorn a key player moving forward

As one of the younger teams in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Basketball League it’s been a learning process for the RDC Queens.

But with nine first-year-players and five in their second season, they have the ingredients to put together a solid base moving forward, if not this year, then the next.

One of those key players moving forward will be Katie Ballhorn.

The five-foot-seven guard out of Wetaskiwin has already made an impression on head coach Ken King.

“From what I’ve seen this season, she’s one of the best people to be part of the program ever,” he said. “The way she is with her teammates and the fact she’s a confidence young woman, a strong young woman, I think her attitude and work ethic will allow her to continue to grow and improve. She brings it every day.”

Ballhorn stepped into the starting lineup this year and learned on the go.

“I’ve learned a lot,” she was quick to point out. “The game is so much faster. It was tough at the beginning, but I’ve gained confidence in my game.”

Katie has started in all 12 of the Queens games, averaging 24.7 minutes per game. She’s averaging seven points per game, which is fifth on the team, and five rebounds per start, which is second.

She’s needed to work on the boards as the Queens are one of the shorter teams in the conference.

“I’m not that tall either, but I will play inside when they need me. I think I read the play fairly well, which helps.”

Reading the play and the instinct to be in the right place at the right time are major parts of rebounding as the team’s leading rebounder is five-foot-five Sandre Garcia-Bernal, who is fourth in league rebounds with 10.6 per game.

Garcia-Bernal is one of the premier guards in the ACAC and someone Ballhorn enjoys playing beside.

“Teams put a lot of pressure on us, which is something I’ve had to get used to but with the help of the other girls, and, of course, Sandre who is a big help, it’s been an easier transition.”

Ballhorn comes out of one of the top 3A girls basketball programs in the province.

“I think we’ve won the zone for the past eight years,” she said. “It really helps coming out of a program with a strong coaching staff. With good coaching it builds a strong foundation and helps make the transition (to college) that much easier.”

Katie got into basketball in Grade 1 and joined the Wetaskiwin Club program in Grade 4.

“I love it and played ever since,” she said.

Watching her last year it was obvious she could take the next step, especially with her ability to handle the ball and drive the basket and her work on defence.

“I’ve always been a big driver, it’s a major part of my game … it has been since I can remember,” she said. “And I do love playing defence, just getting a stop that’s what builds offence,” she said.

The Queens have a 2-10 record this season, but have been competitive and showing signs of coming together.

“I think the second half we’ve picked it up,” said Ballhorn. “We’re playing with more confidence and we’re executive our plays and not worrying what will happen next.

“I know myself I’m developing as a player and feel I’m improving each game.”

King agrees.

“I think the way Katie approaches the game and who she is as a person helps her continue to develop,” he said.

Ballhorn is in Education and will be around for at least two seasons.

The Queens are in tough this weekend as they visit the Medicine Hat Rattlers, who are ranked sixth in the country with an 11-2 record, today and Saturday.

It’s a big weekend for the Kings, 5-7, with Medicine Hat at 8-5.

Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter who can be reached at

Just Posted

Alberta investing $3.7B to move oil by rail, leasing cars

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it’s investing $3.7 billion to move… Continue reading

Halifax fire claims seven Syrian refugee children: ‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’

HALIFAX — Seven children, all members of a Syrian refugee family, died… Continue reading

Pro-pipeline protest convoy reaches Ottawa after rolling across country

OTTAWA — A convoy of angry Albertans and other westerners rolled up… Continue reading

Rock out with the Headstones, Wide Mouth Mason at free Games concert Thursday

Wide Mouth Mason and the Headstones will rock “The Dome” heated tent… Continue reading

Amazon aims to cut its carbon footprint

NEW YORK — Amazon, which ships millions of packages a year to… Continue reading

Historic win for Team Nunavut at Canada Winter Games

Four years in the making boiled down to a collection of firsts… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Vancouver duo faced health scare while making Oscar-nominated ‘Animal Behaviour’

TORONTO — Husband-and-wife filmmakers Alison Snowden and David Fine had almost finished… Continue reading

Canadian Eugenie Bouchard drops second-round match against Simona Halep

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is out of the… Continue reading

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s iconic couturier whose designs had an unprecedented… Continue reading

Canadian women beat US 2-0 to win inaugural Rivalry Series

DETROIT — The inaugural Rivalry Series was created to give Canada and… Continue reading

Don Cherry blasts Hurricanes as ‘jerks’; team responds with his words on T-shirt

TORONTO — Don Cherry’s latest rant about the Carolina Hurricanes and their… Continue reading

Country star Miranda Lambert reveals secret marriage

NASHVILLE — Country star Miranda Lambert celebrated Valentine’s Day weekend with the… Continue reading

‘Black Panther’ costume designer blazes trail to inspire

LOS ANGELES — Ruth E. Carter is a black woman blazing a… Continue reading

Most Read