A new chapter

Jason Simmonds
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Gillis will play AUS women’s basketball at Memorial next season

SUMMERSIDE – Erica Gillis will begin a new chapter in her basketball career next fall in St. John’s, N.L.

Erica Gillis in action with the Three Oaks Axewomen.

Gillis, a Grade 12 student at Summerside’s Three Oaks Senior High School, will join the Memorial SeaHawks for the 2013-14 Atlantic University Sport season.

“What drew me to her (Gillis) as a player was that she has good instincts as a point guard,” said SeaHawks head coach Doug Partridge. “We haven’t had great point-guard play, and she has great size and instincts at the point-guard position, and she plays well in full-pressure situations.

“We are going to be a much more athletic team next year, and we want to be able to play over the full court, and we feel she can fit into that system well.”

Gillis, who will study biology, says she “was super excited” to be recruited by the SeaHawks.

“At first I was hesitant as I didn’t think I would be good enough to play in a university league, but my coaches reassured me my work ethic would pretty much get me through,” said Gillis, referring to Axewomen bench bosses James Voye and Garth Turtle, who have coached her the last three years.

Voye described Gillis as the Axewomen’s “most skilled athlete as far as basketball is concerned” for the last two years.

“She was our best ball-handler and was definitely our most committed player to the sport as well,” said Voye, who is confident Gillis will “have all kinds of success” with the Sea Hawks, who finished the 2012-13 regular season at 11-9 (won-lost).

“She (Gillis) is a very hard worker and very determined athlete,” continued Voye. “She is willing to do whatever it takes to become a better player.

“If I know her well enough, she’ll do everything she can to try and crack the lineup and earn more minutes.”

Gillis brings a winning attitude to the SeaHawks after playing a key role in Three Oaks’ back-to-back provincial senior AAA championships. It was the first time in school history that Three Oaks repeated as provincial champions.

“What drew me to her (Gillis) as a player was that she has good instincts as a point guard. We haven’t had great point-guard play, and she has great size and instincts at the point-guard position, and she plays well in full-pressure situations. We are going to be a much more athletic team next year, and we want to be able to play over the full court, and we feel she can fit into that system well.” SeaHawks head coach Doug Partridge

“It was kind of a bitter-sweet win this year because it was our last game together,” said Gillis. “It was an unbelievable experience, and the coaches did so much for me.”

Three areas Gillis hopes to improve on over the summer are her shooting, strength and basic fundamentals. She is also playing in a senior women’s league in Charlottetown.

“The main thing she needs to work on is her shooting, her outside shot,” said Partridge, who first scouted Gillis at last year’s Red Rock basketball tournament on P.E.I.

“(Longtime Nova Scotia coach) Mike MacKay, who I have a lot of respect for was there, watching the P.E.I. juvenile team play, and he mentioned that he was really high on Erica and she had all the right instincts and the right work ethic to be a player at the university level,” explained Partridge. “Usually, his (MacKay’s) advice is pretty solid, so I took that into effect, looked at our roster, thought about our point-guard play and thought she might be able to really help us in that area.”

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At A Glance

A look at

Erica Gillis:

Parents: Edwin and Janice Gillis.

Position: Point guard.

Age: 17.

Height: 5’10”.

Hometown: Travellers Rest.

Quote: “She is a point guard who is confident under pressure and can provide the leadership to run a team on the floor,” notes a media release on the SeaHawks web page. “Gillis will join former Sea-Hawk Karen Cameron as Three Oaks graduates to play for Memorial's women's basketball team.”

Organizations: SeaHawks, Atlantic University Sport

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Red Rock, Nova Scotia

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