Westisle girls’ basketball team features deep bench

Eric McCarthy
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ELMSDALE – A Grade 10 player, Jody Gerus, has led the scoring for the Westisle Wolverines in all three of their P.E.I. School Athletic Association Senior Girls Basketball League games so far this season.

Grade 12 student and first-year Westisle player Nathan Barbour practises his shot-making during a team practice recently. At six-foot-five, Barbour stands out on a Wolverine team that has never been known for its height.

“My strengths last year were in my Grade 10s, even though I had Grade 11s and 12s,” acknowledged Westisle head coach Dana Gard.

Those Grade 10s and 11s from last year are still with the team, a year older and more experienced.

Added to the roster this year are four of the starters from the 2010-11 provincial midget champions, the Lincoln Rix-coached Hernewood Huskies.

Gard complimented Rix on the calibre of players he has turned over to Westisle this year.

“They fit very well into our system,” Gard said. “They are impact players.”

Gerus, who led the Huskies last season, has earned a starting role for the Wolverines at point guard this season.

Breeanna Gallant led the team in scoring last year in Grade 10. She’s still one of the top scorers on the team.

Emily Malone and Laura O’Meara, the only Grade 12s on the team, are the co-captains.

“They are both natural leaders with the team,” observed first-year assistant coach Amy Gaudette.

Gaudette has just returned to West Prince to work after completing her university schooling. A 2007 graduate of Westisle, she captained the team her final two years at the school.

In one of those years, Westisle advanced to the AAA playoffs for the only time in school history.

“I can bring my experience and different scenarios I remember facing in games,” Gaudette said of her role with the 2011-12 Wolverines.

“This is probably the deepest bench I’ve had. I’m 11, 12 deep. We’ve got to find out where we fit this year, whether we’ll be strong enough to maybe challenge into a AAA position. Or, if not, we’ll be at the head of the pack for AA.” Westisle head coach Dana Gard

“She has a wealth of experience to bring to the girls,” added Gard, who is in his ninth year as Westisle’s head coach. “Aside from playing on a AAA team, she can tell them what it was like playing in that atmosphere.”

AA gold

The Westisle girls have won AA gold twice, and silver three times in the last eight seasons. They lost to Three Oaks Team Two by eight points in last year’s final.

The Wolverines played Three Oaks Team Two on Monday night, winning 78-61. Gerus led the way with 20 points.

The Wolverines are 2-1 (won-loss) so far this season.

Gard has high expectations for the Wolverines this season.

“This is probably the deepest bench I’ve had,” he said. “I’m 11, 12 deep.

“We’ve got to find out where we fit this year, whether we’ll be strong enough to maybe challenge into a AAA position. Or, if not, we’ll be at the head of the pack for AA.”

The top four teams at the end of regular-season play for the AAA title while the next group of teams in the standings fight it out for the AA title.

“You always want to play to your best," he stressed. "You don’t want to kind of hang back."

wbureau@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: AAA

Geographic location: West Prince

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