A year older, Axewomen look to take next step
SUMMERSIDE – A year older and most of the roster now experienced at the senior level, the Three Oaks Axewomen have entered the 2011-12 season with raised expectations.
“They (expectations) are rising big time,” said Axewomen head coach James Voye. “Last year, we were working hard to see if our goal would be to get to the (provincial) final.
“This year, it’s definitely to get there.”
Three Oaks entered last year with a number of first-year senior players, and Voye admitted this year is Year 2 of a three-year plan he and assistant coach Garth Turtle envisioned last season.
“That inexperience we had with the seven Grade 10s last year is no longer a factor,” said Voye. “We are a little more mature and skilled from playing in the summer.”
Voye said the No. 1 thing the coaching staff stresses is for the team to have fun.
“We (coaches) are having a lot of fun, and the girls are having a lot of fun,” continued Voye. “We are trying to keep things positive and work hard every day.”
This year’s Axewomen’s roster is comprised of 12 players – three Grade 10s, seven Grade 11s and two Grade 12s.
Seniors Madison Tompkins and Aimee Gillis are team captains, and will be looked upon for leadership, noted Voye. Voye also mentioned Grade 11s Jaime MacLean, Erica Gillis and Michaela Walker are also key players.
“We have a little more height than we usually have, which is definitely going to help,” said Voye. “We got beat inside a lot last year. Adding a six-foot girl (Grade 10 Charlotte Thompson) this year really helps, and we’ve had some girls get taller.
“We are looking to really push the ball up the floor because we have a lot of speed.”
The Axewomen have now turned their attention to this week’s 19th annual Christmas Classic at Three Oaks.
This is the third year the girls have competed with the boys in the senior AAA-calibre tournament. The Axewomen advanced to last year’s final before losing to Sussex, N.B.
“That inexperience we had with the seven Grade 10s last year is no longer a factor. We are a little more mature and skilled from playing in the summer.” Three Oaks head coach James Voye
“We had a really good tournament last year, being the first year the girls were in it,” said Voye. “I don’t know if we will get there (final) this year or not.
“There is some tougher competition in the pools, but I expect us to play well and keep getting better every game.”
The Axewomen, led by Sloane Rioux’s 14 points, defeated Charlottetown Rural 72-29 on Monday to improve to 2-1 (won-lost) in the P.E.I. School Athletic School Association Senior Girls Basketball League. They also beat Bluefield and lost to Colonel Gray in league play.
“We’re not very busy in December,” said Voye. “We have had some exhibition games, and we will have the (Christmas) Classic as well. Our schedule really picks up in the New Year.”
That’s when meeting those expectations really matters!
Three Oaks Axewomen’s team roster:
4. Jessica Gillis, guard (Grade 10).
5. Michaela Walker, forward (Grade 11).
6. Erica Gillis, guard (Grade11).
7. Sloane Rioux, guard (Grade 11).
8. Marissa Blacquiere, guard (Grade 11).
9. Madison Tompkins, forward (Grade 12).
11. Charlotte Thompson, post (Grade 10).
12. Jaime MacLean, post (Grade 11).
13. Laurie O’Neil, forward (Grade 10).
14. Aimee Gillis, post (Grade 12).
15. Hannah Steele, post (Grade 11).
21. Becky Clark, forward (Grade 11).