It’s not often that a student can cut his or her commute when moving from high school to university, but Squamish resident Kayley Verbeek has accomplished just that.
The 2012 Howe Sound Secondary School (HSSS) grad is blocks away from her new home at Quest University and is also hoping to make an impact on the hardwood as the first-ever local to be a part of a Kermodes basketball team.
Verbeek said she’s already loving her experience at Quest a month in.
“I love the school. It’s so fantastic up there,” she said. “All my other friends are complaining about mid-terms but we don’t really have those. I really like the block system and we have really small classes and discussions with our teachers all the time. You really feel like you’re involved in the class.”
But it was Verbeek’s skills on the basketball court that caught Quest’s attention last year. Kermodes head coach Dany Charlery said he and former head coach Mike Woollard were impressed by Verbeek after checking out the local talent at HSSS.
“After we went down to Howe Sound one thing led to another and she came up and practiced with us a few times,” he said. “Then Mike offered her a redshirt position for this year, which I thought was pretty cool. It’s good to have someone local on the team.”
Charlery said Verbeek has fit in well on the team.
“She’s actually coming along great,” he said. “I think eventually she’s going to be a great shooter for us and help us spread the floor. She still needs to get stronger but she’s got a really nice shot and has a great attitude.”
Verbeek starred on the HSSS senior girls team last year but said she’s eager to learn more about the game.
“The level of skill is such a large jump from high school,” she said. “And our basketball program at HSSS isn’t that big. Red shirting for a year won’t be that bad because I think there’s a lot for me to learn.”
She said she’s already learned a lot from both Charlery and assistant coach Kim Land.
“I love Dany — he’s awesome,” she said. “He’s definitely knowledgeable about the game and Kim has been a big help too. Everybody loves both of them but they push us too, it’s not all fun.”
The Kermodes are looking to advance to the playoffs for the second straight year and Verbeek said she likes the team’s chances.
“We’re not gigantic but we have some big, strong girls with a lot of speed,” she said. “We’re really well conditioned and our defence is really good — that’s what we focus on a lot.”
Verbeek said the team wants to get more involved in the community and, in turn, would love to see more locals check out Quest games.
“I really want people to come out and watch us,” she said. “I’d like us to get a bigger fan base because these girls are such good players and the games are fun to watch.”
For more information on the team, visit www.questkermodes.ca.
Kermodes win two
The women’s team hit the floor for the annual Blues Classic at Capilano University recently, posting some impressive results.
The Kermodes kicked off the tournament on Oct. 5, downing the host team 51-44 and followed that with a 95-89 triple-overtime win over St. Clair College from Windsor, Ont., on Oct. 6. Quest ended off the tournament with a 55-46 loss to Douglas College on Oct. 7.
Charlery said he was pleased with the team’s efforts.
“We went in there and fought and battled hard,” he said. “And when we had chances to put teams away, we did.”
He pointed to the triple-overtime win on Saturday as one that stood out.
“That was a pretty intense one,” he said. “I was happy with the girls’ effort and how they stayed calm. I was impressed with everyone but especially our rookies, because we had three starters who didn’t play in the fourth quarter and overtime because of foul troubles and injuries. I’m really proud of them.”
The team continued the preseason on Saturday (Oct. 13) with a 60-41 over North West Indian College.
The men’s team was also in action on Friday (Oct. 12) with the annual Alumni Game. The current Kermodes defeated the alumni 97-71 and were led by Brodan Robertson with 16 points and six rebounds. Charlery, playing on the alumni team, led all players with 35 points.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will continue their exhibition schedule before the start of the Pacwest regular season in the middle of November.
For more info on Quest basketball, visit www.questkermodes.ca.