H.J. Cody High School’s Grade nine girls’ basketball team is preparing to play their best this weekend at the Central West Alberta Junior High Athletics Association (CWAJHAA) tournament.
The diverse group of multi-sport athletes is undefeated in league play and they are setting an example both on and off the court.
“They are what we call Laker Ambassadors,” said Rebecca Schaab, the vice principal of H.J. Cody.
“A Laker Ambassador is a student who has committed to representing our school in a positive way. So, these students all succeed academically, and their attendance is exceptional as well.”
The team consists of 14 players and is coached by Darrell White and Heather McDonald.
Kolby Orriss, a player on the team, says it is the positive team spirit and sense of community that keeps her playing basketball.
“As much as I love playing basketball, it’s the girls for me. We’re all just one big friend group. Even outside of basketball, they’re some of my best friends,” she said.
“It’s incredible. They’ll cheer you on even if we’re losing. It’ll still be a positive mindset going into it.”
Despite entering the CWAJHAA tournament ranked first in the league, Orriss says the team is taking nothing for granted.
“We know we’re not just going to walk in there and just crush everybody. So, [we are] definitely amping up, taking more serious practices, because we are a team that loves to goof around. But we also know when it’s time to get down and prepare,” she said.
The team’s first game of the CWAJHAA tournament takes place at H.J. Cody at 3 p.m. on Friday. The tournament runs on March 10 and 11.
“I don’t think we’ve had a group like this before,” said Schaab.
“They’re a group of just exceptional human beings.”
H.J. Cody High School’s Grade nine girls’ basketball team members include Kolby Orriss, Reese Witty, Alivia Hyde, Zayna Rogers, Blaire Campbell, Jane Comeau, Reese Murray, Abby Desormeau, Felicity Fredine, Paula McInnis, Ruby McDonald, Serena Cleary, Taylor Nash, Brylee Hull, Darrell White (coach) and Heather McDonald (coach).