Knight's hard work pays off in Grade 12
Basketball: Kailey Morrison, a junior high school cut, helping HTA squad
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 06:00 am
A basketball late bloomer is glad she hung in there — she’s blossoming in her final year of high school.
Kailey Morrison, a forward for the Holy Trinity Academy Knights, is giving her team some valuable minutes —that’s a long way from her getting cut in junior high school.
“My dad (Derek) played a lot of basketball so in Grade 7, I tried out for the team and didn’t make it and the same again in Grade 9,” the 5-foot-nine Morrison said.
When she didn’t make the squad in junior high, she was down but far from out.
“Throughout those years I worked on my shooting, went to basketball camps and worked on my own skills,” she said. “When I tried out for JV at HTA, I made the team.”
She honed her skills for two years under former HTA JV coach Tarik Misho.
“The Grade 10 year taught me a lot, and it was really good in Grade 11 to have more of a leadership role,” she said.
But in Grade 12, JV wasn’t an option, it was time to play with the older ladies.
“It was definitely a new experience for me — I came in almost feeling on my own,” Morrison said. “But these girls have become really good friends of mine and have helped me.”
She’s made a nice adjustment to senior varsity.
Morrison had nine points — including a three-point bomb — in the Knights 70-48 victory over the pesky Highwood Mustangs Jan. 10 at St. Francis of Assisi Academy.
“It’s been different — it is a lot more competitive and a lot faster,” Morrison said. “The biggest adjustment is the intensity of the games. There are lot more plays, there are a lot of more places that you have to be aware of where the ball is — it’s a much faster pace.”
She’s been able to adapt thanks to not only her athletic ability, but also using her ears and what is between her ears.
“She made the senior team mostly because of her speed and her athletic ability, but also she is a quick study, bright and listens — very coachable,” Knights head coach Scott Royce said. “If you tell her what to do on defence, she will do it and get under the opponent’s skin.
“She comes off the bench for us, is very peppy and not afraid to take the ball to the hoop... She fits in with our team’s grittiness.”
Dad Derek is proud to see that tenacity on the court— he’s not surprised after seeing her hard work since junior high.
“Kailey is a very determined in everything she does — whether it’s her schooling or athletics,” said Derek a former point guard in Caroline. “Watching her success has been very rewarding.”
She’s got a touch of grit with plenty of grey matter.
Morrison is a 90-plus average student as she enters the biggest test for all basketball players — final exams.
Wake up call
The Knights got a wake-up call in their victory over the smaller-school Mustangs. Although HTA went on to win by 22 points, HTA was losing 36-32 the half.
“Highwood gave us a bit of a scare,” Royce said. “We only had seven girls but I told them at half-time, even if we only have five, we are playing down to their level.
“Our girls came out in the second half and showed a lot more pep.”
The Knights went on a 10-point run to start the second half.
They did not lose their lead after pulling ahead during their 10-point streak.
Royce put veteran Knight Jordan Bonertz on Mustangs’ sharpshooter Peyton Slevin in the second half. Slevin, an MD of Foothills resident was a one-woman wrecking crew in the first half and finished with 21 points, the majority coming in the opening 20 minutes.
Bonertz led the Knights in scoring with 25.
The Knights are 3-0 in the Foothills Athletic Council and are back in action tonight when they travel 15km to take on the 2-1 Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans on Jan. 17 at 5:30 p.m.
For more information go to foothillsathletics.ca