Liz Kennedy is taking her basketball game and life to the other side of the country.
The Grade 12 McMath Wildcats senior girls basketball standout has committed to St. Francis Xavier University, starting next September. Kennedy visited the campus in Antigonish, Nova Scotia a couple of weeks ago. It didn’t take long after meeting with head coach Lee Ann Osel and reviewing the academic opportunities to realize it was the best fit to pursue her business degree.
“When I went on my visit I was sold on the location as even though it’s far away there were things that reminded me of home,” said Kennedy. “I originally reached out to coach Lee in early fall and we had been talking ever since. Right from the beginning, I could tell from our conversations that she was the type of coach I would want to play for.
“I was definitely open to just about anywhere in Canada — more focused on the school and basketball pieces then the location. That being said, there was always something particularly intriguing to me about going from one coast to the other. I actually had multiple coaches tell me they thought I would enjoy school and basketball out there. It was the first time either (my mom and I) had been to Nova Scotia and it was such a positive experience.”
The Axewomen are part of the Atlantic University Sport Conference and their roster includes first-year Panorama Ridge graduate Karina Sarai. Kennedy got some positive feedback from the Surrey native on the transition from one coast to the other.
Her senior girls high school career began way back in Grade 8 when she was a depth player for an outstanding senior group that went on to finish second at the provincial championships. To put that into perspective, the star of that team was Jessica Jones who is now in her junior red shirt year at Simon Fraser University.
Since then, Kennedy has played every position on the floor for the Wildcats with her aggressive play being badly needed in the paint during much of her Grade 9 and 10 years. She now has more of a ball handling role on the perimeter where she will continue at the university level.
“I think my experience playing inside has helped with my footwork and toughness and helps to set me apart from other guards,” continued Kennedy.
“Playing more point guard this season is giving me the defensive experience I need to guard quicker players next year. Coach Lee and I have talked about how important being able to handle the ball and hitting threes will be to play next year so those are focuses for me now and will continue to be during the off-season.”
Kennedy would like nothing more than to finish her high school year exactly the same way it started with a deep playoff run. The Wildcats have been among the top five of the provincial rankings all year. They will enter post-season play next week and are poised to finish the campaign at the Langley Events Centre.
“I am so excited for playoffs to get started. High school provincials in BC are an incredible atmosphere and to get there and hopefully have a good run while there would be an incredible full circle experience for me,” she added.”