Scarborough Lady Blues U13s a slam dunk in girls basketballKamila Hinkson
Toronto Star Staff Reporter
For members of the Scarborough Lady Blues under-13 rep team, as the saying goes, life is simple.
Eat. Sleep. Play basketball.
Paulla Weekes, 12, tags along with her parents to their basketball games to practise while they play. She practises at school. She practises at home.
When asked if there’s a day she doesn’t play basketball, she shakes her head, grinning shyly. She wouldn’t have it any other way.
Caroline Makaruk, also 12, practises “for hours a week, just shooting and working on things that I have to get better at.”
Eleven-year-old Brianna Breedy’s idea of taking a break from practising is playing basketball video games.
Their practice pays off — the 11-girl team is the two-time provincial champions in Division 1. Their records the past two seasons: 27-3 and 27-5.
They practise as a team twice a week for 90 minutes. The rising cost of gym rentals forced the team to cut back on its practice time this year.
They play at the AAA level in exhibition games and in weekend tournaments in Ontario and in the United States.
Most of the girls are from Scarborough, though some are from the York and Durham regions. Seven girls have been on the team for all three years of head coach Brian Breedy’s tenure.
Coaching young girls can sometimes lead to problems if cliques form or if they don’t get along.
This team doesn’t have that issue.
“We have a strong relationship … and we get along together. … Most teams (don’t) have that, so we have that connection,” Paulla said.
“We always work together and we never give up on each other. We just keep going,” said 12-year-old Mary Caplice, who has been on the team for three years.
“I just don’t believe that the success we’ve had has taken place on the court, it’s the girls bonding away from the court,” said Breedy, who is Brianna’s father.
The team-building activities start before the season, at a barbecue hosted by Breedy. During the season, the girls go bowling, skating and go-karting together.
All of the their achievements are showcased on the team’s website, whether it is scoring 103 per cent on a math test, or finishing first at a cross-country running meet.
Though not all the girls call Scarborough home, Breedy said he believes the team has a duty to give back to the community. One of the team managers is working on getting the girls into a local food bank or nursing home.
The team’s goal this year is to three-peat as provincial champions.
Breedy knows he has a talented, disciplined group of girls who can bring the title home. But he also knows the team has a target on their back, and stresses to the girls that they need to put in the work, in order to win.
“I will never let them get to that point where they feel like they’re better than any other team,” he said.
“We respect every team. We don’t fear anybody, but we respect them.”