From disappointment to a deep threat well beyond the arc.
“My dad and I both think the only reason I became a good shooter is because when I was a kid I got cut from my first basketball team,” said Chloe Hunter, Foothills Composite’s Grade 12 female athlete of the year. “We had a really bad outdoor net and I would just go out there and shoot for like three hours every night.
“I really wanted to make it next year, that was how it began and (shooting) just started to click for me in junior high and in high school it got a lot better.”
Hunter is moving on to St. Mary’s University in Calgary to continue her basketball career in the ACAC with the Lightning.
“She was her team captain this year, she won the leadership role for her team,” said Falcons athletic director Curt Colfer. “She was a deadly perimeter shooter, great teammate, great leader, very well respected by all of her teammates.
“All of her extra work, all of her extra commitment to the game and being a better basketball player has given herself an opportunity to play at the next level.”
Hunter played varsity all three years and called the 2019-20 Falcons team the best one she played on.
“I got to play with my best friends which was great,” she said. “We accomplished a lot, I’m really proud of how we did, we overcame a lot of obstacles. In the end we didn’t get to finish the way we wanted to, and I was upset, but looking back I was really happy because I know it ended on a really good note and we did everything that we could do.”
Hunter, who will study education at St. Mary’s following in the footsteps of her parents, said her dreams of post-secondary basketball came from watching Falcons alumni Chayle Clark, Hannah Helton and Jaiden Hansen play for the Lightning.
“I remember going to watch them play for my dad as a kid,” Hunter said. “And they definitely sparked up the drive in me to want to play post-secondary.
“Always in my head I said I want to be good enough to go play somewhere, I don’t care where it is I just want to play. Then when that offer came up I accepted.”
As the daughter of Falcons head coach Vince Hunter, Chloe said she felt the added pressure to prove she belonged on the court which forced her to work that much harder.
“I love my dad and think he’s such an amazing coach and he was always really hard on me,” she said. “Because we both know it’s pretty controversial picking your kid, especially as a Grade 10 on the varsity team. We worked really hard together and he definitely pushed me hard and it wasn’t always easy because he was always on my case about a lot of things.
“In the end it did pay off and the improvement was great and it felt really good to have that confidence on the court by my third year.”
The graduand said the athlete of the year nod caught her by surprise.
“I wasn’t really expecting anything other than maybe basketball if I was lucky and it just felt really great to have some recognition from my peers,” Hunter said. “And that other people thought I was a good athlete, too. It definitely boosted my confidence a little bit.
“I’m pretty surprised, but I’m really thankful and feel really blessed.”
Hunter shared the court with the female athletes of the year in both Grades 11 and 10.
Jadie O’Bray, the female athlete of the year on the cross-country team and the heart and hustle award winner in basketball, showcased her competitiveness in all facets and fought through a broken nose to be a key contributor on the hardcourt.
“She competes hard when she’s in the gym, when she’s out on the track and does a great job for our school in many aspects,” Colfer said. “She has a great set of physical attributes, she’s exceptionally talented, huge things to come for her at Foothills Composite.”
Freshman Trista Thorn, the Grade 10 athlete of the year, proved to be a dynamite presence on the Falcons backcourt.
“Whatever she puts her mind to she excels at,” Colfer said. “In phys-ed class she’s a dominant athlete in terms of her agility, her strength, her jumping ability, understanding both game and game play.
“This year she played on our varsity girls basketball team, was a point-guard for their team, exceptionally talented, a great teammate.”
Stay tuned to the Okotokstoday.ca feeds for an article on the Falcons male athletes of the year.
Team Award Winners
MVP — Liana Greenshields/Claire Sweeney
Most Improved — Brooklyn Knoch
Coaches Award — Katie Ivanek
MVP — Chloe Hunter
Heart and Hustle — Jadie O’Bray
Coaches Award — Makayla Porteous
MVP — Bella Gaggero
Most Improved — Jillian Martens
Coaches Award — Olya Klepacheva
Female Athlete of the Year — Jadie O’Bray
Golden Runner — Sam Hammermeister
Top Female — Raegen Green
MVP — Mackenzie Hogan
Most Improved — Alina Michelson
Falcon Award — Carleigh Macleod
MVP — Leana Lavoie
Most Improved — Jessica Statham
Falcon Award — Olivia Cripps