Heather Semeniuk has found her next diamond-in-the-rough in Salmon Arm Secondary Jewels’ forward Haylie Gibb, who has committed to the Heat women’s basketball squad beginning the 2014-15 season.
The 5’11’’ Gibb was a provincial championship First Team All-Star and though her team would finish 12th at the big dance, it was her Jewels squad that unseated the reigning South Kamloops provincial champions in the previous round at the Valley Championships. During the ouster of the powerhouse Titans Gibb put up a game-high 19 points to help her team to the upset.
Now, she will bring her offensive talents and proclivity for performing in the big crunch moments to a Heat squad entering their fourth tour of Canada West and still looking for that extra boost to get them into the playoff mixture of the hyper-competitive conference.
Though a capable scorer when she needs to be, Gibb prides herself on her work ethic and defensive mindset. During her last season with Salmon Arm her team often struggled with numbers, often running an eight player roster or less due to a myriad of injuries the team endured.
“For having such limited players, we had to push ourselves, individually and as a team, harder than ever to get where we wanted to go,” she said of the season. Pushing themselves and their potential ever further got the Jewels their upset of the Titans and eventually a berth at Provincials.
Naturally more of a stretch four with a good touch from behind the arc, Gibb says she expects to play the same position with the Heat.
“Haylie will bring some much needed size to our perimeter play,” UBC Okanagan Heat head coach Heather Semeniuk says agreeing with Gibb’s self-assessment. “She is a great athlete who knows how to defend and likes to shoot the three-ball. She made her first trip to the B.C. AAA Provincials this season and showed very well.”
Always hoping to secure the top talent in the Valley coach Semeniuk is thrilled Haylie is joining the team and cites Gibb’s development as “an indicator that talent is being developed locally.”
Constantly pushing her game further and further, Gibb not only participates in a spring league during her off-seasons but also occasionally plays in Salmon Arm’s men’s league as well.
Gibb plans to enter the Bachelor of Arts program upon joining her new team and school. She is excited about the opportunity to work with a “great coaching staff” and also to pursue her higher education at a globally leading institution.
“When I came on campus and spoke with an advisor he was extremely helpful and positive about my chances of success studying at the school, and was also very excited about my opportunity to play for the Heat.” Gibb said of her visit to the school and gym.
When reflecting about the transition from high-school competition to the university level, she added that she “[realizes] the change is going to be huge from high school ball to the CIS, but I believe I am as mentally prepared as I can be, but I know it is going to be way more physically demanding. I realize that playing at this level is going to take a lot of hard work, but I am willing to do so.”
Gibb now joins Lower Mainland AA MVP Vanessa Botteselle as head coach Heather Semeniuk’s recruitment class along with Robyn Aulin-Haynes (6-1 P, North Vancouver-Argyle), Michaela England (5-11 F, Chilliwack-Sardis) and Rachel Knoll (6-2 P, Penticton-Princess Margaret). These recruits will join a young Heat nucleus on November 7th against Fraser Valley at UBC’s Okanagan Gymnasium for their Canada West regular season opener [Story here].