The Smithville (Ont.) Christian High School girls basketball team celebrated a string of winning games at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations Girls A Basketball tournament last weekend, taking home the gold medal in the provincial competition.
The team of three grade-12 girls and seven grade-11 girls was undefeated the entire tournament. “The girls worked so hard and played so strong on both sides of the court. The girls deserve such a celebration for all their hard work, practices, and commitment to the team,” said assistant coach Derrick DeKlerk, who teaches mathematics and civics at the school.
The team’s head coach is Tawnia Hultnik, a mother of one of the players who has been volunteering for a few years. The three senior students—Tori Hultnik, Jacoba Hoekstra, and Alia Breukelman—shared the position of captain, with each girl taking that title for a portion of the season.
Play started in September, and Smithville Storm played 13 games during their season before OFSAA. The championship tournament with teams from Central, Northern, Northeast, and Southern regions of Ontario was at risk of being canceled due to pandemic restrictions in the school zone where it originally had been scheduled. Smithville stepped in to host. Convenor Fred Breukelman, Smithville Christian High School's athletic director and father to Alia, said the school had hosted an OFSAA tournament in 2009 for girls’ soccer, so the task wasn’t foreign. “My colleagues and staff were super supportive to step into areas that fit with their gifts, talents, and abilities,” Breukelman said. He added that about 40 students, out of the school’s population of 220, participated in some way.
Jacoba Hoekstra was named player of the game in the gold-medal match. "This was my fourth and final year playing high school basketball, and it was an amazing note to end on! After missing a year and a half or so of sports, due to COVID, I was thankful to go to OFSAA, and win it, under any circumstances, even if that meant no spectators or fans," Hoekstra said. "It's something I will never forget.”
Breukelman said, “We’re always super excited to do things like this. It’s important as Christians and as a Christian school to step up to the plate and host championships. We’re a part of the world and sports organizations, and hosting helps put Christian schools front and center.” Breukelman is a member of Faith Christian Reformed Church in Burlington.
About the Author
Kristen Parker is a freelance writer. She has a passion for words and creativity. Kristen and her husband Chris, enjoy board games and thrift shopping. They attend Stratford CRC in Stratford, Ont.