With Basketball Ontario Provincial
team members such as Lisa Furchner, Katie Goggins and Amanda McDonald
working their way through the high-school ranks in recent years, it was
very easy to sometimes overlook another wave of talented female
hardcourt athletes in the Sudbury area.
Among those who have
shown the greatest improvement over their secondary school career is
graduating Marymount Regals guard Ryan Faiella. The hard–working Grade
12 athlete first took to the court in Grade 3, suiting up within the
Sudbury Youth Basketball ranks and enjoying six years of basketball
But it certainly wasn’t
the smoothest start for the teenager who now seems so at ease firing
shot after shot to the hoop. “When I first started, I hated the game”,
laughed Faiella recently. “The day when I finally scored my first
basket, I was just so excited…I think it was at that moment that I
finally decided I wanted to keep playing.”
Still, playing youth
basketball with primarily boys her own age did not necessarily provide
the boost in confidence that Faiella needed to feel comfortable on the
court. That would come a few years later.
“I think the first year
that I made the BDP (Bantam Development Program) team, with all the kids
in Northern Ontario trying out, that’s when I first realized I might
have some talent”, she explains. “That’s when I started practicing
harder and working more to get better.”
With increased ease in
her role on the court came the natural progression of talent that
continues right through this, her final year of secondary school
competition. Where she began the season relying primarily on driving to
the basket and posting up in order to score points, the 2006-07 campaign
saw the well-spoken teen add another component to her game.
“My shooting this year
has improved tremendously”, Faiella states. She spent quite a bit of
time last summer working with personal trainer Rick Kilganon, one of the
smoothest-shooting guards the Sudbury area has ever produced back in his
days with the Ecole Secondaire Hanmer Sabres.
Like most competitive
athletes, the eldest of two basketball-playing daughters in the family
admits that she must learn to control her temper on the court, avoiding
the inevitable frustration that comes with competing at a high level and
working on maintaining her focus.
While Faiella and the
rest of her Marymount Regal teammates would have much preferred to play
Division I ball this past season (student population size did not allow
them to do so according to rules put in by the SDSSAA Girls basketball
loop a few years back), the drop in the level of competition ultimately
forced an adjustment in Faiella’s game.
“Because I’m a pretty
decent foul shooter, I was picking up a lot of points from getting
fouled when I drove to the basket. In wasn’t until we went up against
better opponents in tournament play that I had to use my outside
shooting more”, she acknowledges.
Sadly for the graduating
student, this season will be her last within the competitive ranks. A
back injury sustained last spring provides a nagging reminder that life
outside of basketball must go on. “It took me all this time to finally
decide that I can’t play anymore.”
Faiella closed out her
high-school career by helping the Regals advance to OFSAA last November.
While she hadn’t finalized her post-secondary plans when we chatted
before Christmas, Faiella was looking at the possibility of enrolling in
concurrent education either at Laurentian University or Brock