Lacombe youth pursues basketball passion
ROB SCHELLENBERG PHOTO Lacombe resident Candice Duckett attempts to drive past Briercrest College Clipper Brooke Olmstead during a recent exhibition basketball action in Caronport, SK. Duckett and her St. Mary's University College teammates are preparing to join the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference by playing exhibition games against ACAC opponents.
A fun family sport has become one girl's passion.
Lacombe native Candice Duckett, who is in her second year of college at St. Mary's University College in Calgary, has actively played a variety of sports from soccer and badminton to volleyball and basketball.
"I never could pick a favourite so I continued to play all of them each year," she said.
But now basketball is her game.
"If I wanted any future in basketball I needed to focus my time and effort," she said.
Candace, who graduated from Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School with a bilingual diploma is studying commerce. It's a two-year transfer program to either Mount Royal or the U of C.
Even though she could start at one of those institutions this fall, she has decided to spend one more year at St. Mary's.
"I have decided to take an extra year in school to play basketball under a coach I respect and teammates I admire," she said. "This is a big decision because it turns my four-year degree into a five-year process but I have decided this is what I want and it is worth the time.
"After next year I need to make a decision if I want to focus on my schooling or work toward a higher-level basketball," she added.
And her passion for sports may just take her places.
"I have always had a competitive nature and that translates into all aspects of my life," Candice said. "I am motivated specifically with an end goal of a successful season where my family is in the stands cheering."
Because of her height, Candice said, "I have only ever played a post because I was always the tallest on my teams."
All of the energy she puts into the game doesn't take away from her education though.
"I still focus in school to get good grades, which makes each year even more rewarding knowing I'm having fun, and working toward a degree for my future."
Moving away from home has already taught Candice some valuable lessons.
"Now that I am older and moved out I appreciate my family time more than ever, especially my mother's cooking.
"So any free weekend I try to drive down to Lacombe to see everyone and we typically do outdoorsy activities together," she added.
In their pre-season games from September until January, they played some of the ACAC league teams to develop skills.
"Our school has been at the top of our ACAL league for multiple years and we are preparing for the advance into the ACAC," said Duckett.
Their season has now started.