© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
Kendra MacKinnon poses with her bronze medal from the 2013 Canada Basketball National U-15 Championship. MacKinnon recently returned from the event where she was not only the only member of Team N.S. from Pictou County, but from northern Nova Scotia.
LYONS BROOK – It wasn’t her first time on the big stage, but it was the first major win as a member of a provincial basketball team.
Kendra MacKinnon helped Team Nova Scotia win bronze recently at the Canada Basketball National U-15 Championship in St. John’s, Nfld. The team defeated Saskatchewan 59-50.
“It was an amazing feeling to win that game because we’re such a small province and usually it’s teams like Ontario, B.C. and Quebec that win,” she said. “I don’t think anyone expected us to do it, but we were just prepared for whatever team we faced and didn’t get intimidated by anyone by just playing our game.”
This was MacKinnon’s second year with the U-15 team at the national event after attending in 2012 in Fredericton, N.B. where the team finished fifth. This season only two players were returning to the roster, MacKinnon and Ariele Provo. She was also the only member of Team Nova Scotia from not only Pictou County, but northern Nova Scotia.
Being one of the only returnees it meant there were bigger shoes for the forward to fill. MacKinnon played more minutes and was looked to more as a leader on and off the court. She said one of the reasons she felt she was selected for the team was her shooting, in particular her 3-point range and her height.
“Last year helped me with the event this year just because I had the experience and was nowhere near as nervous,” she said. “I was glad to make the team again this year and think it will help me moving into high school.”
Having played for Pictou Academy the last few seasons, MacKinnon is preparing for this winter with the North Nova Gryphons. She said she’s excited to join Anne Armstrong’s women’s team and learn from her over the season.
“I’m just going to listen to her throughout the year and make sure I’m doing what she wants me to do so I can improve,” said MacKinnon. “I’ve had her as a coach before and she has helped me out a lot.”
This summer with the U-15 team she also had great coaching with Scott Munro from the Saint Mary’s Huskies women’s basketball team at the helm. MacKinnon said she believes he made the difference in the team finishing third this year instead of fifth.
“He was really good at what he did and knew the fundamentals, but also really did a good job at making us work as a team – he was the best coach I’ve had in awhile,” she said. “I think the way he brought us together made the difference with where we finished, but last year Jamie was great too. He did a really good job, but Scott just found a way to bring this year’s group together.”
MacKinnon’s end goal is to play university basketball, but before that she has a few other things she wants to accomplish. This year she hopes to have a successful high school season with North Nova and make next summer’s U-17 provincial team.
“To do that (make U-17 team) I just need to keep going at it all year,” she said. “I usually take a few weeks off at the end of August before I get back into it. I really don’t stop playing because I love basketball and always want to be playing.”
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris