Vikes and ball star each other’s first choice

Sports Sports | Lifestyle

UVic’s strong commitment to its student athletes, both on and off the court, has paid off yet again, as the women’s basketball team secured the services of star provincial player Amy Sprangers starting next season.

Sprangers, a forward playing out of Holy Cross Regional High School in Surrey, was highly sought after as one of the top players in B.C. She has been nearly unstoppable on the court in her senior years, racking up personal accolades in addition to guiding her Crusaders to the B.C. AAA Division, the top league in the province.

The league promotion came thanks to Holy Cross’ dominion in the 2013 AA Championship game, where the Crusaders defeated the Vernon Panthers 69-37. Sprangers had a team high in blocks and steals, while also chipping in with 12 points. In addition to the title, Sprangers was recognized as a tournament all-star for her overall efforts.

When reflecting on her career to date, this win was one that stood out for Sprangers. “So far in my basketball career, I think I am most proud of winning provincials last year,” says Sprangers. “The process leading up to that goal was very, very long and hard.”

This was the second year in a row Sprangers had earned all-star honours at the provincial championships, adding to a long list of personal accomplishments for the young star. Her blocking ability earned her 2013 Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. Sprangers also was named B.C. Catholic First Team All-Star in 2012 and 2013, in addition to a 2012 B.C. Catholic MVP award.

Sprangers’ outstanding Grade 11 season earned her a spot on the B.C. women’s basketball team at the 2013 Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Que. She helped guide her team all the way to the finals, only to come up just short against Ontario

While quick to list her team successes as her greatest accomplishments, Sprangers is proud of the recognition her standout play has earned her. For herself, she says, “I’m proud of making the U-17 provincial team when I was in Grade 10, as well as making the Canada Games basketball team this summer.”

As Sprangers entered her senior year at Holy Cross, the question of where to pursue her post secondary career was front and centre. A strong basketball program, in addition to good academic reputation, were musts for Sprangers. This led her to put UVic squarely at the top of her list.

“I really like the Vikes’ up-tempo style of play,” says Sprangers. “The way they like to push the
ball in transition, and how all of the players are multi-skilled and can play inside and out.”

In addition to UVic’s style of play, Sprangers also welcomes the opportunity to work with a renowned coaching staff in Dani Sinclair and Leanne Evans. “I also really admire Dani and Leanne as coaches, and when I was making my decision, I could see myself fitting into their style of play and enjoying myself.”

The excitement to work together is shared by Sinclair herself, who made it a priority from day one to add Sprangers to her team. “When I got the job last spring, she was one of the very first phone calls I made,” says Sinclair.

Sinclair’s involvement in provincial youth basketball was an important factor in putting Sprangers on her radar. “I’ve seen her play for a number of years growing up in the provincial team program,” Sinclair explains. “The moment I became head coach, she was a huge priority for us as far as that first group of kids coming in.”

While Sprangers is perhaps best known for her defensive prowess, Sinclair is confident in all aspects of Sprangers’ game. “She can play inside, and also step out and shoot the ball,” says the coach. “She’s quick, she can get up and down the floor, which fits into our style very well. She can also play back to the basket, bang around inside and rebound and defend.”

Sinclair points out that coming from a team with a winning culture will benefit Sprangers and the Vikes as well. “She’s coming from a very good high school basketball program at Holy Cross. She’s had good coaching for a lot of years, so she’s fundamentally very sound,” says Sinclair. “She knows how to play at a high level. It’s also big that she knows how to win.”

The community of Victoria, and UVic itself, also played an important role in Sprangers’ decision. “I really like the city of Victoria and have family there that I don’t usually get to visit that often,” says Sprangers. “I also was drawn to the nursing program and UVic’s overall academics programs,” she says.

For now, Sprangers and her Crusaders are ranked as one of the top high school teams in the province, and are a strong favourite to take the AAA title come March. “My goals for my final season at Holy Cross would be to win provincials,” she says. “We moved up to AAA this year for a reason, and I’m excited to give teams a run for their money.”

Come next fall though, Vikes fans will be the ones treated to Sprangers’ talent, in what should be the start of a promising career at UVic.