Brooke heads to Brock
Another Keltos will be suiting up for the Brock Badgers women’s basketball team this fall.
Following in the footsteps of her older sister Sam, a former Ontario University Athletics West MVP, OUA West First Team All-Star and U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian, Brookelyn Keltos is hoping to make her mark with the Badgers starting this fall.
“When I realized I wanted to be a teacher, Brock has the best teaching program and also there are a lot of girls on team who I have already played with,” the 18-year-old St. Catharines resident said. “It’s local and my friends and family can come and watch me play.”
She had considered attending other schools but Brock was always in the back of her mind.
“I knew Brock was the perfect fit for education and basketball-wise. It has probably been the last two years where Brock has been my No. 1 option but I always kept my options open until a couple of months ago.”
She also had some recent interest from the University of Guelph and inquiries from other schools a few summers ago when she suited up for the Kia Nurse elite team.
“Once I decided I wanted to play in Canada I closed all the American school options,” she said.
The Grade 12 student at Sir Winston Churchill has been following the Brock women’s basketball team for a long time.
“We have been going to as many games as we can over the past couple of years. When Sam was there, we always tried to get to as many games as we could and even the years she wasn’t there we would go and support the girls that either my dad (Frank) has coached or the girls that I played against or watched,” the Niagara Juel travel player said. “It is a great atmosphere. I liked being there to watch and now hopefully I will be one of the ones that people come to watch because that is exciting too.”
Her sister has given her lots of advice through the years and was all in favour of Brooke attending Brock.
“She loved the program there and she loved (head coach Mike) Rao. I am excited to play for Rao and I also got to know the girls too because of Sam. I have learned the team culture and I have been to a couple of practices with Sam during COVID. Knowing the team dynamic and how close the girls are, she told me how great it was.”
Keltos won an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations AA gold medal last fall and feels she has taken her game to a new plateau at both the high school and travel level.
“This year has been really different because I have always played with the same girls every year. I have always played up (in an older age group) since I was little. They all graduated and now I was the senior on the team. I had to step up and be a leader,” the BPSN tournament MVP said. “I was a captain and I had to lead all the Grade 11s. That has been a lot of growth for me since the beginning of the year.”
Like every athlete heading to university, she knows the next step that had to occur in her progression.
“It’s getting stronger. The game is faster-paced and it is more physical. They are bigger, older girls and I have to get into that groove of university basketball, contribute to the team and learn how university ball works.”
Her personal goals for her first season of OUA ball are process based.
“I want to develop my skills as much as I can, get lots of time in the gym and improve as much as I can so that I can show the team what I have,” she said. “I hope to play a little, see where I fit in on the team and see what I can do from there.”
Rao is looking forward to what Keltos can bring to his squad.
“I think Brooke will add a different dimension to our team. She is a good shooter and hopefully she can fit into our style of play,” he said. “I like her length and her basketball IQ and she comes from a basketball family. I think she is going to really help us in regards to being a better team.”