Chloe is back
When Chloe Peters last played a basketball game, she was suiting up for Canada Elite in the summer of her Grade 11 year hoping to attract the attention of university scouts.
The Welland native eventually landed a NCAA Division 1 scholarship at Canisius University but a back injury derailed her career.
On Friday night, she took the first steps to restarting that career with 13 minutes of playing time at Brock University as the hometown Badgers knocked off the visiting University of Toronto Blues 57-47 to improved to 10-7 in Ontario University Athletics regular season play. Peters finished with two points on 1-5 shooting and three rebounds for the Badgers.
She entered the game in the second quarter to a nice ovation from her friends, family and teammates.
“I was nervous all day and I was nervous all week long. It was a lot to take in,” the kinesiology major said. “I was looking forward to getting out there and hopefully helping my team. I am hoping I got the jitters out today but it felt good to get out there.”
Those jitters probably accounted for a couple of misses on chances she had to score.
“I am going to be tough on myself all the time and I could have done better. I could have got more boards. I thought I put myself in good positions to get open when I set my screens. But I need to get more boards and Rao (head coach Mike) is going to tell you the same thing when you ask him,” she said. “I also have to work on finishing. I had a couple of looks where maybe I shouldn’t have shot and kicked it out instead. I have to make sure I am looking for that as well.”
Rao was honest in his appraisal of Peters’ debut.
“There was a lot of rust out there,” he said. “Maybe I am expecting too much. I have seen her in practice all year and she is much better than what she showed.”
Peters’ shot didn’t fall and her positioning was off on occasion but the 6-foot-1 forward set some nasty screens at the top of the key and was an intimidating presence in the paint when Toronto players thought about driving to the basket.
Peters is a good outside shooter but it wasn’t present Friday night.
“We have to find her a little bit more but that has to come with playing,” Rao said. “I thought she had one look but she didn’t take it.”
He is not worried about her scoring.
“I am just looking for her to defend and rebound. Once we get that out of her, I think the rest will come.”
Regardless of her individual performance. Peters was happy to be back doing what she loves.
“It has been a long time coming and I have been working hard all season. I have had lots of support from my teammates, trainers and family and they are all excited to see me back.”
She will take several things out of Friday’s game.
“I have to be calm with the ball, have faith in myself, have faith in my teammates, look for the best options, hustle, work harder and get out of my head.”
Peters never considered redshirting for the rest of the season even if it meant returning for the final six games of the season.
“I am in the third year of my program and even if I want to stay for a masters, I still have four years after this one. I am not trying to save my years,” she said.
Rao wasn’t thrilled with his squad’s performance against the lowly Varsity Blues (4-15).
“It was a win but we didn’t play all that well,” he said. “We turned the ball over way too many times and that is our problem. I don’t know why. We just turn the ball over for no reason and we panic a lot. We have to get over that.”
BADGERS 57 VARSITY BLUES 47
Rachel Stempski Player of the Game: Brock’s Kaley DeMont with five points and 11 rebounds.
For the Brock Badgers: Madalyn Weinert 20; Noor Bazzi 11; Olivia Fiorucci 10.
For the Toronto Varsity Blues: Ellen Ougrinov 18; Lauren Boers 10; Jada Poon Tip 8.
Game stats: Shooting percentage: Brock 36.8, Toronto 26.2. Free throws: Brock 11-16, Toronto 7-13. Rebounds: Brock 45, Toronto 28. Turnovers: Brock 24, Toronto 21.
Up next: Brock host Guelph Saturday at 6 p.m.