Keira Federinko ends on a high: Wins Biggar Award
It was only fitting that Mark Federinko presented the Harold Biggar Award for the top high school girls basketball player in Niagara Falls to his daughter Keira Federinko.
The past president of the Niagara Falls Red Raiders basketball association and the coach of Keira’s under-19 travel team this past season introduced Keira to the sport when she was six years old.
“He has always been pushing me to be the best I can be,” Keira said.
The Grade 12 student at Saint Paul was delighted to have her father present her with the award.
“It is very special because he is my role model and I look up to him very much,” the 17-year-old Niagara Falls resident said. “Just having him coaching me, teaching me and pushing me to get better really made an impact on me.”
Federinko was a key member of the Saint Paul Patriots senior girls basketball team that hosted the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations AA championships last November.
“Keira has been a dedicated athlete at Saint Paul in a variety of sports but we know basketball is her thing,” Saint Paul coach Kristen McDonald wrote. “She is really determined and has even been forced to overcome so many obstacles in her high school career. She has battled back from a knee injury in Grade 9 and fought through and trained hard through COVID to improve her skills and abilities to lead Saint Paul’s team as captain in Grade 12.”
McDonald described Federinko as an amazing team player and a quiet but effective leader.
“She was our top shooter on the court and she provided hustle on defence and the ability to lead a team,” she wrote. “I believe it is the little things that add up to make Keira an amazing choice for this award. Keira is also very humble and extremely coachable and she is the complete package for any coach to have on their team.”
Federinko’s talents were on full display at OFSAA.
“Keira rose to the occasion, leading our team in points, minutes played all while battling against the best nine teams in Ontario,” she wrote. “She really stepped up her game and not only on the court. She helped organize the provincial tournament.”
Keira agrees she had to overcome a lot to pursue her hoops dreams.
“I tore my ACL back in Grade 9 and I overcame that. Then COVID happened and I obviously fought through that.”
Her fight with COVID was a struggle she was determined to win.
“It was also around the time when I injured my knee and had surgery so I was really working hard to get back and finish my final year strong.”
The return from her knee injury was anything but easy.
“It was pretty difficult and it took about a year to recover from,” she said.
At no point did she consider giving up on basketball.
“It was my love for the game. I love basketball and I have loved it since I was young. I really wanted to play my final year so I pushed through and made myself better so I could play.”
She likes everything about the sport.
“It’s the teammates, the teamwork and the feeling I get when I play the game is just amazing.”
Sadly for Federinko, her competitive basketball journey looks like it is coming to a conclusion.
“I have always dreamed of playing university basketball since I was younger but that just didn’t work out for me and I am OK with that.”
She is looking upward to the next challenges in her life.
“I am going to Brock University and I am ready to start my next journey to prioritize my studies,” the future nursing student said.
Basketball has prepared her well for all facets of her future life, including working together, time management and goal setting to name a few.
“It has also taught me to enjoy every moment because you never know. Time flies by so fast. I remember when I was six years old learning how to do a layup and now my basketball career is over just like that.”
She is thrilled to end it with the Biggar Award.
“I am so honoured to receive the award, especially because it is my last high school and travel basketball season,” she said. “It is very heart breaking not being able to play any more but I have to accept it.”
Federinko hopes to stay involved in the sport.
“I will end up coaching or just playing for fun. Basketball is always going to be a part of my life.”