Kilyk ends career on a high note
Courtney Kilyk concluded her post-secondary basketball career with the Niagara College Knights. This past season, she was named an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Second Team All-Star. Photo Special to BPSN from the HUMBER HAWKS.
Basketball was not the primary reason why Courtney Kilyk landed at Niagara College last fall.
“It was mainly the program I am in right now,” the 23-year-old Fonthill native said. “I heard a lot of good things about the exercise science for health and performance program so I really wanted to get into something in the same field that I had already studied and get more out of it.”
Prior to her arrival at Niagara, the Welland Notre Dame alumnus, spend four seasons studying kinesiology at St. Francis Xavier and playing basketball with that school’s U Sports team.
She enjoyed her year immensely.
“I learned a lot in my program and basketball was just something extra to do and it turned out to be really fun,” the 5-foot-6 guard said.
It also turned out to be highly successful for Kilyk as part of a team and as an individual. Kilyk and her Niagara teammates made it to the bronze-medal game of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association playoffs before losing 92-87 loss to Mohawk and she was named an OCAA Second Team All-Star. Kilyk averaged 11.6 points and 6.8 rebounds during the season while playing a team-high 28.9 minutes per game.
Niagara head coach Mike Beccaria called Kilyk’s arrival timely.
“We had several players who graduated from the previous year and she really stepped into a leadership role and played point guard for us which we desperately needed,” he said.
Kilyk did everything for the Knights.
“She played tons of minutes, rebounded well, passed well, scored when she had to and she’s absolutely one of the best defenders in the province,” Beccaria said. “She always guarded the opponent’s best player.”
Kilyk enjoyed her last season of post-secondary hoops.
“It was a really good group of girls to play with because there were a lot of new girls and a few girls who played last year,” she said. “We worked well together and the season overall was really good and it seemed like the team took a step forward from where it was at last year.”
Knowing it was her last year inspired Kilyk.
“I wanted to finish on a high note and give everything I could to it,” she said.
Being named an OCAA all-star was an added bonus.
“I wasn’t expecting it, to be honest, but it was a good feeling to get that.”
She isn’t sure how she will fuel her competitive instincts moving forward.
“It will be hard not to play as competitively as I have been, but I will gear more towards coaching and training now and just having fun while playing.”
She has been playing basketball for 16 years and competitively since she was 10.
“I grew up playing basketball every year and it will be hard.”
She has always loved the sport.
“I like the competitiveness of it, the team aspect and doing stuff with really good friends that you make playing basketball.”
Kilyk works as a trainer with Mihai Raducanu’s No Limit Performance, although, she didn’t do as much during the season because of school, basketball and work commitments. She’s hoping to do more work with No Limit in the near future because she enjoys training the next generation of basketball players.
“I like being able to help kids improve their skills, see them grow as basketball players and individuals, and bringing what I know about the game to them.”
Another year of post-secondary hoops has made her an even better instructor.
“Taking a year off before I went back to play, I forgot a lot of things about the team aspect of it,” she said. “Getting back to it reminded me of how to work through plays on the court and stuff like that.”
Kilyk agrees the basketball landscape in Niagara has changed dramatically since she was a young player working her way through the ranks.
“When I was younger, there wasn’t a lot of individual training and I didn’t start doing that until my last year of high school going into university,” she said. “Now when I am around here, I see so many kids taking the extra hours to train outside of their team and it’s pretty cool.”
Kilyk has begun a job search in her field and is not exactly sure where she wants to begin her career.
“I want to be involved in sports in some way, whether it’s training skill development for basketball or training of another sort such as conditioning.
“My options are open,” she said, with a laugh.
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