Mary, Mary, quite extraordinary
Niagara College’s Mary Ingribelli was named an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association First Team All-Star this past season. She broke Niagara’s season scoring record by 81 points and finished one point out of the lead in conference scoring. Photos by TESS PUCHALSKI.
Mary Ingribelli took her game to a whole new level this season.
The Governor Simcoe graduate led the Niagara College Knights women’s basketball team in average scoring (19.1 points) and steals (2.9), tied for first in rebounding (6.8), and was second in assists (3.0) and minutes played (28.2). For her efforts, the 23-year-old St. Catharines native was named an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association First Team All-Star.
“I definitely was scoring a lot this year compared to seasons past,” she said.
Most of her improvement came through working hard in practice.
“My teammates were challenging me, the coaches were challenging me and it resulted in me being about to produce on the court.”
Niagara head coach Mike Beccaria saw a lot of improvement in the fourth-year player.
“We moved her from a guard position to a forward position and she really embraced that,” he said. “It was certainly a career year for her and timely too because we had so many graduates last year.”
Ingribelli put the effort in to get better.
“She worked really hard in the weight room and she got stronger,” Beccaria said. “She accepted the challenges of taking a leadership role on and off the court.
The 5-foot-10 athlete played in the post position a lot when she was younger — she was tall when she was younger and never grew — and that helped make the transition to forward easier.
“I like being in the post,” she said. “It creates a better shot opportunity for me because I get mismatches. It was a little different, but I got used to it,” said the child and youth major, who hopes to get a job in the mental health field dealing with youth.
Dealing with the physicality of other post players was the biggest adjustment she had to make.
“It was being strong down there because a lot of the girls are bigger than me,” the former Niagara JUEL player said. “I had to hit the weight room a lot more than I normally did.”
About a month into the season, she could feel the added strength helping her on court.
“I did tear my ACL last season and I really struggled with my knee being sore all the time,” she said. “That was really hard to play with. This year, I found getting in the weight room and lifting more and heavier weights allowed me to be stronger and it helped with my rehab as well.”
Ingribelli capped off her season in fine fashion in the post-season. At the OCAA championships, she was named a tournament all-star, after averaging 23.3 points per game, including 33 in Niagara’s 92-87 loss to Mohawk in the bronze-medal game.
“Out of the four years I have been playing for Niagara College, that is the first time we have got to the medal round,” she said. “I think it was the first time in 15 years for our school and it was a cool opportunity.”
She was happy that she finished on a high note as an individual, but would trade it all for a bronze medal.
Ingribelli plans to finish her eligibility at Niagara College next season and she’s gunning for an OCAA medal.
“It’s my last year so I would really want to go out with a bang,” she said. “It could potentially be my last year playing basketball and I really want to end on a high note.”
It will be hard for Ingribelli to top this past season. She finished one point shy of the OCAA West Division scoring title and her 382 points for the season broke Niagara’s old record by 81
“We will have to sit down and see what her team and personal goals are,” Beccaria said. “She came second in our conference in terms of scoring and maybe actually winning that next year might be her goal.
Ingribelli wants to work on her speed and defence next season.
“I think I struggled with that a lot this year,” she said. “I know I was more of a scorer, but I really need to focus on being an all-around player.”
She is already excited about next season.
“We have a lot of good girls coming back next year and we have a lot of good recruits like Bridget Atkinson,” she said. “She will help our program and it will be pretty cool to play with her.”
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