Mitchell goes on the defensive
The defence rests with Taryn Mitchell.
The 17-year-old, Port Colborne resident is bringing a strong commitment to her play without the ball to the Niagara College Knights women’s basketball program.
“I think a good offence also comes with good defence,” the Grade 12 student at Lakeshore Catholic High School said. “People can shoot the ball all day, but the other team might shoot the ball better. They may have bigger players and better shooters so on defence you need to play just as hard as you do on offence and you will get a better outcome.”
Knights head coach Chris Rao is thrilled to add a player with Mitchell’s skill set to his backcourt.
“On the court, Taryn is already a very, very good defender and I think that’s a skill she could become even better at,” Rao said. “I am impressed with her improved shooting. Taryn has clearly shown a willingness to work at her game, something that will serve her well moving forward.”
Mitchell joins Sir Winston Churchill’s Janee Harrison as the second local player to commit to the program this month.
“It’s been exciting to get all this local talent to come to Niagara,” Rao said. “Taryn is a piece of that and is important to what we are trying to do moving forward.”
Rao received positive feedback about Mitchell’s character as well.
“Through the process of getting to talk to Taryn, her coaches and even some of her former teammates that already play for Niagara College, it’s very clear that she is a wonderful person,” he said.
Mitchell said she had Niagara College on her radar for some time.
“I never really had the want to move away for school, I always to stay here,” she said. “I just never wanted to move away so it was either Brock or Niagara and Niagara has the Occupational Therapy program so I could start there and I would be home.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Niagara College. I always thought it was a good place to start.”
Mitchell already has a comfort level at Niagara.
“I’ve know people who have gone to Niagara and they have had a really fun time and it’s a really good program,” she said. “The basketball team is good and I would have fun. It’s from hearing people’s experiences there kind of drew me to it as well.”
Mitchell has already been participating in group chats and done virtual workouts with her new teammates.
“I’m beyond excited to be playing with them. My last season was cancelled so I’m so excited just to be able to go out and play basketball soon,” she said. “The fact I’ll be playing in college (with players) who are older and more experienced than me, I’m excited to learn some skills from them as well.”
Mitchell began playing basketball with the Port Colborne Hornets before moving to the Welland Warriors. She attended E.L. Crossley where she played from Grades 9-11 and also suited up for coach Tara Poulin with the Niagara Girls Basketball Academy Juel team.
Mitchell admits not being able to play due to the pandemic has given her a new appreciation for the sport.
“I feel like I didn’t really know how good I had it when I could play basketball and have the opportunity to go out and play whenever I wanted until COVID hit, because now that’s all I ever want to do is go dribble a ball or shoot some baskets,” she said. “I remember when we first were able to play again all I wanted to do was scrimmage with my team and now that it’s come over again, I never realized how much I enjoyed it until I couldn’t play it anymore.”
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