With a break between the end of the regular season and the upcoming provincial championships, the UBCO Heat women’s basketball team is busy preparing to try and defend its provincial title.
For team captain Jenna Kantz, playing out her fifth and final year at UBCO, it’s a time to look back on a prolific career with the Heat and look ahead to trying to end her collegiate basketball career on a high note.
Kantz, 22, was honoured by the Heat last weekend as the fifth year player competed in her final regular season game with the Heat.
“It was cool,” she said. “Playing my last league game at home was really special. It’s quite sad to have my basketball career coming to an end but I’m really excited about provincials. We’re hoping we can come away with the provincial title.”
Kantz closed out her regular season much the same way she has played for her entire career, with a strong performance including 19 points, five rebounds, six assists, three steals and the player of the game award
In a special post-game ceremony, Athletics Director Rob Johnson and Head Coach Heather Semeniuk praised Kantz’s excellence in both athletics and academics, noting her positive attitude and strong work ethic on and off the court, giving a nod to her incredible 95 per cent average in her studies at UBCO.
Kantz finished her BCCAA career with an astounding 862 points, the all-time scoring record at UBCO. She also had a career 418 rebounds and 276 assists.
“She’s just an all around package,” said Semeniuk. “We count on her. She’s a wonderful person and a great team player. There isn’t a thing not to like about her.”
Her teammates also presented her with a gift: Pictures of her and her teammates that each player signed with a message.
“It was really special that was for sure,” said Kantz, noting that she had requested the ceremony be held after the game because it was such an emotional moment. “It was really touching, a really special event. It will definitely be something I will remember forever.”
Coming out of Princess Margaret Secondary in Penticton, Kantz tore her knee in her freshman year but was back the next year better than ever. Tenacious on defense, she was a great passer and this year has become one of the top scorers in the BCCAA. A few games ago she became the highest scoring woman in the history of the women’s basketball program at UBCO, passing former OUC Lakers player Mandy Trenholm (see related story).
“I’m really proud of myself for being able to do that,” she said. “I wasn’t aware at all about this record until just recently. It’s a great honour.”
Kantz has managed to bounce between the basketball court and the classroom, taking UBCO’s intense nursing program and now working at Kelowna General Hospital as part of her course’s practicum.
For coach Semeniuk, Kantz is the perfect example of a student-athlete who has had success in the UBCO program.
“It’s picture perfect really,” said Semeniuk. “She made the commitment to the program here and it was such a good fit. She found her niche and she found her program in school. The nursing program is a wonderful program and we were lucky that she chose us.”
Kantz credits both her coaches and her professors for allowing her to perform to high standards on the court and in the classroom. Now with just the provincials to play in before starting her nursing career and moving into the women’s basketball league in Kelowna, the shooting guard finds herself looking back at a long and prosperous college career.
“I remember being in my first year and thinking that I still have so many more years to play,” she said. “Now that I’m in fifth year it feels like it has gone by so fast. It’s unbelievable how fast it flies by but I enjoyed all of my years equally.”
The UBCO Heat will participate in the BCCAA provincial championships at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford from March 4 to 6.
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