The phrase ‘Sister Act’ is taking on a new meaning for the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s basketball team.
Kate Johnson, the younger sister of current Heat players Emma and Olivia Johnson, has signed on to join the Canada West program starting next fall.
“I think that by already knowing the players and having siblings on the team is a massive advantage,” says the soon-to-be Heat point guard. “It eliminates the fear of being on a team with people I don’t know.
“I am already comfortable in that environment and have played with various members of the team on multiple occasions,” she added. ”Having my sisters on the team will push me to be better every day because we are so competitive.”
Johnson has a had successful athletic career at Immaculata Regional High School in Kelowna,winning seven provincial titles and five Catholic schools titles in basketball, soccer and volleyball.
In her Grade 11 season, her second with the Immaculata senior team and first as a starter,Johnson was named the MVP of the 2016 Mustang Classic and a second-team all-star at the B.C.AA provincial tournament.
Last summer, Johnson played on the U17 Basketball B.C. provincial team, finishing sixth at nationals.
Heat head coach Claire Meadows is excited to be bringing the youngest Johnson on board.
“Kate is a true ambassador of the game and will have an immediate impact with our program,”Meadows. “She is one of the most explosive and quick athletes in the open court and possesses a good understanding of the game.
“She will bring a great work ethic and a competitive edge. I look forward to coaching Kate and having her represent our program.”
Academically, Johnson is following in sister Olivia’s footsteps by enrolling in the managment program.
“This program is very group oriented which is similar to playing on a team,” she said.
Sister Emma is currently in UBC Okanagan’s School of Nursing program.
As for why she chose UBC Okanagan, Johnson says her time with the Junior Heat club program was one of the determining factors.
“Playing Junior Heat really gave me a snapshot of what the environment was like at the university,” Kate said. “Being coached by some of the players and the support of the coaches showed me how supportive everyone is and that the coaches really want to see you succeed.”
In regards to what she will bring to the Heat, the youngest Johnson sister does not shy away from recognizing her abilities including good passing skills, a clear vision of the court, setting up teammates, and defensive speed and tenacity that will be welcome.
And yes, there is bound to be some sibling rivalry.
“If I were to play one-on-one with my sisters, I am not the one who would win,” she says.
“We have different talents and Olivia and Emma are both very strong defenders. Though I like to think my ball-handling could get by them once or twice.”