Maple Ridge secondary senior Lauren Lamont is heading north after receiving a scholarship to play for the University of Northern B.C.’s women’s basketball team.
Lamont joins the UNBC Timberwolves at a historic time, as the team prepares for its first season in Canada Inter-unversity Sports’ Canada West athletic association.
The Timberwolves went 24-6 last season in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s PacWest division, claiming the division championship and finishing sixth at nationals. But the prospect of playing in the CIS next year, the top league in the country, is part of what attracted Lamont north to Prince George.
“I’m pretty excited to be playing in the CIS,” she said. “I got some other offers from [PacWest colleges], but athletically and academically, UNBC was a better fit.”
Lamont said she plans to major in biology while at university, with the hopes of pursuing a career in dentistry.
Her high school coach, Don Herman, said UNBC is getting a versatile player, adept at both ends of the court. Lamont blossomed offensively towards the end of the 2012 season, routinely scoring in double-digits thanks to her strong outside shot.
“From the Fraser Valleys on she started really scoring for us,” said Herman. “20, 25 points a game, she really turned it on.”
That output continued in provincials, where Lamont averaged 11 points per game against the best players in B.C., all the while leading the Ramblers’ defence and helping the team to a fifth-place finish.
“Her job is to guard the top player on the opposite team,” said Herman. “They are getting an awesome defender and a great rebounder.”
Although she stands just shy of six feet, she has the wing span of a much taller player.
“It’s deceptive,” said Herman. “She’s always deflecting and intercepting passes because her opposition thinks the ball is out of her reach.”
Herman said he has no doubt Lamont will be able to play at the CIS level.
“The players that succeed are the ones that can adapt, and she can definitely do that,” he said.
Due to the Ramblers’ short bench the past two seasons, Lamont has been called on to play just about every position on the court at one time or another, due to injuries to her teammates.
“She’s very coachable,” said Herman. “I think she’ll do great up there.”
Lamont, for her part, said she want to further develop the offensive portion of her game.
“I’m going to really focus on working on my jumpshot this summer,” she said.
Lamont is one of three players from this year’s Maple Ridge Ramblers team who will be making the jump to collegiate basketball this September. Hayley Williams has committed to Kwantlen Polytechnic University, while Coral-Lee Antaya has received a number of offers, but so far is undecided.
“For all three of seniors to move on is pretty special,” said Herman.
Also likely moving on will be Kolbie Orum, the Ramblers’ leading scorer and provincial all-star. While Orum still has another year left of high school to complete, the six-foot-three post has been attracting the attention of some of the biggest and best basketball programs on the continent, including Oregon State University and Stanford University.