For Eckville’s Casey Belway, moving up to ACAC basketball has been a humbling and eye opening experience.
Belway has finished her first season playing basketball for the King’s University Eagles in Edmonton. In her first season she went from playing 40 minutes each game to playing a few minutes each quarter.
“It was very different and it took some time to get used to,” Belway said.
She went on to explain the timing of the game is very different to the way high school ball is played.
Playing basketball at a university level is much faster than what she was used to, Belway said.
“With high school you had the time to look at what you are doing and fix a mistake as you are going, you can’t really do that in ACAC ball until the next time,” she said.
The Eagles Head Coach Brian Anstice said this first year was a challenge for Belway, but one she “met with determination.”
“This was a new challenge for her. The girls were bigger, the game was faster… I think she learned a lot from the veterans on the team,” Anstice said.
“Casey really dug in and worked hard.”
Over the season Belway averaged about eight minutes on the court, and Anstice said she became a key player by the end of the season, and was put in at pivotal moments.
Belway said she still has a lot to learn about the game, and is excited to stretch her muscles and find out what she can do.
In this last season, Belway found she had to shift her focus from the inside to the outside to match the Eagles’ offence and also had to put work into her rebounding abilities.
“There was a lot to cover, but the offence was different from what we played in high school, so that took time for me to adjust to,” Belway said.
She says she wouldn’t have been half as successful as she was in her first season without the coaching she received in high school from Cody Magneson.
“Mags really knows the game and he taught me a lot. I really think I wouldn’t be here without him,” said Belway.
Anstice named Belway the team’s rookie of the year, and says he hopes to see her progress even more in the next few years.
Ultimately, Anstice said he would like to see Belway take a spot in the regular rotation, and not just filling in here and there as needed.
While learning the game in a new way was great, Belway said her favourite part was becoming part of a new family.
“That was something I really wanted. Coming from Eckville where we were all so close, I was really hoping to find that again with the Eagles,” Belway said.
According to Belway, the team spent most of their time together and became very close.
“It also really helped to have the support of my actual family from home. They came out to many of my games, they even came to Montana for some,” she said.
Belway will continue to work on her game in the off season, where she will work with the Eagles’ new coach Tory Hill.