By Ottawa Sportspage, For Louis-Riel Rebelles
For Alana Renon, getting hurt last summer was the straw that broke the camel’s back – though in her case, it was a foot that snapped.
The talented basketball player craved the proper mix between basketball training, physical preparation and academic success, so that’s what drove her to transfer to the Louis-Riel Basketball Academy for her senior year of high school.
“I was playing club before and we didn’t really have a balance. There were always practices and I ended up getting injured a lot last year,” recounts Renon, who missed her club championship weekend and was still in an aircast come the start of Team Ontario selections.
Renon’s case provided a perfect illustration of why Louis-Riel became a founding member of the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association, a 2-year-old program governed by Ontario Basketball and aligned with provincial and national team developmental philosophies.
At Louis-Riel, Renon and her teammates receive a phys ed credit while completing their high-performance basketball training during the school day. That includes physical training four days a week with a highly-certified strength coach on top of practices.
“We have enough time for recovery,” underlines the future University of Ottawa biomedical sciences student, noting the setup in the school’s sports-study program has also allowed her to excel academically.
“It was hard to manage school and basketball before,” Renon adds. “Now, because I get home in good time every night, I can do homework and I don’t have to worry about going back out to practice.”
Top competition is also part of the puzzle, which her team gets in the 18-game OSBA season against the province’s best academies.
“The league is mostly for the girls who really want to play basketball at the next level, so all our games are very intense,” says the shooting guard/small forward.
Renon was also drawn to Louis-Riel for the coaching she receives on a daily basis under a Team Ontario coach of hers, André Desjardins, who also has experience with the national team dating back 7 years.
“That’s really cool,” Renon signals. “He can take the stuff the gets from the Canada camps and bring it back to us, and help us learn new things and how to take our game from this point to the next level.”
Renon adds that she’s also learned a lot from lunch- time meetings with a coach fully devoted to his athletes. “He always pushes us to be better,” highlights Renon, who now has aspirations to play professionally in Europe or with Team Canada, having attained her first major goal when she recently signed with the uOttawa Gee-Gees. “I’m really excited to see where I can get to.”