Sisters Taylor and Emma McAlpine share a love for basketball.
“Basketball is a big sport within my family… My basketball journey has been incredible. [It] has shaped me into the person I am today,” says Emma.
Emma played both centre and post position during her 12 years on the court. She played for the OBA (Ontario Basketball Association) Huntsville Hurricanes for 12 seasons, four seasons with the Huntsville High School Hoyas, and two seasons with the North Ontario team.
She suffered two severe concussions, one in 2017 and the second in 2018. “I had to miss half of my grade twelve season which included OFSAA and my whole OBA season.” Once Emma was given a clean bill of health, she was able to play one last season with the U19 Huntsville Hurricanes.
She had been recruited to play for the Georgian College Women’s Basketball team when she was in Grade 10 but after two concussions she chose to put her schooling and health before athletics, which was not an easy decision for her.
“I am grateful to have gotten the opportunity to develop and grow as a player in Huntsville and I hope to give other girls that opportunity in my future,” she said.
Emma has many great memories from her years as a player and is now focusing on a future that includes coaching. She currently supports her mother and sister, who coach the Huntsville Hurricanes Junior Girls team, and hopes to have a team of her own one day.
“I want to continue to develop the girls program in Huntsville and share this great sport with many,” she said.
Last year, Emma was recognized for all of her hard work with the Huntsville Hurricanes organization when she received the James Naismith Award.
She commends all of the coaches she has had over the years of her basketball career.
Taylor McAlpine plays small forward when on the court. She began playing basketball in the sixth grade. During her 13 years of basketball experience, she played rep basketball with the OBA along with four years at Huntsville High School as a Hoya, and is currently in her fifth year with the York University Lions.
She racked up many wins over her high school career, including the MPS (Muskoka Parry Sound) championships four times and the GBSSA (Georgian Bay Secondary School Association) regional championships three times, and attended the OFSSA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) provincial championships 2012. Taylor was also awarded the MVP (Most Valuable player) award in all four years of high school and earned the leading scorer and rebounder each year as well. She got to play for the Nipissing University regional team which took her to the Ontatrio Summer Games during high school basketball.
“I always just wanted to get to the university level, so that was my focus my entire high school career,” she said.
Now in her final season as captain with the Lions, she has achieved that goal.
Taylor had to overcome an injury of her own after she tore her ACL and needed to have surgery. During recovery, she was on her team as a red shirt player, only allowed to practice but not compete which was difficult for Taylor.
“After this season I think I am going to take a break from competitive basketball,” she said. “My competitive days of playing will be over but I’ll be looking into coaching as soon as possible.”
Earlier this year Taylor organized a preseason game between York and Nipissing that was played at HHS and raised $500 for the Huntsville Hurricanes basketball program that is so close to her heart.
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