Throughout Cassandra Goodis’ basketball career she was brought up to adopt a team-first mentality.
During her time with the Pen High Lakers it was never about scoring a lot of points even though she did.
“That’s just what that team needed from me,” said Goodis, who completed her five-year career with the University of Victoria Vikes basketball team March. “Then I came to university and I’m surrounded by all these people that can score, but they needed a point guard. They needed someone to get the ball to the right person at the right time. It’s never really been about the statistics.”
Yet her career stats are impressive as she became the Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-time leader in assists with 598 in regular season and playoff action. She broke the record of former Simon Fraser University Clan Lani Gibbons of 539 from 2003-08. She also became the Vikes’ all-time steals leader. This season in 20 games, Goodis averaged 2.6 steals per game. Prior to this season, she was 11th on the CIS all-time list with 223 career steals.
As Goodis said, it was about what she could do on the court to help her team.
Jessica Renfrew, an offensive threat for the Vikes during her five seasons, was the recipient of several Goodis passes.
“If you were to look at who assisted, a lot my baskets, probably 80 per cent of them, would be from Cass,” said Renfrew. “In that sense we both made each other look good.”
Renfrew and the rest of her teammates loved being part of the ride that led to Goodis ending her career atop the CIS assist list.
“It was much more motivation for me,” said Renfrew, a Victoria native. “I know that’s how it was for the rest of the team. Everyone just wanted her to succeed and to beat this record so badly. I think it was a true testament to our team’s character. We were just very oriented and focused around Cassandra’s success.”
Teammates in provincial competition as well, Renfrew said Goodis possessed court smarts.
“She has a wicked basketball IQ,” she said. “You can ask her anything about basketball on the floor and she would have a good answer for you. She was an essential leader for us in that sense. Not only a strong presence on the floor, but she could back up what she was saying with IQ-based knowledge of basketball.”
Goodis enjoyed every moment of her last season with the Vikes, even practice time. She admitted that practices aren’t fun. She had more interest in playing games.
“Every practice was one less practice that I was ever going to get to and usually practices were a bit of a struggle for me throughout my career,” she said. “I think this year I had the most amount of fun working hard, being competitive, putting in the work and seeing the results.”
Playing for bronze in the CIS championship against the Alberta Pandas was hard for Goodis. The game was emotional. The day before, March 6, the Vikes lost 77-61 to the Saskatchwan Huskies after not playing well. In that final game, Vikes coach Dani Sinclair pulled Goodis and Renfrew aside.
“She said it would be the hardest game we would ever have to play. She needed us to just suck it up one last time and do it for the younger players,” said Goodis. “It was hard. It was one of the most fun games I have ever played in.”
Part of what made it fun is that Sinclair allowed the pair to do what they wanted and whenever a mistake happened, Sinclair was seen laughing it off.
“I remember we were down by quite a bit at half time and I was sitting on the bench, drinking water. Dani came and sat beside me. We need to get within single digits by this time, within like 2:30 minutes. I looked at her and said, ‘OK, we will do it’,” recalled Goodis. “It was literally like five seconds before the deadline she had given me and I looked up at the clock and we were in single digits. I looked over at her and she just started laughing. For the rest of the game she kept giving me goals to get to by a certain time.”
The Vikes lost 78-74.
Renfrew credited Goodis for becoming the player she did.
“She was always a very vocal player in that sense,” said Renfrew.
Renfrew describes Goodis as an amazing person who worked hard and was determined. Her best quality is that she would drop whatever she was doing to help a friend.
Goodis hopes that she would be looked at as a role model for younger female Penticton basketball players. She said coming from a small town and having goals were big aspects of her career.
“Nothing was handed to me. I was in high school going into the basketball gym by myself five nights a week,” she said. “I think that I worked hard to get where I got.”
She added that playing with the athletes she did, looking back at their school careers and their skill, Goodis said it wasn’t that they were naturally gifted.
“If you want something bad enough and you’re willing to put in the work and work hard, then think that any goal is attainable,” she said.
When asked about her assist record and becoming the Vikes leader in steals, they are accomplishments Goodis is proud of.
“If I could trade that in for a CIS national championship, I would in a second,” said Goodis.