It takes little time for Lesley Lacroix to find right words of praise for Brianne Hrynyk.
The Pen High Lakers senior girls basketball coach is impressed by Hrynyk’s athleticism, tenacity and competitive drive.
“What an athlete,” said Lacroix. “She wants to go to the hoop and she wants the ball and she has got the fastest hands. If it’s a loose ball at all, it usually ends up in her hands. She has no lack of confidence in terms of going to the hoop.”
Entering her final season of senior basketball, Hrynyk intends to attack the hoop and track down rebounds like the squirrel in Ice Age tracking down its nut.
When the school year started, Hrynyk made her way to the gym to start getting a feeling for the ball. While she is a multi-sport athlete (plays soccer and hockey), she doesn’t play volleyball. As the Lakers pursue a valley championship, they will count on Hrynyk to produce points. While she can handle the ball, there is one area offensively that needs work.
“Free throws were her nemesis last year,” said Lacroix. “Because she is aggressive, she goes to the line a lot. She was shooting really poorly from the line.”
The good news for Hrynyk is that Lacroix has already seen improvement. It’s important for the Lakers and Hrynyk that she is more dangerous from that spot.
“We’ve lost games by two where we have shot 50 per cent from the free throw line,” said Lacroix.
When asked about her foul line struggles, Hrynyk had one explanation.
“I think I play games with my head,” she said smiling.
Thankfully for the Lakers, putting in the commitment to improve facets of her game isn’t a problem. Lacroix said she is a workhorse. She loves playing the game because of the pace. She enjoys the running aspect, which keeps her fit. Hrynyk is determined to help the Lakers have a strong season as she likes the group they have. She readily admits this group isn’t better than last year’s, however, the height advantage this year will help.
“We are meshing very well and with our first tournament we placed second,” said Hrynyk, who spent part of her Christmas break in Cancun, Mexico with teammate and friend Bryanne Francisco. “If we work as hard as we did last year, we will do better.”