The Prince Edward County Minor Basketball Association, fondly known as the County Clippers, recently concluded their 14th season, marking a momentous occasion for the program.
This year, the Clippers proudly fielded five rep teams and one development team, all of whom demonstrated remarkable growth, resilience, and passion for the game. The club also had over 220 players take part in its annual Spring House League for players in kindergarten through Grade 8.
The season was punctuated with several remarkable achievements, including exceptional performances at the Ontario Cup Championships. The U10 Girls team displayed unwavering determination and clinched a silver medal, showcasing their exceptional skills and teamwork. Similarly, the U14 Girls team exhibited great prowess and improvement on the court and brought home another silver medal, making the entire Clippers community immensely proud.
The 10 Boys team etched their names in the annals of County Clippers history by securing a gold medal at the Ontario Cup Championships. Their victory was a testament to their hard work, dedication, and exceptional coaching and the team’s accomplishment exemplified the talent and potential within the program.
The growth and development of all players this season have been truly commendable. Each athlete has shown tremendous improvement, both athletically and personally, further solidifying the Clippers’ reputation for fostering holistic development. The Clippers program not only prioritizes skill-building but also instills important values such as teamwork, sportsmanship, and resilience in its players.
Reflecting on the season, Jamie McCourt, VP of OBA Affairs, expressed his immense pride in the players, coaches, and families involved.
“This has been a remarkable season for the Clippers, and it fills me with great joy to witness the growth and achievements of our young athletes. Their dedication and hard work have been truly inspiring and the future of basketball in PEC is extremely bright.”
The Clippers also had the pleasure of celebrating two exceptional individuals who have made a significant impact on the organization. Drew Wollenberg was awarded the prestigious Rob Garden Coach of the Year Award. One of the parents who nominated him spoke highly of his coaching abilities, stating, “Drew deserves this coach of the year award because he is a tremendous coach who prioritizes the development of the team, but also the development of the individual on both an athletic and personal level.”
Nathan Vader was honored with the Steve O’Brien Volunteer of the Year Award for his unwavering dedication and inspirational coaching. A grateful parent who nominated him shared, “”Nathan has been truly an amazing coach. His dedication, inspirational drive, and enthusiasm towards building confidence, skill, teamwork, friendship, and commitment has been incredible!!. He went above and beyond by simply putting a team together. He brought together a group of young nervous girls who had (for the most part) never played organized basketball, and developed each of them individually, and as a group into a strong, eager, more confident, determined, enthusiastic group of girls excited about basketball, and even more importantly team spots and building friendships.”
The Clippers’ celebratory evening featured Vanessa Willis as the guest speaker, who shared her inspiring journey from County Clippers House League in grade 7 to CIS basketball as a member of the Nippising Lakers. Willis emphasized the importance of perseverance, hard work, and coachability. She urged the young athletes to never give up, work diligently to achieve their goals, and always remain open to coaching. “Your journey starts here, and with dedication and resilience, you can achieve greatness,” Willis encouraged the enthusiastic audience.
As the evening drew to a close, the County Clippers bid farewell and expressed deep gratitude to outgoing VP of OBA Affairs, Jamie McCourt. President Rob Garden praised McCourt, stating, “Jamie has been an incredibly important member of our executive for the past five years. He has been a coach, an executive member, and a champion for youth basketball, and he will be truly missed on the executive.”
Additionally, the Clippers extended heartfelt appreciation to President Rob Garden for his remarkable 14 years of service. Executive member Steve O’Brien spoke highly of Garden’s visionary leadership, saying, “Rob started County Clippers 14 years ago with a vision to create an opportunity for County kids to play basketball close to home. Through his incredible work ethic, his ability to bring people together, and his relentless pursuit of his vision, County Clippers has grown into an incredible organization. The amount of time and energy that he has put into the Clippers over the past 14 years is inspirational.”
Garden ended the night by thanking players, parents, coaches, volunteers, executives and sponsors for contributing to the Clippers family. “County Clippers started with a simple vision to provide opportunities for County kids to play basketball and I never could have imagined it would grow into this. I want to thank all of the amazing people who have helped this organization grow. Most importantly, thank you to our players for your time, your energy and your passion for our program. We get compliments everywhere we go about your grit, your tenacity and most importantly your sportsmanship and the way you play the game. I hope that you have a great summer and can’t wait to see you back on the court for the Clippers 15th season next year!
Congratulations to all of the individual player award winners. These remarkable players demonstrated exceptional skills, teamwork, and dedication throughout the season, earning well-deserved recognition for their contributions to the Clippers’ success.
- Most Valuable Player (MVP): Lilja Shaer
- Most Improved Player (MIP): Nora Vader
- Coaches Award: Emma Wiersma
- MVP: Joshua Thrasher & Emerson Maracle
- MIP: Damien Royce
- Coaches Award: Harrison Warner
- MVP: Hartley Wallach
- MIP: Joni Vader
- Coaches Award: Aylie Heffernan
- MVP: Haydn Maracle
- MIP: Mason Weaver
- Coaches Award: Ryan Gregor
- MVP: Brooklyn Maracle and Molly Cook-Martin
- MIP: Abby Rumig
- Coaches Award: Molly Carroll
- MVP: Hayden Lloyd
- MIP: Luke Graham
- Coaches Award: Kooper Maracle