Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
Two local basketball players have been signed to Loyalist College’s women’s basketball team and more are welcome.
In May, the club’s coach Caleb Hugh announced the additions of Grace Callahan and Sam Clarke to the Loyalist Lancers.
Hugh has previously coached boys and girls basketball locally at a few high schools, including at St. Theresa, Quinte Secondary and Prince Edward Collegiate as well as with the County Clippers club program.
He believes there’s great talent in the area and players can make an impact at the OCAA (Ontario College Athletic Association) level while obtaining a post-secondary education at the same time with scholarships available to support the athletes.
“We’re fortunate now with Grace Callahan and Sam Clarke that we have a couple talented players that are going to stay local and play for their hometown and I’m hoping that becomes more contagious and they start a trend and maybe more in the next few years will follow their lead.”
Callahan and Clarke are both great athletes, first and foremost, Hugh noted, adding the biggest difference from high school to OCAA basketball is athleticism and aggressiveness.
“Sam can really score the ball. She can shoot and score from just about anywhere on the floor.” Hugh said. Grace, she’s played high-level basketball for probably over 10 years – she’s played Spirits all the way through, always on their top team and been one of the best players.”
Clarke is a 5-foot-7 guard from Madoc where she was recognized as MVP for the Centre Hastings Centurions high school team. She also has past club experience with the Belleville Spirits and County Clippers. She’s entering the first year of Loyalist’s Police Foundations program.
Hugh considers Clarke to be “a hidden gem.”
“She didn’t play Spirits last year, so she was just playing in Madoc, but super-skilled and just a really natural skill for the game and she can put the ball in the net so having her on the floor will make it easier for our other players as well because of threat she presents as a shooter.”
Callahan joins the Lancers from the St. Theresa Titans. She also recently earned a silver medal at the provincial championships with the Belleville Spirits U19 team.
The 5-foot-7 ultra-competitive shooting guard from Corbyville will join Loyalist’s Pre-Health Sciences Pathway program in September.
Hugh said he has been nudging Callahan since she was in Grade 10 to join the Lancers following high school graduation.
“She’s one of those players you hate to play against, but love to have on your team,” Hugh said. “We have big expectations for her.”
Heading into the summer, Hugh is still looking to bolster his roster if any Quinte area players moving on to post-secondary education are interested. After a couple challenging years due to COVID-19, he only had six players remaining by second semester this past season.
Currently, 10 players are signed to the Lancers women’s basketball team and High hopes to add five more. He expects to have training camps this summer which potential recruits are also welcome to join.
“The best way to be competitive in games is to be competitive in practice so we want to have a large roster,” he said. “I’m always looking to add depth to create that competition that will push our players even further.”
Any players interested can contact coach Hugh at
firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the Prospective Athlete Form at