Two members of the Estevan Comprehensive School (ECS) Elecs senior girls’ basketball program have committed to play at the post-secondary level for next season.
Bethany Montebon has signed with the Lakeland College Rustlers in Lloydminster, Alta.
And Kishi Rioferio committed to the Providence University College Pilots program in Otterburne, Man.
Montebon joins former Elec Sarah Dacuycuy at Lakeland.
“It seemed like a pretty good fit, and I really like them and their energy there,” said Montebon.
Montebon, who will study nursing, originally wanted to go east to play, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided to stay closer to home. She will eventually use a university transfer program to shift to the University of Saskatchewan after one or two years at Lakeland.
She was concerned that due to COVID-19, she would not get the opportunity to play basketball at the collegiate level. But she had multiple opportunities to play post-secondary before selecting Lloydminster.
“They said that they really liked my energy and what I have to offer for the team, that I have a lot of potential. Working under some of the returning players that are in their fifth year or fourth year, they said a lot of the same things, that they hope they will leave the team in good hands.”
Rioferio, meanwhile, has also been part of the Elecs since her Grade 9 year. She selected Providence because it’s a Christian post-secondary institution whose beliefs fit hers, and it has a great basketball program.
“It’s a Christian community, which will help me not only grow in my athletic career, but also my faith, and I already know the girls at Providence are just a supportive, talented and accepting group,” said Rioferio.
As a bonus, a former teammate on a club team, Anna Cushon of Oxbow, is already at Providence and Rioferio looks forward to playing with her again.
Rioferio will be studying business administration at the school.
During the recruiting process, Rioferio sent Providence highlight clips of her previous play, and she was told that coaches liked her shooting skills, and were impressed that she played every sport possible, including football with the Estevan Kinette Club U17 Female Viragos.
Both Montebon and Rioferio are grateful to the high school and club basketball programs in Estevan for helping them develop as players.
“I definitely wouldn’t have gotten where I am without my coaches, especially Mrs. Smoliak (Elecs basketball coach Jessie Smoliak),” said Montebon. “She’s gone through to a lot of coaches for me, and she’s given me the opportunity to go to a lot of camps and set up clubs for me and given me rides when my parents were working. A lot of my teammates have helped with that as well.”
Rioferio added: “With all my different coaches and my teammates, they all taught me and helped me with so many different things, and my teammates, all of them, have pushed me to the best I can be as a player and as a person. Each teammate has helped me grow as a person. Whenever I wanted to play some basketball, I could always count on one of them to come out and shoot around for three hours.”
Her coaches have also been supportive and pushed her to be better.
Smoliak said that even with the loss of a developmental year, she believes they are ready for this next step.
“They both have shown dedication and passion for the sport they love,” Smoliak said. “I sure missed coaching them this past year though. As much as I want them to play at the next level, I would have loved to have coached them for one more year. I adored the time that I did spend working and developing them.
“Two amazing kids with big hearts. They will do well and grow a lot next year.”