Shared: Call from Midland Sports Hall of Fame surprises basketball player Kerri Jileson
MIDLAND – Inspired by watching her two older sisters play, Kerri Jileson launched her own basketball career at the age of nine.
“When I went to the gym with my sisters, the coach would give me a basketball and I would dribble it on the stage,” she recalled. “During practice, I would shoot layups with them.”
Jileson’s dedication will be recognized Saturday when she is inducted into the Midland Sports Hall of Fame in the athletes category.
“I knew Midland had a sports hall of fame, but I never thought I’d ever be inducted into it,” she said.
Jileson said she can’t wait to thank her old coaches for all they did to help build her basketball career.
“Basketball has given me so many opportunities, and that includes learning about the game growing up and working with so many of the great teachers/coaches I had when I was living and playing in Midland,” said Jileson. “They made the game fun, and that just made me play and play and play.”
A graduate of Monsignor Castex Catholic School, Jileson later attended Midland Secondary School, where she earned a spot on the junior girls squad. Her skills were at such a high level she was elevated to the role of starter on the senior girls team when she reached Grade 10.
“Playing against the older girls, I found out quickly that I needed to get physically stronger if I wanted to be able to play at that level, so I started going to the YMCA a lot,” said Jileson.
At about the same time, she began playing for the Midland Mystics select team in the Ontario Basketball Association. The Mystics captured a provincial title in 2000 and Jileson was one of 50 elite players invited to a Nike All-Canada Camp in Waterloo.
By the time she reached her graduating year at MSS, 20 American universities and colleges were actively recruiting her. However, feeling her athletic and academic aspirations would best be served in Canada, she enrolled at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Two games into her varsity career with the Golden Hawks, she was named a starter. Jileson helped lead the team to an eighth-place national finish in 2003 and 10th in 2004.
After graduating with honours with a degree in kinesiology, Jileson continued her basketball career in Europe, playing professionally in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Returning to North America in 2009, she signed with the Toronto Stealth of the Women’s Blue Chips Basketball League.
In 2013, Jileson came out of retirement to help Canada win gold at the World Masters Games, held that year in Italy. In April, she will be jetting off to New Zealand to play with Canada in another World Masters event.
Jileson also has the title of coach on her sporting resumé. She guided the Kitchener Waterloo Lightning to an Ontario midget girls title and served for three years as an assistant at the University of Guelph. She is now in her fourth year coaching at Galt Collegiate Institute in Cambridge.
Shared Public Photo/News Source: Simcoe.com View Source