Courtney Gerwing talks about the year
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
The women’s basketball team was a highlight reel for much of their season as they tore through the PACWEST. A lacklustre finish saw them fall from their tip-top form that had been on display throughout the regular season, and they ended up placing fourth at the PACWEST playoffs. However, results are almost never the entirety of the story, and we sat down with Courtney Gerwing, the now-former, head coach of the team, to break down the season.
When asked about how she felt regarding the overall perspective of the season she commented, “I’m really proud of our overall year. We had a phenomenal summer of workouts, fundraising and team building that really allowed us to flow into the season with great chemistry and some real excitement regarding the possibilities of where we could go as a group. Our preseason Portland trip and midseason Phoenix trip were outstanding. We also went undefeated in the month of January, which is I believe, one of the hardest things to do in the league so I’m really proud of this group. It was unfortunate that we finished 0-2 but those can’t be indicators of the entire season.” The team at one point held the best record in the PACWEST, and looked convincing while doing so.
Throughout their regular season, there were tons of high points. A few that could be brought to mind were their excellent run in the month of January, going on a 15-game winning streak, and finishing the regular season second place in the PACWEST which earned them a semifinal bye into the provincial championships. Gerwing also had a few fond memories of her own. “Our trip to Phoenix was definitely a highlight. It was such a phenomenal trip, the weather obviously was gorgeous; we had the opportunity to learn and practice some different things.”
However, like anything in life, the highs come with the lows, and for this team, the lows came when it counted the most. Gerwing put it best during the interview when she said, “Obviously being ranked #1 or #2 all season and then finishing 4th is a bit underwhelming, as is losing 2 straight tight games to finish off the season. But it is really tough to come back to play in the Bronze medal game after losing an OT game in the semifinal knowing your team’s performance goal has been a Provincial title from the start of the season.” The game following the heartbreaking semifinals loss was a very obvious low-point for the team as they struggled to show heart on the court, and were ultimately displaced by the Quest Kermodes.
Gerwing mulled multiple names over before discussing some game-changing players: “Nanaya Miki was outstanding and really saved her best basketball for the end of the season. She was phenomenal all year but battled a few injuries early on. She was outstanding for us in the Provincial tournament, which was really exciting to see because her grandpa and her mom actually made the trip out from Japan to watch the games.” A strong shooter and a hard competitor, Miki was excellent for the Royals on both ends of the court, racking up a few double-doubles in her final year with the team.
Looking to the future, Gerwing touched on the squad’s sole rookie, Laiken Cerenzie, “Laiken Cerenzie was solid for us and really gave us such great energy coming in off the bench, which is her trademark. She has the best competitive spirit of anyone I’ve ever coached and she is such a pleasure to coach because of that. I thought she played quite well towards the end of the season as well, especially in the Provincial tournament. She had some injuries early on but really came on strong and was such a consistent competitor at practice and that really carried over into the games.” Cerenzie will look to be a key member of a new roster next year as players move on.
However, it isn’t just players moving on this year. Gerwing has made the decision to step down as the head coach of the team to pursue new opportunities. She is looking to make a move to Australia to further her education. “In leaving, I really hope more than anything that our group understands the importance of team chemistry. What you do off the floor really impacts the product that you put on it. I’d like to think that Douglas College women’s basketball is on the rise and that that will continue, even as I move on.”
It’s been a memorable few years that Gerwing has had as the Royals head coach. Coming in at a time of turmoil and change, Gerwing was able to shape the team to eventually grow into the dominant form that was displayed this season. Before her departure, she made one last comment addressed to entirety of the college. “I just want to add a thanks to the parents, family members, DC student athletes, DC staff, and all those who supported our team and our journey this season, and throughout my tenure as coach. In our semifinal against Capilano which was at Capilano, we had more fans than they did and that really shows what a special group of people surround Douglas College Athletics and the Douglas College Women’s Basketball Program.”