’Cats duo off to Fraser Valley
Teammates since the third grade, Zoey Haramboure and Sydney Schepikoff were set to go their separate ways for their post-secondary basketball careers.
Haramboure had committed to the Victoria Vikes while Schepikoff had decided to join the Fraser Valley Cascades after graduation from Brookswood Secondary this June.
But after the Vikes women’s basketball head coach stepped down, Haramboure had second thoughts about heading to the provincial capital.
And Victoria’s loss is Fraser Valley’s gain after Haramboure decided to join the Cascades.
“I think it is really cool to keep playing with someone,” Schepikoff said.
“I have already played with her for eight years.
“It is going to be nice to know (somebody) on the team and how they play on the court.”
“I will be more comfortable.”
After the abrupt resignation of the Vikes’ coach, Haramboure harbored serious thoughts about quitting the game.
She enrolled at Fraser Valley with the intent on just being a student.
But after talking to Cascades coach Al Tuscchscherer, Haramboure decided to give post-secondary basketball a shot.
It also helped that she was familiar with several of her new teammates and the coaching staff, having attended Cascades’ camps in the past.
“I have played with a lot of the girls on that team,” she said about some of the factors which swayed her to keep playing.
Part of the program’s freshman class includes a trio of W.J. Mouat Hawks, who edged Brookswood for the Fraser Valley title and also won the provincial AAA championship.
The ’Cats, who were seeded second for the tournament, placed fourth.
“And it will be good to have someone on that team that I know and I can trust,” she added about playing with Schepikoff.
Haramboure is joining the team as a walk-on and it is a coup for a Cascades program which already boasted a strong recruiting class.
“This kind of just fell into our lap, no doubt about it,” Tuschscherer said. “She sought us out.
“I was pretty pleased with our rotation ... but when this opportunity came around, we had to explore it (and) we’re really excited she’s coming.”
Haramboure is expected to play small forward, although Tuchscherer envisions he can shift her to power forward when the Cascades go with a quicker line-up.
She is deadly from the outside, as evidenced by a game against the Riverside Rapids back in January, when Haramboure knocked down 11 three-pointers en route to a 45-point game.
Schepikoff figures she will play both guard positions as well as small forward.
Brookswood coach Neil Brown says she is a tremendous athlete, who often times was counted on for her defensive prowess.
“She was a great soccer player as a kid and that ability to move in crowds has really helped her,” he said.
As for Haramboure, the ’Cats coach called her the most gifted player on his team and very accurate from the outside.
In five years at Brookswood, the pair helped the team win Fraser Valley and provincial championships in both 2006 and 2008.
— with files from Dan Kinvig/Black Press