TRENTON — Emily McNeil is repeating history in basketball.
McNeil, who is a member of the Pictou County Lightning program, has cracked the lineup for the Basketball Nova Scotia girls Under-14 team for 2018. She tried out for the U-14 team in December in Halifax and learned on January 2 that she made the team.
She will turn 13 in June and is entering her third season with the Lightning program and plays for the Lightning’s U-14 bantam team that features head coach Mark Arbuckle and assistant coach Todd Fast. She has been playing basketball since she was nine and also plays basketball for Trenton Middle School.
“I was excited,” she said, regarding her selection to the roster. “I’m looking forward to improving with the (U-14) team. The coaches are really good.”
McNeil’s entry on the BNS team comes 20 years after her aunt Jyl Chisholm played for a BNS program.
“It’s quite exciting for me,” Chisholm said. “I hope she has the same opportunities I had — and more — because she will excel.”
“We are very proud of Emily,” Lightning president Peter Douthwright said. “Her quiet demeanor is nothing like how she battles on the court. She is quite simply one of the most coachable kids I’ve had the pleasure of coaching. She took a chance and conquered as she is a current 12-year-old playing on a U-14 squad. I consider it a very impressive feat that speaks volumes about her character. She displays no fear, no quit and just wants to play the sport she has grown to love.”
Chisholm was on a BNS team in 1992. She later starred in junior and senior high school basketball with the West Pictou Wildcats and played a season of university basketball with the St. Francis X-Women in 1996-97 before deciding to pursue a business career.
Victory followed Chisholm. The Wildcats won a local junior high championship in 1993 with her ball-handling and shooting prowess and a provincial senior high title in 1995 when she scored 28 points. The total included just five field goals in the game, one in the second half, but she sank 18 of her 19 free throws.
Chisholm played for Nova Scotia at the Junior Nationals and was on the team that represented the province at the 1997 Canada Summer Games in Brandon, Man.
“It was my first experience with Basketball Nova Scotia in 1992,”she said. “I had a tremendous opportunity. I hope Emily grabs every opportunity she can — more than I did — because the sky’s the limit.”
Emily McNeil, left, and her aunt Jyl Chisholm. (Goodwin photo)