OLDS, Alta. — The Olds College Broncos women’s basketball team has dipped into the local talent pool for its newest recruit, with head coach Avery Harrison tapping into his past to build in the present.
Didsbury High Dragons standout Mackenzie Hooson, a product of the Mountain View Broncos basketball program, has committed to the defending CCAA champions beginning with the 2019-20 season, joining Medicine Hat product Halle Gjerlaug and Winnipeg native Dani Earl as part of this year’s recruiting class.
Hooson adds even more size to a formidable Broncos lineup as a six-foot forward, and she will study Business Management in the fall.
The ability to begin her post-secondary basketball career close to home appealed to Hooson.
“Having my friends and family close is important to me, so choosing to play for the Broncos was a good decision,” she said. “The facilities Olds College has to offer is definitely a bonus too. The Ralph Klein Centre is a great facility, and I’m excited to get to practice and work out there.”
The connection between Harrison and the Hoosons runs deep. While the Broncos earned their first ring in March, Hooson’s mother, Laura, has one of her own from two decades ago as part of SAIT’s 1999 national championship team, also coached by Harrison.
Laura Hooson has witnessed her daughter’s development first-hand as her coach at Didsbury High, and she believes Mackenzie will be a strong fit within the Broncos program.
“Her hard work, determination, passion for the game, and will to win are a great fit for Coach Harrison’s system,” she said. “Having played the last two club seasons with him, she knows what he expects out of practices and games.”
Mackenzie Hooson has blossomed into a formidable player in her own right, winning most valuable player honours in basketball all four years she played at Didsbury, bookending her time as a Dragon with a South Central Zone Championships in 2016 and this past season.
She brings a balanced game to the floor, pairing a strong rebounding presence at both ends of the floor with the ability to shoot from long range.
She also considers herself blessed to be part of a Broncos program looking to repeat last year’s success.
“I’m sure the team is going to be super hungry for another ACAC and national championship, so we’ll be pushing in games and practices all season,” she said. “People will definitely be able to see a lot of strong and competitive basketball.”
Both Hoosons are excited about the unique prospect of playing college basketball for the same head coach, and both hope to have matching rings.
“My mom loved having Avery as her coach, and I am super lucky to get to be coached by him as well,” Mackenzie Hooson said. “Hopefully, history can repeat itself so my mom and I are both National Champions.”
The Broncos will begin their national championship defence on Saturday, October 19 as they travel to the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre to face the Red Deer College Queens at 6 p.m. before welcoming the St. Mary’s University Lightning in their home opener on Saturday, November 2 at 6 p.m., where they will officially raise their 2018-19 ACAC and CCAA championship banners.
– T. Bennett
Information from the Olds College Broncos contributed to this post.
Olds College Sports Information
August 15, 2019