GREENWICH, NS – Meghan MacLeod doesn’t remember a time she when didn’t play basketball.
She began playing the sport at the tender age of 4 and has grown up with the game. At 17, she’s now in grade 12 at Horton High School, and a leader on her team.
It’s become a way of life for her, she says – a way of life she’s not ready to leave just yet.
“Basketball has been something I’ve done since I was young, and it’s something I’ll stick with,” she says.
Growing up with the game
MacLeod grew up in Wolfville and was born into a basketball family, if ever there was one.
Her mother and father, current Horton head coach Dwayne MacLeod, each played basketball growing up.
MacLeod is playing alongside younger sister Aidan, 14, on the high school team.
“It’s awesome having her on the team, and having our dad as coach. Maybe it’ll be funny later, but no complaints yet!” she laughs.
After the age of 8, MacLeod knew basketball was the one. It’s a love she’s not letting go of any time soon, as she hopes to continue playing at university, and a potential switch to coaching later in life.
“My dad guided me through this sport, and taught me to love it. That’s something I’ll hold onto for a long time,” she says.
Loving the sport
MacLeod is serious about basketball. She practices over two hours every day apart from Sundays. She and her Horton Griffins also play in tournaments nearly every weekend.
It may seem like a hectic schedule for a 17-year-old, but MacLeod lives and loves it.
She is one of three co-captains and is a guard on the team, meaning her position is a defensive one. She says it comes naturally to her, and that being able to move around the court is exactly what she looks for in her game.
“I’m one of the taller players on the team, so I play on the outside and run up the court. I love running, so it’s perfect,” she says.
Her team was at nine wins, zero losses when last season was cut short. This year, she’s looking forward to another smashing season with her teammates, who are also her friends.
“We’ve all played together for so long, not just on the high school team but also on club teams. These girls really are my best friends,” she says.
Her final year
This year, as a grade 12, she’s looking to perfect skills she’ll need in university, and particularly shooting and playing offensively.
And since games are so fast-paced, practicing is important for getting her habits right.
“I’ve got certain things I focus on when I practice, like shooting the ball. I’ve got to get it right then, because the game is so fast. You’ve got to get it right at practice,” she says.
Keeping up with basketball during last year’s teachers’ strike was important for her, and others. She says that besides just wanting to play, she didn’t want to lose her skill. Since she’s ramping up for university tryouts, keeping those skills intact was vital.
“It was mostly about just wanting to play and not getting rusty. It gave everyone the opportunity to do that,” says MacLeod.
Being a leader
MacLeod is excited to see where her team will go this year. It’s a young one – five grade nine players, and only two grade 12’s.
“We’ve all played together not only in high school, but on club teams. We’ve got some great chemistry this year and, even though we’re not the tallest team, we’ve got a long of strength,” she says.
As one of the two veteran players, she’s taken a leading role this year. It’s a role she keeps on and off the court.
“I try to help our younger players and to be there for them if they have questions about basketball, or school,” she says.
“I’m very approachable, and am always there for them.”
Basketball has also taught MacLeod what it means to be devoted to her sport, and her teammates.
“You’re not just doing it to be active anymore – it gets pretty serious when you reach high school basketball,” she says.