People at play

Steve Coad, Free Press Sports Reporter

, Last Updated: 12:09 PM ET

Andrea Hawkins is going to take a break.

She's earned it.

The London native and Oakridge secondary school grad, now a high school teacher in Brantford, coached Ontario to the Canada Summer Games gold in women's basketball in Regina this month, making it five provincial teams she's guided to national titles.

Ontario, unbeaten in six games in the tournament for players under 17, toppled Alberta 91-84 in overtime in the final.

"At this point I'm going to take a step back. I want to spend more time with my family," said Hawkins, who was at Oakridge from 1984-88 and played school hoops for her dad Rich, a terrific athlete in his day and a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon living with his wife Susan in Spartanburg, S.C.

The family Andrea is intent on seeing more of includes her husband, Brian Kingshott -- another London native and Oakridge grad -- and little ones Jackson, 5, and Jordan, 1. Brian's parents, Grace and Bob Kingshott, live in London.

Hawkins' scaling back won't be complete. She'll continue, she said, to coach the senior girls' team at North Park collegiate in Brantford.

Along with Hawkins, local connections on the gold- gathering team included Jaleesa Rhoden of London (Central secondary school), Chelsea Kane of Ingersoll and Kendel Ross of Sarnia (Northern collegiate).

All three were mighty contributors.

Rhoden scored 24 points in the gold-medal match, a game Ontario led 50-28 at the half only to have Alberta nail a buzzer-beater that tied it 74-74 and forced overtime.

If that wasn't enough of a shock to the Ontarians, Alberta started OT with back-to-back three-point baskets.

"Our girls held their composure and came back basket by basket," Hawkins said, her pride in her players obvious. "Both teams were very, very talented. It was an exciting, fast-paced game."

Rhoden, a point guard, averaged 16.5 points through the tournament, hitting 21 against both Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Ross's job in the final was to guard Alberta's top player, Janelle Bekkering, which she did effectively while getting eight points herself. An outstanding scorer when called upon, Ross, a six-foot post player, scored 26 against Manitoba, 24 against Newfoundland and 20 against Quebec, helping her to a tournament average of 17.3 points.

Kane, who saw playing time at the point and at shooting guard, averaged seven points a game and played on the champs' top defensive unit.

Ontario's under-17 boys' team, including London's Devin Brennan-McBride (Aquinas high school), won gold as well, sinking Quebec 73-63 in the final. After a shaky start to the tournament -- Saskatchewan dunked Ontario 73-66 in the tournament tipoff -- the Ontarians rebounded for five straight wins.

Lacey Truelove and Adrian Timmers of London's Forest City Diving Club won bronze medals for Ontario in the three-metre synchronized event at the Canada Summer Games.

Truelove, 16, teamed with Alex Tipple of Thunder Bay to finish third in the women's competition while Timmers, 14, and Gregory Lazzaratto of Toronto were third in the men's field.

London and the Forest City Club were spectacularly represented at the games.

Along with Truelove and Timmers, the six-diver Ontario team included Forest City's Jordan Anderson, 15, and Danielle Williams, 18, a Londoner on a diving scholarship at Michigan State University.

Among their other results, Truelove was fifth off the tower, 17th in one-metre and 16th in three-metre; Williams was 14th in tower, ninth in one-metre and seventh in three-metre; Timmers was 11th in tower, 15th in one-metre and 12th in three-metre; and Anderson was 10th in tower and 11th in one-metre.

Dan Arpin, a Saunders secondary school grad and punishing runner this summer for the Forest City Thunderbirds of the Central Ontario Minor Football League, is off to St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S.

X-Men head coach John Bloomfield, a former Western Mustang, intends to deploy Arpin -- strong as a bull at five-foot-nine and 225 pounds -- at linebacker, for this year at least.

"We like his toughness and the fact he played at a pretty high level (Thunderbirds) between high school and coming here," Bloomfield said yesterday.

"Our aim is to increase our overall depth and athleticism, and Dan really allows us to do that. This year, we see him learning the game at this level. Next year, and for some time to come, we see him being a big contributor to our team."

Arpin, who turns 19 in September, helped get the John Darnell-coached T-Birds, 7-3 overall, to the Central Ontario Minor final, where they were rocked 47-14. Darnell is Bloomfield's assistant head coach at St. FX.

Meanwhile, the X-Men, 3-5 in the Atlantic Conference last season, open training camp Monday in preparation for their season opener Sept. 10 at Mount Allison in Sackville, N.B.

Arpin, who will study human kinetics with a minor in French, wants to be a teacher-coach.

Dan's proud family includes his parents Sandi and Gil Letts and Gilles Arpin, and his sister Rachel Arpin.

Dan was busy last week, helping Rachel move into Glendon College, the French campus at York University in Toronto. She's in the the third year of her program in international studies.


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