Churchill Public School principal Dave Farrow noted that the girls basketball championship had been years in the making, after the
Chargers finally broke through this spring.
Of course, Farrow had not had the benefit of having Claudia Pellerin aboard to lead the way, as the school fell just a little short a handful of
times over the course of the past ten to twelve years.
In fact, such is the natural athleticism of the 14 year old Toronto native who moved to Sudbury at the age of nine, that the Churchill girls also found
themselves in the Rainbow Board volleyball final as well, just before Christmas, with Pellerin a key cog in that wheel.
Still, it’s on the hard court where she is truly flourishing these days, even if it hasn’t always been that way. “When I was younger, I tried every
single sport, just to see what I would like,” Pellerin said. “It wasn’t basketball originally, it was soccer and swimming.”
“In grade five, I started playing basketball. I wasn’t very good at it, so it just pushed me to work harder and keep getting better and better at it.”
It seems to have worked. Accounting for 27 of her team’s 39 points in the gold medal game, Pellerin dominated in several facets, even though everyone in
the noisy Lo-Ellen gymnasium knew exactly where the ball was going.
She has clearly come a long way from an inauspicious start. “I started in the Valley East league, which is like a house league, and then I started
playing Jam (competitive). I think my first year of Jam, I started to learn a lot, new things and stuff like that.”
Called up as an underager to join a very strong group of 2002 girls coached by Bruce Bourget, Pellerin prides herself as much on her defensive
progress as with any of her natural offensive attributes. “Rebounding was my focus, I started to do well with that pretty quickly,” she said.
“Find the ball, box out your checks and be aware of everything that is happening around out.” She has taken to heart the teachings of all of her coaches,
but finds herself particularly pushed as she practices with the team that is one year older.
“He (coach Bruce) puts us in game situations, like three on threes, five on fives, after we’ve learned a skill, and then we have to try and use it.
Every drill that we do is high intensity and moving quickly. That’s what makes it fun.”
Where some might struggle in understanding exactly how to deal with the dominance that Pellerin displays when she returns to Churchill and her own age
bracket, the talkative soon-to-be Knight appears to have handled it well.
“For my school, I feel like a leader,” she stated. “It made me more vocal, more confident, so I can bring that into my club play. I always want to get
my (Churchill) teammates opportunities, so they can be learning to become better players.”