Threlfall to bring physical play to Briercrest
By Rob Schellenberg
If Janelle Threlfall has her way, the 2010 Briercrest Women’s basketball team won’t be easy to play against.
Threlfall, a 5’11” forward who played for the Mennonite Educational Institute Secondary Eagles in Abbottsford, B.C., last year, loves to play a physical game.
“Aggressive, very aggressive,” she said. “If we had a rugby team, I would play. I love being very physical.”
“Obviously you don’t want to go out and hurt someone, that’s like never my intention at all, but to dominate is how I like to play.”
Her coach at MEI agreed.
“Janelle’s greatest strength as a player was her tenacity,” Rick Thiessen said. “She was a tireless worker on both ends of the court and never backed down from a challenge, whether it was shutting down the other team’s scorer or chasing down a rebound.”
The left-handed post loves to score, rebound, and run the court.
“I’m a finisher. I’m the first person up the court,” she said.
Threlfall averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds per game in her senior year, and Shane Sowden, the Briercrest coach, is excited to have her on board.
"Janelle fills a need in that we were looking for a post that could step in right away and help the team,” he said.
“Everyone needs post players, and Janelle's style of play will definitely help her make the transition to the college level. Janelle has been a three-year starter at MEI and leads by example on the court. She can score and rebound and is not afraid to mix it up under the basket."
Her leadership also drew praise from her MEI coach.
“This past season she was a third-year returning player and it was ‘her’ team,” Thiessen said. “As a result, she led on many levels, both as our leading scorer and rebounder, and by continuing to work diligently in practices. Her desire to compete, whether it was in a drill, in practice, or in a tight game, instilled confidence in her teammates.
“She is a leader and assumes a leadership role regardless of whether she has an official position or not. And she’s not the type to lead only with words, but she backs up her talk with a work ethic that motivates others to perform as well.”
That attitude also carried over to her academics at MEI.
“Her strong work ethic allows her to be successful in other areas too as she graduated as one of our top students, winning several scholarships in the process,” Thiessen said.
Her drive will help her make an impact at the college level.
“She will seek ways to make positive contributions to the team in whatever way she can by being a team player and never giving up,” Thiessen said. “Her basketball skills are at a level that will see her do well and she will work hard to improve so that she makes an impact at the college level.”
“It is a new change and a new experience,” Threlfall said, explaining that she is looking forward to playing with people who have a similar passion for the game.
“There is no one forcing them to do it—it is their choice to be there, and obviously everyone wants to succeed in the best way possible, so it will be cool to have everyone go in with the same mindset,” she added.
“I love a challenge and so it is going to be very fun.”
Threlfall attended try-outs at Trinity Western University, but the TWU coach wanted her to hone her skills at the college level first.
“Rather than be discouraged, Janelle remained focused on the end goal and was determined to find a place to play,” Thiessen explained.
“We discussed some local options and I offered to contact coaches in the area. I also suggested she sleep on it while we both prayed that God would show her what He wanted for her.”
God’s answer didn’t take long as Sowden contacted Thiessen the next day.
“Shane shared with me that not only had the TWU coach felt that Janelle would be a good fit for Briercrest, but that he was looking for a player like her to fill a position on his team,” Thiessen said. “It seemed like such an obvious answer to prayer and I immediately went to find Janelle to share the news.”
“It was a cool opportunity once it came,” Threlfall said.
The first-year Clipper plans to concentrate on English, history, and biblical courses while at Briercrest.
“At the end of that, I want to become a teacher, so I’m just going to hopefully get all the pre-requisite courses I can take before going to university.”