Many athletes, by nature, like to win. For Hilary Goodine, it’s in her nature.
It started in grade five, when Goodine first started playing basketball. Even then she was a winner, as her mini team won the provincial championships. Back then, basketball wasn’t her top priority. In grade 11 at Tobique Valley High School, Goodine had to make a choice between two of her favourite sports, hockey and basketball. She was leaning more toward hockey, but her dad pushed her to play hoops.
In the ninth and tenth grade, Goodine’s team struggled.
“We were pretty bad,” said Goodine. “I didn’t like that.”
In grade 11 Goodine did something about it. She led the Tobique Valley Panthers all the way to the provincial championship game for AA women’s basketball. The Panthers were the underdogs, but Goodine helped get her team the gold medal over the Devon Park Eagles.
The next year she found herself in a similar position. During her last year of high school she made it to the finals again against Rothesay Netherwood.
“Gosh darn double-overtime,” said Goodine as she recollected the game. “It kept the fans on the edge of their seat.”
But Goodine was not able to get her second championship in a row. She said it was one of her hardest losses to take.
Goodine recorded 3,126 points during her high school basketball career. In the championship game against Rothesay alone she had 40 points.
When she was in the grade 11 her skills caught the eye of St. Thomas women’s basketball coach Fred Connors. After high school, Goodine decided to go to St. Thomas and lace up her kicks for the Tommies. STU had won the ACAA conference championship that year and gotten fourth at nationals. Goodine says she didn’t even know they were that good when she agreed to go.
“Honestly when I came here, I don’t think I even watched one of their basketball games,” said Goodine.
As a rookie, her and the Tommies won their conference championship. Then at nationals, the team won bronze. In her second year, they won the conference championship again, and got fourth at nationals. This season, they won another conference championship and this time excelled at nationals.
The Tommies were just a few points away from the championship, but instead got silver when they lost in the finals.
Out of all her wins, the victory to get into the national championship game is her favourite.
“Beating Algonquin in semis, that was the best feeling ever,” said Goodine. “It was the best feeling of our lives, and then the toughest loss, in 24 hours.”
She found that one of the major factors her success hasn’t been any specific skill, but more the hard work she puts in.
“You just got to play tough. You can’t back off,” said Goodine.
Her competitive nature extends outside of basketball.
“If we’re doing something in class, like a race in class, I’m like, ‘Come on guys, we have to win!’ And I know it’s bad but I just like winning.”
She even gets competitive when she plays Roll up the Rim.
Goodine has become a star in her hometown of Plaster Rock, N.B. During this year’s CCAA national tournament, the Plaster Rock Legion set up a projector and streamed the game. People from the community flocked out to see their hometown hero.
Even with all the support and consistent success, she doesn’t find there is any extra pressure on her to win. Instead she is focusing on one of the few things she has yet to achieve in her basketball career: a national championship.
“I think we can do it,” said Goodine.