Invermere's Kailey Colonna (left) is headed to playoffs along with fellow fifth-years Kaitlyn Widsten and Michelle Dimond.

Invermere's Kailey Colonna (left) is headed to playoffs along with fellow fifth-years Kaitlyn Widsten and Michelle Dimond.

Colonna headed to playoffs in final season

Invermere basketball product helps Thompson Rivers University to its first playoff run.

Kamloops —The Thompson Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack women’s basketball team have sent their fans home happy for the final time in 2011-12.  The WolfPack won their final home game of the Canada West Season and at the same time put themselves into the playoffs for the first time in their seven year CIS history.

Thompson Rivers downed the visiting University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat 80-42 at the Tournament Capital Centre February 11. The victory ups the WolfPack record to 8 and 9 while UBC Okanagan falls to 2 and 15.

WolfPack head coach Scott Reeves felt it was by no means an easy victory. “UBCO didn’t go away by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.  “They  wanted to fight and compete even though they weren’t going to the playoffs and they made it tough on us to score. We turned the ball over too many times.”

The WolfPack led throughout: up 16-9 after the first quarter and led 37-24 at the half.

The game marked the final appearance at home for Invermere’s own Kailey Colonna, who had six points and three rebounds.

“Today was surreal,” she explained afterwards. “ It didn’t seem like it was the last of everything. It didn’t sink in until the final buzzer sounded and we had the ceremony.  I am glad we are going to play at least another game.”

The Canada West quarterfinals will start February 23rd. TRU will play their first playoff games on the road.

Colonna is one of three fifth years who will graduate off the team at the end of the season, along with Michelle Dimond and Kaitlyn Widsten.

The trio have not only been slugging it out on the basketball court the last five years, but are also roommates.

Dimond, Widsten and Colonna all arrived at TRU in the fall of 2007 to vy for a spot on then-new-head coach Reeves’ club.

They were his first recruits.

“We didn’t talk to each other for the first few days of that training camp five years ago,” Colonna said. “ I think we were too overwhelmed. There were only eight of us and it was at a level we had never experienced before. Things were heated but we learned to love each other.”

All three of the girls will be graduating this spring as not only five year CIS players, but Academic All Canadians.