KELOWNA, B.C. - The Heat women's basketball team is happy to announce the signing of provincial champion Jaeli Ibbetson to its 2019 recruiting class as the Kelowna Secondary product has decided to play at home next season.
The 6'0" versatile forward was a member of the Kelowna Owls team that won the AAA Provincial Championship last season and is a key cog in keeping the Owls at or near the top of the provincial rankings so far this season.
A member of the Junior Heat program since 2013, Ibbetson is very familiar with the coaching staff in the UBCO program, and once her high school season wraps up is eager to get her post-secondary career started in the fall.
"I am super excited to get to continue playing the sport I love most at the university level, as well as the opportunity to play with some of my previous teammates and the chance to help build the program," explains Ibbetson.
In the classroom, Ibbetson will enter the sciences program with a pathway through the education program at UBCO. The honour student plans on becoming an elementary school teacher following her degree.
Academically at KSS, Ibbetson has had plenty of success as well, a member of the Principal's Select Honour Role since 2017; and in Grade 11 she was named the top French student.
With such a strong academic base and growing up in the Okanagan, it is no wonder that the sought after basketball recruit chose a top ranked university like UBC' Okanagan campus.
"I chose UBCO as it is close to home and family, has great academic programs, and provides me the opportunity to play university level basketball."
Last season on the Owls first-ever B.C. School Sports provincial senior AAA girls' championship team, Ibbetson averaged 18 points and nine boards a game as a grade 11 starter. This season as a senior, she has taken her game to another level, averaging 24 points and 12 boards a contest in her senior season. Her team has gone 21-4 so far in 2018-19 after they went an astonishing 27-2 last season, on their title run.
She was a Second Team All-Star at the provincial championship last year, while also being a second-team all-star at the UFV Cascades Classic Tournament. This season, she has been named a First Team All-Star at the 2019 Centennial Top 10 Tournament.
Varsity Letters also did a feature on Ibbetson and her teammate Kennedy Dickie prior to their senior season. For the full story click here.
Developing and refining her game in the summers with the Junior Heat club program, Ibbetson played on a very successful Junior Heat Club team in the PEBL (Prairie Elite Basketball) league this past summer. The team coached by Bobby Mitchell, Heat women's head coach finished in third place at Club Nationals.
"Jaeli brings toughness, intensity, and a high compete level to our team immediately," explains Mitchell.
"Jaeli, much like Kelsey [Falk, another Jr Heat member who has elected to play for UBCO next fall], absolutely hates losing and works very hard to prevent that. Her energy and effort on defence will be a big impact as she can defend multiple positions and does a great job rebounding the ball. Offensively she can score in many different ways, which causes problems for other teams, and I expect that to transfer over to the next level."
Post-secondary athletics is a familiar occurrence in the Ibbetson household as both her mother and father played during their university careers. Jaeli's mother, Lisa, was a member of SFU soccer team while her dad, Brady, played basketball at both Lethbridge and UBC.
Ibbetson is part of a strong recruiting class for Bobby Mitchell's Heat squad next fall. Ibbetson and fellow Junior Heat teammate Kelsey Falk both project as forwards, or possible wing players for the Heat, while Emily Instant at 6'3" will join the team as a post player. At the guard position, the Heat will see Tessa Burton, Jenessa Knapp, and Mira Witt on the court next fall as incoming first-year players.