Smith says 2012-2013 Vikettes are 'exceptional.'
© Jocelyn Turner - Amherst Daily News
Alumni Vikette, Marlon Smith, plays defence against a current Vikette during last weekend’s alumni game at ARHS.
AMHERST – Marlon Smith has thrown down the gauntlet.
In her last year of eligibility to play basketball the Amherst native made the jump from the Mount Allison Mounties to the Crandall University Chargers where she has consistently inscribed her name upon the national ranking leaderboard.
She is currently ranked fourth nationally in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association rankings, averaging a little over 20 points per game. She is also ranked first in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association in points per game.
“This is the highest I’ve been ranked in the Canadian rankings,” said Smith. “I’ve been there (in fourth) pretty consistently.”
Smith attended Mount Allison University for the last few years, but this year she moved to Crandall University to pursue a bachelor degree in education, with the goal of being a schoolteacher in Amherst.
She attributes her fourth place national ranking to having more on-court responsibilities.
“At Crandall people looked at me to do the majority of our scoring and to be the primary leader for our team,” said the 23-year-old. “I don’t have as many people to lean on as I did in high school or at Mount A.
“I play more of a dominant role and have to step up every game,” she added. “There’s more pressure and it’s more nerve-wracking.”
Smith’s nerves were put to the test Nov. 28, during her first visit to Mount A as an Charger.
“It was one of best games of my life,” said Smith.
Crandall beat Mount A 73-59. It was the first time Crandall ever beat Mount Allison.
“That was nice because everyone in the stands was screaming trader at me and heckling me the entire game,” said Smith. “The football team had a lot to say. Every time I touched the ball they called me trader to try to throw me off my game but it turned out positive for us.”
Smith was double-teamed for most of the game but still managed to score 14 points.
Crandall teammate, Megan Plummer, who also used to play basketball for Mount Allison, scored 23 points.
“She ended up having a real good game, so it was nice to have somebody step up because Mount A knows how to guard me.”
Before Smith’s arrival at Crandall it wasn’t uncommon for the women Chargers to lose by 60 points or more.
“Crandall is in the rankings now and teams don’t walk into our gym thinking they’re going to stomp us,” said Smith. “Now we’re having under 8-point games in almost every game, and having under-10 point games against the best teams in the league. Games can go either way.”
Smith wasn’t even sure she was going to play basketball this year.
“I didn’t plan on playing this year but I couldn’t resist.”
As a Mountie, Smith practiced almost every night of the week.
“Here I get in the gym a couple nights a week because of the amount of the school hours I have. It doesn’t help my game, but school comes first.”
Smith was named Charger of the Month for the month of November.
“They’ve been really welcoming,” said Smith.
Crandall is a smaller university than Mount Allison.
“It’s a really tight community both in the education and athletic program. There’s a really good support system and you know everybody walking down the halls.”
Smith was an Athlete of the Year at Amherst Regional High School, and last weekend she played at the ARHS Vikettes alumni game.
She said it was great playing with her former teammates.
“I played with those same girls from Grade 5 to Grade 12, so I know exactly how they play, exactly how they shoot and where they’re going to be on the floor.”
She was also impressed with the 2012-2013 version of the Vikettes.
“The team they have now, the high school girls, are exceptional,” she said. “Their shooting level is way above what I was anticipating. They’re fast, they’re quick and they play well together. I was highly impressed.”