Justine Colley says East Preston 'huge' part of her success

A Saint Mary's University basketball star is being honoured by her home community of East Preston after her record-breaking season.

Saint Mary's University basketball star credits community for helping her reach her goals

Canada's Justine Colley, right, drives the ball past Colombia's Katherine Quimbaya during a women's basketball game at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct. 22, 2011. (Martin Mejia/AP)

A Saint Mary’s University basketball star is being honoured by her home community of East Preston after her record-breaking season.

Justine Colley has a lot to be proud of. Most recently, the 22-year-old Saint Mary's University Huskies guard set a new record as the leading scorer in Canadian women's university basketball.

“I think it hasn't fully sunk in yet. We still have a lot of the season left. We play playoffs next weekend and then hopefully if we are successful there, then we go on to play nationals,” she told CBC’s Information Morning.

“So we still have two or three weeks to play and I don't think it has settled in fully that I have done so well this season because we still have the team goals that we want to accomplish. So that’s my main focus right now, but I’m sure once April, May hits I’ll be able to look back and say, ‘Wow, I had a pretty amazing fifth and final year.”     

With offers from U.S. colleges as well as schools across Canada, Colley could have gone just about anywhere for school to play basketball. She chose to stay here because the community of East Preston has had a lot to do with her success.

“My community has played a huge role for me. We definitely have the sense that a community raises a child and my community has been there all the time whenever I’ve been fundraising, knocking on doors,” she said.

“They’ve definitely opened up with huge arms, they’ve welcomed me in. I’ve never had anyone in my community say no to me.”

Spiritual side 

She said basketball has been a part of her life from a very early age.

“I kind of grew up in the gym, always attending different games,” said Colley.

“It’s always just kind of been a part of me and ever since I could remember I’ve always been playing up a level, I always played against those that are older than me so I felt as if I was able to compete at higher levels and I’ve been able to do so up until [now].”

Colley will be one of the guest speakers at a fundraising dinner the East Preston Baptist United Church is hosting Saturday evening at 5 p.m. to help raise money for its new sanctuary.

“They’ve been really supportive financially but also spiritually throughout my church. We definitely know how to welcome people in and hopefully with this new sanctuary we’ll be able to welcome more people in with the newer, larger building,” she said.

Colley said she plans on taking a break from basketball and attempt to get a job in finance.

“I decided physically and also mentally I needed a little bit of a break,” she said.  

“I can always pick the ball back up later on in my life.”