Katie Andrighetti knew it was going to be tough. She knew it was going to be one of the most challenging experiences of her life. The 21-year-old knew it was going to push her to her limits and beyond.
It was going to be scary. It was going to be humbling. There were going to be unknowns. There was going to be pressure. There were going to be ups and downs. It all added up to make a formidable challenge.
One thing there wasn’t going to be from Andrighetti — doubt.
Andrighetti also knew she had it in her to rise to the challenge. It’s why she decided to come back to play competitive basketball after four years, joining the Cambrian College women’s team for the 2012-13 season.
She had to do it.
“It was my last chance to play,” she said. “I knew I was up for the challenge. I want to leave it all out there on the court.”
After graduating from Lasalle Secondary School, Andrighetti attended Cambrian College to study nursing and she competed on the varsity women’s soccer team. At the time, Cambrian didn’t have a women’s basketball team, so Andrighetti played soccer.
Make no mistake, basketball was, and still is, Andrighetti’s sporting love. She played it year round growing up and all through high school. It is part of who she is today.
Last year, the Cambrian women’s basketball team competed as an exhibition club. Andrighetti didn’t play because she had committed herself to soccer, but the thought of being able to play high-level basketball was in Andrighetti’s mind constantly. She missed the game.
She wasn’t going to pass on basketball twice and when this season rolled around, Andrighetti made sure she was going to be back on the hard court at all costs. She finished her final season with the soccer team this fall, helping them into the playoffs.
Now, Andrighetti’s focus is back on basketball. It’s been a long time. Too long.
Andrighetti is facing the challenge and not backing down. The transition from soccer to basketball has her working harder than she has in the past four years.
She is loving where she is at — the right place and better late than never.
“Being part of this team challenges me daily mentally and physically,” she said. “I have become a more confident and humble person knowing I can compete at the varsity level, and be a successful student at the same time.
“The transition was tough at first, because I had lost some of the skill and endurance I had in high school. When I stepped back onto the court for our first game, I was nervous, but excited at the same time. It felt great to be playing again. I knew during our first game that I had made the right decision to play this year, regardless of the challenges.”
Andrighetti is hard to handle on the court for opponents. She uses her 5-foot-11 frame to her advantage. Mix in some good old-fashioned hustle, grit and sheer will and Andrighetti can be a dominating player on the court, despite the fact she was away from the game for so long.
Andrighetti charges up and down the court, and bowls over the competition to get rebounds or possession. Her skills may have taken some time to sharpen, but there is no denying her energy and desire is there in full force.
She can flat out impose her will on foes and run them over with authority to make a play on offence or defence.
“Fierce is the first word that comes to my mind,” said Bruce Cowtan, Cambrian women’s team head coach, when talking about Andrighetti. “She not only is a fierce competitor, but she brings consistency as well. Drive and determination fuels her to be the best that she can be. Second best isn’t her goal.”
Andrighetti makes no apologies for the type of competitor she is. She has taken on the role of being a leader for the team.
“I am a competitive person, and I play with a lot of passion,” she said. “I know that I have never been a leading scorer, but I feel I am a good leader, and I work hard defensively.
“On the court I try to make an impact by running the floor and hitting the glass, using my height to my advantage. I’m not afraid to take the ball to the hoop, and make smart shot selections. I like to get loud on the bench too, to pump up my teammates.”
Andrighetti is making the most of her last chance to play high level basketball and help Cambrian establish a quality women’s program for years to come.
“I am happy with the decision I made to comeback and play,” she said. “I can feel myself and our team, getting stronger and better. It hasn’t been easy at all.
“At this point, I don’t feel that our record reflects the potential damage our team can do, or the amount of hard work we put in. We have come a long way, but still have a lot to prove.”