Joanne Sargent was 12 years old when she moved to Salmon Arm. It was here that under Al Bianco’s direction her love for basketball flourished. (Submitted photo)

Salmon Arm basketball star to be inducted into national hall of fame

One of Sargent’s many achievements is holding the Olympic record for most assists for 20 years

A basketball star who found her fire for the game as a high school student in Salmon Arm has been recognized for her contribution to the sport on a national level.

Joanne Sargent, who already holds a place in the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame (1987), the UBC Sports Hall of Fame (1995), the Basketball BC Hall of Fame (2005) and the BC Sports Hall of Fame (2014), learned in April that she would be one of six others inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.

Read more: Joining BC Hall of Fame

Read more: Keeping the legacy alive

“I was kind of awestruck I think a little bit. It was just that feeling of ‘wow.’ It’s a great honour,” said Sargent. “To me it’s a very big recognition to be recognized as part of the Canadian basketball community that actually influenced other people – the game.”

Once the news of her induction got out, friends, family and past players got in touch to congratulate her on the honour.

“I had lots of friends contact me after and go ‘it’s about time’ and all this stuff but I never felt that, that’s not really why I played,” said Sargent “It just came as a result of just being the kind of player I was and the kind of person that I was.”

Born in McBride, B.C., Sargent was raised in Terrace until moving to Salmon Arm at age 12. Once here she fell in love with the game, a great time to do so since Salmon Arm was a hotbed for girl’s basketball at that point.

“I just loved it. First of all it was the game over all others that for whatever reason grabbed me. Salmon Arm was very well known for basketball at that time,” said Sargent. “It was kind of an honour to play with the Jewels, to make the Jewels, specifically basketball at that time.”

After playing with the Jewels, Sargent went on to play for the UBC Thunderbirds women’s basketball team from 1968 to 1973. During that time, Sargent led the Thunderbirds to three Canadian University Championships in 1970, 1972 and 1973.

Sargent also had a six-year senior national team career with Team Canada from 1970 to 1976. She represented Canada at the Pan American Games in 1971 and 1975 when the games were held in Cali, Colombia and Mexico City, Mexico.

She also captained the first ever women’s basketball team to compete in the Olympics at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. It was here, in a game against Czechoslovakia, Sargent recorded 14 assists – an Olympic record which would stand for the next 20 years.

“We were ranked about tenth in the world at that time and we were playing the top five teams so we were not able to compete well against them,” said Sargent. “For me the fact that I had a record in assists in a game where we were very much outplayed, that to me was kind of a nice feeling.”

Read more: All Native Basketball Tournament Day One Recap

Read more: High school basketball player sinks 96 points to smash B.C. record

More than a nice feeling was the first time she stepped into the court at the 1976 Olympic games.

“It was just such a thrill playing in front of the Canadian crowds and walking into the Olympic stadium, it was just, chills. Chill-making right there,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion from the memory.

Although the honour is of a national scale, Sargent puts the onus of her achievements to Salmon Arm. Specifically her high school coach, Al Bianco.

“I think his belief in me started it all, to tell you the truth. Because I was a bit out of control when I first started and he just kind of let me race around and figure it out for myself.”

A date for Sargent’s official induction has not been set yet.


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Joanne Sargent captained the first ever women’s basketball team to compete in the Olympics at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. (Photo submitted) Joanne Sargent. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

Okanagan and Shuswap blossom at Communities in Bloom awards

District of Sicamous, City of Armstrong double winners at B.C. awards gala; Lumby also a winner

Internet speed testing implemented in the CSRD

Test results will be tracked to find areas where improvement is needed.

Sicamous Eagles lose two on the road

Despite late offensive surges, the Sicamous squad came up short in Spokane and the Beaver Valley.

What financial commitments do you want from candidates running for prime minister?

As the federal election quickly approaches, the Observer took to the streets… Continue reading

In photos: Magician entertains in downtown Salmon Arm

Children of Salmon Arm were treated to the wonders of magician Leif… Continue reading

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

Former South Okanagan resident found dead in Alberta

Candace Deleeuw was reported missing Sept. 16

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Latimer surveyed much of Summerland

Civil engineer was also responsible of community’s irrigation system

Caught on Camera: Boat catches fire at Okanagan marina

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Most Read