NEWMARKET, Ont. – Haley Perlmutter’s multiple basketball team championships are a testament to her leadership skills and desire to excel every time she takes the court.
Her early activities also helped the 17-year-old Newmarket, Ont., resident. She was a competitive dancer for many years, and “the flexibility dance provided my legs, has especially helped my basketball efforts,” she said
Her basketball career began in the York North Basketball Association (YNBA) in 2007, where she quickly progressed to rep level with her team, Avengers.
“Avengers [also] played in U.S. tournaments,” Perlmutter said. “We ranked top five every year in Ontario.”
In May 2014, Avengers captured their first-ever YNBA Division 1 gold medal, at Ontario Basketball’s Ontario Cup in London, Ont., in the girls midget (under 15) category after the team’s 43-0 season.
In May 2015, Avengers won another gold medal. “To play with eight original teammates and share the victory with them meant a lot to me,” she recalled.
She also plays with the Newmarket High School Raiders. “Making the senior girls in Grade 9 and winning my first YRAA [York Region Athletic Association] title was special, and I learned a lot from my Grade 12 teammates,” she said.
Perlmutter had four games with 20 or more points in 2014, an accomplishment she has repeated several times.
Raiders won a fourth consecutive YRAA title last November, with Perlmutter scoring 20 points in the championship game. That 2015 breakout season included six games of 20 points or more. She was named to the YRAA girls high school all-star team by Tier 1 senior head coaches.
Perlmutter gained more confidence about her role on the Raiders in grades 10 and 11, “especially playing with four Avengers teammates. The recent championship made it four consecutive, and next year, we want that fifth straight title,” she said.
Last summer, Avengers played at Nike National tournaments in Chicago and Washington, D.C., where there were over 500 teams on 60 courts.
“The competitive level being very high pushed not only my team, but me, to step up,” Perlmutter said. “We had to play smart and hustle… When opposing teams put tough defenders on me, it pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I continued as I would in any other game.”
Perlmutter started as a shooting guard, “and I have learned over the years to make more passes and get my teams to work together as a unit. My main strengths are playing hard, keeping my energy level up, being aware and maintaining a positive attitude, no matter what the situation.”
Her father and coach, Gad Perlmutter, enjoys a close relationship with his daughter, but family connections are set aside when he coaches Raiders and Avengers squads.
“My father provides plenty of constructive criticism, telling me to do the little things that can make the difference in a game. Training has always been fun, and he never pressures or makes players nervous… He is supportive of everyone.”
Gad is proud of Haley’s academic achievements. “She has a 94 per cent course average, and made the principal’s honour roll list, a tremendous achievement, given that she studied for exams in December while travelling with Avengers to tournaments.”
He also commended Haley’s skills, her control of a game and her work ethic. “I’ve always told her that to be good in anything, you have to put in the time…and at practices, she’s first to arrive and last to leave.”
Avengers won gold in their first tournament this season (IEM Spartans) in the under-19 category.
“It’s great playing with older girls and teams we haven’t seen before,” she said. “I feel all the training I’ve been doing to this point has really helped improve my game. I’ve been seeking input of coaches with many years experience for feedback on how to improve my game. ”
Gad said Haley is now “focused on playing with her current team.” She looks forward to Avengers returning to the Nike Nationals in Chicago in July.