There’s no question that the hardcourt is where Neelin’s Paige Thomson feels most comfortable.
The size of that court, however, is up for debate.
Thomson, one of the top multisport athletes in the city’s high school ranks, has excelled at both volleyball and basketball this season as a member of the Spartans.
The 6-foot-1, Grade 11 student believes some of her success in each sport can be directly attributed to the work she’s put in on the court in the other discipline.
"Basketball helps me with my cardio and to get physically stronger as an athlete, where volleyball you focus more on the strategic aspect of the game and your vertical," Thomson said. "The combination is only going to make me an all around better athlete in the end."
While basketball and volleyball might be her specialties, Thomson might also have a future in the poker world, as she isn’t prepared to say if she is leaning toward either sport as universities start to come calling.
"I love basketball and volleyball the same amount," Thomson said. "If I got a scholarship offer for volleyball I would consider it and if I got one in basketball I would also consider it. At this point, I’m not sure what I want to do because I love both sports so much, and it’s going to be hard to choose which way to go."
While her mother and father both played basketball at Brandon University, her sister, Mary, chose to play volleyball this season with the Bobcats.
Recently, Paige Thomson helped lead Neelin to the school’s first ever provincial AAAA varsity girls high school volleyball title in Winnipeg, where she was named the Spartans’ player of the match in the final while playing middle. The championship run not only strengthened her stock as a great player, but has also proven her to be a winner.
"It’s something that I’m really proud of and I left my heart on that court," Thomson said.
She’s also quick to credit her teammates for her meteoric rise.
"When you have strong athletes to play with it makes for better competition and puts you at a better level," Thomson said. "We push each other to our limits and try to get the best out of each other."
This year, a second-degree sprain of her medial collateral ligament slowed her a little leading into the high school basketball season, but the knee injury might have also been a blessing in disguise as it has only strengthened her resolve to compete.
"I was a little worried when I heard that (diagnosis), but I knew if I worked hard, I’d be back on the court and that’s always were I want to be," Thomson said.
Now, the Spartans guard has set a goal of playing for Manitoba in the 2013 Canada Summer Games, but understands that she can’t afford to take anything for granted.
"I’ve got my eye on (the Canada Games), but I know if I’m going to be there that I’m going to have to push myself every single day and make sure I’m the best athlete I can be to perform at that level," she said.
And it’s that attitude that her father, Don, who doubles as her basketball coach at Neelin, is most proud of.
"She has a really good work ethic and she gives everything she has, so that’s all you can ask," he said. "The important thing is that she works hard in both games to get better every day."