Capilano's Sherrie Errico battles red tape and busted kneecap for one final shot

Blues hosting PacWest 2020 Basketball Championships today through Saturday

She’s sliced through layers of red tape, survived a nasty crash that shattered her kneecap, and now Sherrie Errico of the Capilano Blues women’s basketball team is getting one final shot at glory on her home court this weekend.

Capilano University is hosting the PacWest provincial championship tournament today through Saturday, with six men’s and six women’s teams battling for B.C. gold as well as coveted spots at the CCAA national championships.

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The Blues women, ranked No. 2 coming into the tournament, will be counting on North Vancouver’s Errico to help them make a run at gold in her fifth and final season of post-secondary ball. This fact alone may come as a bit of a surprise to some, given that Errico, a Windsor Secondary grad, was feted last year as a departing fifth-year senior.

“Senior night last year was so emotional,” Errico told the North Shore News with a chuckle. “I was like, this is my last time at Cap.”

Except it wasn’t. Errico started her post-secondary playing career at the University of Victoria, playing in four regular season games in her first year before an injury forced her off the court. She never played for the Vikes again, transferring to Capilano to play with the Blues at the start of the 2015-16 season. Four years later she finished up her fifth year. In the offseason, however, a thought occurred to her: could she get a year of eligibility back for that abbreviated first season? She was heading back to Capilano anyway to finish her last year of studies, so why not take one more shot at gold with the Blues?

Blues basketball
Reiko Ohama is another fifth-year player taking a last shot at gold with the Capilano Blues. photo Paul Yates/Vancouver Sports Pictures

She applied to the league, but there was a snag. The four regular season games from her first year could be wiped out given that she suffered a season-ending injury, but her name also appeared on a UVic scoresheet from a playoff game in 2015. Playing a playoff game would automatically burn that year of eligibility, but Errico was sure she hadn’t hit the floor for that game. That’s where the sleuthing really started. Errico tracked down a video recording of the game in question and, lo and behold, the tape showed that Errico did not enter the game. This piece of evidence was included with the information she submitted to the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association asking for an extra year of eligibility.

On the eve of the 2019-2020 season she got her answer: she was good to go. There was only one small problem. The day before she got the news, she smashed her kneecap in two while water skiing at her family cabin.

“In the moment it didn’t really hurt,” said Errico about the accident. “My ski fell off, so I swam back to it. I tried to put it back on and then as I was putting it on I thought, ‘I’d better not ski again.’ So then I got in the boat and I sat there for a bit and when I tried to get out of the boat I was like, ‘oh yeah – I can’t move my knee.’”

When news arrived about her basketball status the next day, Errico wasn’t sure what to feel.  

“When I found out I got my year back I was like, ‘well, I don’t know if I should be excited about getting my year back, or a little bit upset because now I can’t play.”

She stuck with her game plan, however, working through months of rehab throughout the fall term and Christmas break. She finally made it back on the floor last month.

“The first game I was extremely nervous,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh I don’t know if I’ve ever been this nervous.’ It was like, how is my knee going to be? Will I be able to play the same as I usually do? But then once I got out there, took a bit of rust off, it was just like back to normal. It just felt the same, which was amazing.”   

By early February Errico was back in business, amazingly earning PacWest athlete of the week honours in just her third weekend since returning from injury. She scored nine points in just nine minutes off the bench in an 81-54 win over Camosun College, and then followed that up one day later with 18 points, three assists and two steals in her first start of the season, another win over Camosun.

Errico said she’s almost back to 100 per cent with the provincial championships about to start.  

“I’m feeling good. Obviously there’s some pain and whatnot, but in the moment I don’t really notice it, which is nice.”

She’s provided a nice boost to a Capilano team that was strong already, led by fellow fifth-year guard Reiko Ohama.

“I’ve played with her since my first year at Cap and I’m so excited to finish our last year off together,” said Errico.

Forwards Kate Mallette, Mackenzie Smith and Emma Cunningham all contribute to the team’s balanced attack.

“We’re very even scoring for the most part, so we try to look for who is having their best night and try to focus on hitting that person and allowing them to do their thing,” said Errico, adding that she’s enjoying every moment of this “bonus year” she’s been given with the Blues. “At first when I broke my knee I was like, ugh, what a waste of getting my eligibility back. But then I tried to switch how I looked at it – at least I get to play some games with a group of girls that I love.”

Blues
CJ Campbell of the Capilano men's team drives to the hoop during a recent game. The Blues men will play a PacWest championship quarterfinal game tonight. photo Paul Yates/Vancouver Sports Pictures

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The Blues earned a quarterfinal bye with their second-place finish in the regular season. They’ll play the winner of No. 3 Douglas vs. No. 6 Okanagan in a semifinal Friday at 12:30 p.m. at Capilano’s Centre for Sport & Wellness (previously known as the Sportsplex). On the other side of the draw No. 4 Langara will play No. 5 Camosun today with the winner moving on to face No. 1 VIU in tomorrow’s other semifinal. The gold medal game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

VIU has already been given a berth at the national championship tournament as the host team, so there will be one more berth on the line for a PacWest team at this weekend’s tournament.

On the men’s side sixth-ranked Capilano will play third-seeded Okanagan tonight at 8 p.m. with the winner moving on to face No. 2 VIU in a semifinal tomorrow at 3 p.m. On the other side of the draw No. 4 Camosun will play No. 5 Langara today at 3 p.m. with the winner moving on to face No. 1 Douglas Friday at 8 p.m.

There are two berths to nationals available for PacWest men’s teams, so both the semifinal winners tomorrow will earn tickets to the Canadian championships. The PacWest men’s final is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday at Capilano.

Blues
Capilano's Martin Bogajev puts up a tough shot in traffic during a recent PacWest game. photo Paul Yates/Vancouver Sports Pictures

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