Four players on the McMaster Marauders women’s basketball national championship team are from Hamilton. Two of those are sisters who went from young fans at McMaster’s Burridge gym to the best in the country.
“That was Julia Hanaka and older sister will set it up at the top. Here’s Hilary and finishes on the drive through the lane.”
Hilary and Julia Hanaka just won the USports gold medal with McMaster and the Hamilton born sisters remember fondly their first time on the basketball court together.
“Our first actual game together was Blessed Sacrament back in the day, we had pink pig tails.” remembers Hilary.
“Of course we had the light up shoes. We would always be stepping on our feet laughing.” said Julia.
Hilary and Julia went to watch Marauders Basketball games at Burridge gym as kids.
“Growing up being here in this gym was like going to an NBA game for me I remember being in awe of all these girls.” said Hilary.
Hilary and Julia played three seasons together at St. Mary’s High School in Hamilton, winning three provincial crowns together. Hilary originally committed to the University of Vermont but decided to return home to McMaster and talked Julia into playing for the Marauders.
“I can play with my best friend, why would I not pick that? Right. She gave me a little extra convincing. She always knows what’s right so i’m glad I listened to her.” said Julia.
That decision to play together at McMaster has made lasting memories.
“We ran into each other’s arms and just explained to each other how proud we are of each other. It’s a storybook ending for me.” said Julia.
Hilary will hang up the shoes and move on to teachers college, while Julia will try to assume the captains role left by her older sister next season.