The last hurrah of Lauren Furlong

A heartfelt buzzing beating goodbye to Mt. A Women’s Basketball

“Whether it be in Saint John or in Montréal, I can always count on my parents and sister to be cheering me on and Dad to be ringing his cowbell,” remarks fourth-year captain Lauren Furlong of the Mt. A Mounties women’s varsity basketball team. From Amherst, Nova Scotia, Furlong did not travel so far away from home to attend post-secondary school and has embraced her roots, which derive from the small community across the border overflowing with love and support.


Furlong’s basketball journey began in grade two when she was asked to join a short-handed girls team. Now, as a prominent statistical and off-court leader, the soon-to-be graduate has given all she possibly could to the Mounties basketball program. This past season alone, Furlong led her squad in three-pointers (36.6 %) and free throw percentage (85.7 %), developing as a shooting threat during the 2023–24 season.


The 5’7” guard insisted upon the team’s overall success. Notably, over the past two seasons, the team has achieved the best statistical scores in its history. Last year, the ladies finished with a 16–2 record, and have been ranked number one in the country for a long time. After losing by 20 points in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) finals and missing out on an opportunity to go to the National tournament, Furlong remembers how that day “hurt more than ever.”


Aspiring for a better outcome this year, Furlong “was determined to not let that happen again.” The team put together an impressive 14–4 record, ending up second in the country with a berth in the semi-finals. “Going into playoff weekend, I had a lot of nerves… not wanting to repeat what had happened the past season.” Tragically, the University of King’s College upset the Mounties in a 73–62 outcome. Still, Furlong demonstrated why head coach Thomas Skabar named her a captain for this season: “I remember saying to my teammates, ‘heads up.’ I would not be crying on the floor because we still had so much to be proud of.”

Mountie Pride, the athletic department’s motto, is founded upon pride in the school’s community, the fans, teammates, coaches, the program itself, and “most importantly pride in yourself.” In a tear-jerking response, Furlong recalls how “I knew we lost, I knew it sucked, I knew we were sad, mad, frustrated, upset, and in some ways it felt like the worst thing in the world. But I also knew that we had way too much to be proud of and to take pride in that one game.”


The Mounties fell short of expectations for the season, but their future is bright. Newly appointed head coach Thomas Skabar has instilled a positive, high-energy culture in tandem with his “dynamic duo” partner, Keira Dyck, a former teammate of Furlong’s.


For the years to come, Furlong’s legacy will be remembered in garnet and gold, as Skabar beautifully described in his farewell speech to his graduating players during the Women’s Basketball Senior’s Night at the McCormack Gymnasium on February 18, 2024. Furlong appointed rookie Haley Hemphill as someone who plays a similar style of game. Their unmatched competitive edges go hand-in-hand, but Furlong applauds Hemphill’s extraordinary defence thanks to her wingspan and vertical. Surely, Hemphill will evolve into a force to be reckoned with over the next three years in the ACAA.


Thinking further about her relationships built because of basketball, one has to look no further than Furlong’s roommate and best friend, Hilary Shea, a fellow graduating student. “She is the meaning of a team player and I am so grateful basketball brought me such a close friendship… I only wish we had more time to play together.” 


While the inseparable teammates say goodbye to basketball at Mt. A, Furlong knows this is not the end of their time sharing a court together: “we’ll be playing in a women’s league together and maybe a retirement league too! Who knows!”


The end of a wonderfully scripted story comes to an end at Mt. A for Lauren Furlong, who has fearlessly led the garnet and gold to great successes in sport and, more importantly, in life during her time in small-town Sackville, New Brunswick.

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