Campus Life

Horns assistants Crozon, Bosch making most of 3x3 opportunity

Kacie Bosch (BA ’20) and Paige Crozon are seizing opportunity — and they’re taking University of Lethbridge Pronghorns fans and the rest of Canada along for the ride.

The two assistant coaches with the Horns women’s basketball program have a side hustle going as members of Canada’s 3x3 women’s basketball team. Recently, the duo, along with twins Michelle and Katherine Plouffe, secured their second straight FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Final title — this time in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. 

Kacie Bosch, left, and Paige Crozon, second from left, have joined forces with twins Katherine and Michelle Plouffe to form the world's top-ranked 3x3 women's basketball team.

For two players who put their respective five-on-five playing careers on pause before 3x3 emerged, the fact they are now traversing the world as the top-rated nation in the game with eyes squarely set on playing in next year’s Paris Olympics is not lost on them.

“When I finished playing five-on-five at the University of Lethbridge, I was kind of over basketball,” says Bosch, a local product out of Chinook High School who began her post-secondary career at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wa., before finishing at home with the Pronghorns. “The next step is usually to play professional five-on-five, but I knew the culture wouldn’t be the same as playing with my university teammates and I wasn’t super interested in doing that. When I got the opportunity to play 3x3, the different style, less pressure, shorter games, DJ’s blasting music the whole time — it was more of what I really wanted to do.”

The 3x3 game is electric, celebratory, approachable for fans and appealing to players who took up basketball playing essentially the same game as kids.

“I love the 3x3 environment — the live music that goes on, games that are only 10 minutes long and they’re often played in these amazing touristy locations. We play in the main square of these beautiful European cities or on the beach in Miami. I grew up playing on outdoor courts with a bunch of boys, and this definitely has a street ball feel to it,” says Crozon, originally from Humboldt, Sask., and a former American college player (University of Utah).

The duo is on hiatus from the national team right now, with their next tournament the FIBA 3x3 AmeriCup in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dec. 1-3. It’s another step towards the ultimate goal, qualifying for Paris. On what is a somewhat confusing and circuitous qualifying path, Canada still must earn its qualification to the Olympic field despite consecutive Women’s Series titles and the top ranking in the world.

“As long as we’re given the opportunity through these qualifying tournaments, I’m confident we’ll seize it,” says Bosch. “I have no doubt our team is going to be able to qualify.”

This 3x3 odyssey they’ve been on, as unexpected as it was when they both started, has proven to be life changing by expanding their world view and in turn impacting the lives of those around them. For Crozon, it has given her an opportunity to traverse the world with four-year-old daughter, Poppy, while Bosch has been able to integrate the overseas travel into her busy life as a Faculty of Education after-degree student.

They are both able to bring the lessons of their experiences into their lives back home.

“I do think playing 3x3 complements coaching the five-on-five game,” says Crozon. “In 3x3 you really need to find advantages by being able to read what defenses are doing and that’s helped me grow in my ability to read the game. I try to bring that back to the U of L and explain to the girls why we are running certain plays and certain actions against the defenses we’re seeing.”

And while Bosch has always juggled the life of a student-athlete, returning to classes Monday after being in Mongolia over the weekend has tested her resolve to the extreme.

“This last one was really tough, just because I missed a week and a half, but the professors at the University are super understanding and they really want you to be a well-rounded person because it helps with your education. I’ve had nothing but support from the University,” she says.

Following their December trip to Puerto Rico, Canada will turn its eye to the final Olympic qualifying tournaments in early 2024. Crozon says it’s exhilarating to be so close to achieving their dream.

“I don't think I could have ever dreamed of how it has gone — it has surpassed all my expectations and hopes for basketball, especially with the group we have,” she says. “We love being around one another and travelling with one another. I feel very fortunate to be part of the team and to have this opportunity.”

It’s an opportunity they’ve grabbed hold of and are looking to ride all the way to Paris.