2012 Girls’ U17 And U19 Ontario Cup Preview
Published by Michael Henry on May 4, 2012
With the Ontario Basketball Association U17 and U19 Girls concluding their rep seasons this weekend, we decided to take a quick look at some of the top teams in both age groups and their impact players that have been getting the job done so far, and that are likely to step it up, with their seasons on the line.
Brantford will be the host city for the U17 Ontario Cup. Blessed Sacrament-Tatti has held down the Top ranking throughout the season and go into this tournament as the team to beat. Leading the way for the Yellow Jackets is Caroline Hummell (6’1″, F, St Christopher, 2014) from Brights Grove. She is a solid Forward with good ball handling skills. She has a knack for anticipating where the ball will be and uses her strength well to anticipate rebounds. She runs the floor well and usually sees extended minutes as the engine to her team’s success. The second ranked team at this age group is the Scarborough Blues-Persaud. While having a good deal of success under the 2011 U16 Ontario Basketball girls’ Coach of the Year, Ravi Persaud, the Blues have had their challenges trying to knock off the top ranked team. Hoping to make use of the services of their highly athletic Guard, Rebecca Quinn (5’8″, G, Havergal, 2013), whose speed, ball handling and passing abilities come in handy when she draws double teams, the Blues will be a force other teams in Division 1 sit up and take notice.
The top 3 ranked U19 rep teams are (in order) the Transway-Nurse, St Catharines Rebels and the Advantage Titans for their Ontario Cup Championships taking place in Kitchener/Waterloo. Hamilton, Ontario area’s Transway-Nurse is in the hunt for their whopping FIFTH straight OBA Provincial title. This group of 2014 girls are fresh off a 2-1 record at the Boo Williams – Nike Invitational in Hampton, Virginia two weeks ago. Kia Nurse (5’11″, G, Thomas More, 2014), will be very difficult to stop when she gets her game going. Nurse has a very good combination of athleticism and basketball I.Q and her ‘never quit’ attitude usually spells trouble for her competition. Long time Transway teammates Christina Buttenham (5’10″, G/F, St Marys, 2014) and Hilary Hanaka (5’9″, G, St Mary’s, 2014) round out a major reason why this title is very much within their grasp. Buttenham is a very good compliment to Nurse who employs the ‘drive and kickout’ as a part of her routine. Her solid outside shooting ability forces defences to scramble to rush out and defend her, and she has shown that she is quite capable of knocking down a 3-pointer or ball fake and drive to the basket for even more options. Hanaka ties it all together with good decision making with the ball and willingness to connect from long range.
The number 2 ranked team, the St Catharines Rebels were also in Hampton, Virginia, Boo Williams Tournament a couple weeks ago in the same tournament as Transway, although the two didn’t meet. The Rebels also went 2-1 in their Pool. This weekend, the Rebels will look to Guards Jelena Mamic (5’7″, G, St. Francis, 2013) and Bridget Atkinson (5’6″, G, Centennial, 2014) to set the pace and control the ball. Mamic’s is a quick Guard that positions herself well while pressuring the ball. On offence both her and Atkinson make good decisions on when to attack the basket and pass well. Both will look to make use of the inside presence of Nancy Kessler (6’3″, F, St. Francis, 2014). Kessler’s size is impressive. So is her good hands and footwork that seem to be improving all the time. Her upside generated some buzz among coaches in Virginia and she will need to be on point if the Rebels are to end up on top.
The Advantage Titans come in with the third ranking among Division 1 teams in this age group and can make a run if all of their parts play up to their potential. They have had some challenges throughout the season with the two top ranked teams, but shouldn’t be counted out. The Titans could also be riding a wave of momentum coming into these Finals after winning the Deep South Classic in Raleigh, North Carolina on April 22, 2012. There, they earned a perfect 4-0 record in Raleigh, with players like Eternati Willock (6’2″, F, Pope John Paul, 2015), Cheyenne Creighton (6’1″, F, Pickering HS, 2014), Lorraine Enabulele (6’2″, F, Notre Dame, 2014) and Chelayne Bailey (5’6″, G, Pickering HS, 2015) all as driving forces towards their success. Although the Titans bring a lot of youth to the table, they make up for it in being one of the taller teams in this age group. Along with their height, comes with good rebounding strong post play and a lot of blocked shots. Finding a groove with their shooter’s touch and being able to withstand the pressure from opposing pressure will play a vital role in their fortune this weekend.