JUEL Watch – Jan 18, 2013
Published by Michael Henry on January 18, 2013
On the eve of the official JUEL exhibition season, we have managed to touch base with a few more teams as they prepare for another exciting season.
Here’s a quick update of the teams we touched base with, to see how their preparations have been going so far, and a peak at their expectations.
HAMILTON FOX TROTTERS
According to Head Coach, Dave Picton, the Fox Trotters are coming off a fantastic training camp. The focus of their preparations this year was to solidify the collective of girls’ both on and off the court. The new JUEL franchise focused on team building, conditioning and running their sets during their camp. They have decided to stay away from exhibition games, besides those scheduled for JUEL kick-off weekend, and instead decided to opt for controlled inter-squad scrimmages.
Picton and Assistant Coach, Willy Henschel has been comfortable with the way things have been coming along for the team, and are confident they are ready to do battle with the rest of the Ontario’s best.
This team is made up of the core of last year’s U19, Ontario Cup Bronze Medal winning St Catharine Rebels, and a good number of last year’s Blessed Sacrament JUEL team and boast a solid roster. They should be firing on all cylinders and have the depth to play at the very high level they have been accustomed to. They list a total of 8 players that played at any of the various levels of OFSAA (Ontario High School) Championships this past November.
The Warriors also opted to not really play any exhibition games apart from the one scrimmage they had with the Tri-County Thunder. Head Coach Hugh Riley was pleased to announce that his team has really improved compared to last year’s edition. They bring back 7 core girls from last year and have added 4 more that will be key contributors including two that are listed at 6’2”.
Coach Riley has kept the Warriors motivated knowing that teams will be gunning for his team. And with 3 players in his charge that had been invited to the Junior National Assessment Camp in late December, there’s little wonder as to why. He and his staff have been taking a ‘no-time off’ mentality to their preparations, staying motivated and practicing hard.
The JUEL schedule will prove to be a great challenge for this year’s Blessed Sacrament team, who have an uphill battle to climb in both the size department and age. With only two players on their roster 6’0” or taller, their roster is also made up of twelve players in Grade 11 and only one in Grade 12+.
Regardless, the coaching staff made up of Head Coach, Tally Tatti and his Assistant, Tony Mosca appear to have a team that will not roll over and die. That fight is proven to be within a team that is coming off of a 2012 OBA Season that saw them win the Division 1, U17 Ontario Cup, playing in an older age group.
As a JUEL team thus far, they have 3 exhibition victories to their credit against GTA West, KW Lightning and Windsor, before dropping their tilt against St Clair.
A good training camp can do wonders for optimism and momentum.
Kingston Impact Head Coach Paul Coulter appears to be proof of that. Excited about the athleticism and hard work his team has shown early on, he is hopeful that his returnees are poised to turn some heads and rise up the standings.
Although the Impact struggled last year, Coulter will look to a core group of seven players back from last year’s JUEL experience to mesh well with first year players at both the Post and Guard positions.
His preparations have been focused on assessing what his team will bring to the table in terms of cohesion and the attention to detail they will need to bring to each practice, which in turn will translate to their games. He has been encouraged by how vocal his team has been on defense and is looking forward to fiery energy brought to every game.
In an exhibition game against the Ottawa Nationals, the Impact dropped a narrow 3-pt loss, but Coach Coulter found plenty to remain positive about.
Other JUEL Notes…
St Clair JUEL, has remained busy in preseason action with a number of recent exhibition games. On January 9, they hooked up with the London Ramblers and and dropped a 51-43 decision to the London Ramblers. The sting of a loss didn’t last long as later on in the week, they took two straight. On January 12, St Clair defeated the Windsor Valiants team by a score 54-37. Later on the same day, they defeated Blessed Sacrament 77-48.