On May 12, 2013, Hamilton Transway defeated the Brampton Warriors by a score of 88-82 to claim the 2013 JUEL Championship title.
“It’s really tough to put in words. It’s really being a tough JUEL season with great performances all over the place. For us to finish off as [playoff] champions…I couldn’t be happier,” said Transway Head Coach, Nate McKibbon.
The game was very close and competitive and saw both teams doing whatever it took to gain the upper hand in the fast paced First Half. Out of the gate, the Warriors managed the biggest lead of the game, which was only 9 points. After that Brampton First Quarter lead, Transway started to chip away at the lead, to the point where both teams went into their locker rooms at Halftime, tied at 44.
Being in tight situations in the past, Transway has weathered many storms. With that experience, there was an underlying belief that if they could just maintain their work ethic, they had enough tools including the will to win, that would help them secure a victory.
“We had a belief as a coaching staff that they would find a way to win,” said McKibbon.
“To Brampton’s credit, nothing was really working for us on a consistent basis. We were just throwing stuff against the wall and hoping something would stick. Switching up defenses and putting a little more pressure more in the Half-Court, then in the Full Court, sort of got Them on their heels a bit and allowed us to get a bit of a lead and then just hang on. By the end we were just hanging on.”
The previous meeting between these two teams had Brampton on the winning end of the decision, with a one point win. That Transway loss was their first in over two seasons, so payback, along with the Title was on Hamilton’s mind.
This game featured the top two Guards in the class of 2014 in Kia Nurse (5’11’, G, Transway) and Shay Colley (5’9′ G, Brampton Warriors). In this big game, neither disappointed, as both put on gutsy performances looking to propel their team to the prize that could only be had by one squad.
But in a game with high calibre rosters, it was a given that the eventual winner would Be made up of the team with the best collective effort.
Besides Nurse’s 21 Points and 8 Rebounds, Point Guard Hilary Hanaka (5’9″, G, Transway, 2014) contributed in a major way for the Champs scoring 18 Points and adding 5 Assists. Also adding to their point total for Transway was Christina Buttenham (5’11”, Wing, 2014) who scored 16 Points and had 8 Rebounds, while Amira Gianattasio (5’5″, Guard, 2014) netted 13.
For the Warriors Cassandra Edwards (5’11”, F, 2013) gave it her all, really rising to the occasion. Edwards was the only player to double-double in the game, scoring 21 Points and collecting 11 rebounds. Other players stepping it up for Brampton were Shantelle Valentine (6’2″, P, 2014) who scored 19 Points and had 6 Rebounds, Kayla Davis (5’7″, G, 2013) who scored 12 points and had 8 rebounds. These were all in addition to the 15 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and game high 4 steals by Colley, all in the effort that came up just short.
With the whirlwind of a season now complete, some might already say that Transway are already the favourites. They are only losing one player due to graduation. But, returning a practically complete Championship team is secondary to the overall Coaching goal of McKibbon.
“What’s in store for next year is the same as what’s in store for every year. Always try to get better as individual players, always try to get better as a team. I know we’re talking after a Championship, but if these guys finish the year: not as better players, not as a better team, we’ve failed them.”
This year’s championship Final took place at Western University in London, Ontario and marked the 6th Provincial Rep Championship in a row for this collection of Transway girls.