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St Mary’s Tip-Off Classic (2011) Tournament Standouts



On September 30, 2011 through to October 2, 2011, the St. Mary Crusaders hosted their 2011 Tip-Off Classic Tournament. The games took place in the perennial hotbed of girls’ basketball, Hamilton, Ontario amongst the host St. Mary and St Thomas More.
I would like to thank St Mary Coach Wesolowski for his hospitality and for assembling an extremely strong field, represented by 16 teams from around the Southern Ontario region and from Montreal.

The Sunday morning semi-finals, made up of each of the 4 Division winners saw St Mary’s beat St Laurent (Montréal) and St Thomas More defeat Pope John Paul II (London). The host St Mary Crusaders won the final over their rivals St Thomas More.

And now for some of the tournament’s standouts:

Christina Buttenham (5’11”, G/F, St Mary, 2014)
Buttenham is a very good Shooting Forward that if left alone, will drain an open look regularly from 15 feet and beyond. I mention open look because throughout the tournament, she was doing a very good job of working off of screens and constantly moving to get open, demonstrating that she was putting in a lot of work away from the ball. But, her hot shooting wasn’t only limited to open looks. There were more than one occasion where she would knock down 3-pointers in front of forwards 5 or so inches taller than her, that were assigned to the perimeter, specifically to try to alter her shot. Once the potency of her shot was established through various portions of games, this tourney MVP had the I.Q. to then effectively use a well sold shot fake to get past the momentum of defenders going all out to contest her shot. She also handled partial Guard duties and did a good job doing so. On defense, her height and reach earned her quite a few blocks. An area for her to keep an eye on is her defense against creative opponents that are quick off the dribble. I noticed a couple times that her footwork let her down when trying to keep driving players in front of her. While this only happened infrequently, it would be interesting to see if this persists.

Danielle Carriere (5’8″, G, Pope John Paul, 2012)
Danielle Carriere is a shooter. And based on the way she plays, she will let everyone in the gym know that by halftime. She will drive and pull up from five feet away from the basket and in her very next open look, she will shoot from five feet beyond the arc. Bottom line is Danielle has range. She has a very fluid looking, high arcing shot that looks effortless during execution. Even during those spurts where her shot wasn’t dropping, as any good shooter is instructed to do, she kept on taking good looks at the basket and eventually got back on track. Besides how well she shoots after being setup by her sister Katelyn, this fifth year returnee’s offense is complimented by how well she runs the floor during fast breaks and how much she is willing to sacrifice her body while driving to the basket as well as willing to stand in and take a charge on defense.

Katelyn Carriere (5’9″, G, Pope John Paul, 2012)
Katelyn is a combo guard that does as good a job assessing the opposing defense which resulted in her taking care of the ball and minimizing turnovers. She is very much in charge of the Pope John Paul offense and takes charge of her team as such. She is unselfish with the ball whether headmaning the ball or looking to create shots for her teammates, including her sister Danielle. And like Danielle, Katelyn has a really nice looking shot that was successfully used often enough to keep the defense guessing. One play in particular saw her use a shift in speed, fully equipped with a head and off hand fake that froze a defender in her tracks, as Danielle sped up to blow by her for the easy lay-in.

Taijah Campbell (6’4″, F, Pickering, 2012)
Campbell is a long Forward with a long reach that has a nose for where loose balls will be going. She was successful when she did get the ball and had her back to the basket, by using moves that sealed out her defender. I would have liked to have seen her be more aggressive within her team’s offense as at times it looked as though her team was looking for an on court leader to rally around. Her defensive skills are certainly up to par as she was assigned a prominent defensive role within her team’s full court press where her footwork served her well. Campbell did well staying in front of shorter, quick opponents playing the 3-4 position and had a couple of blocks as a reward. Despite her great use of her size, gaining some additional strength may be required to take her game to the next level.

Kia Nurse (5’10”, G, St. Thomas More, 2014)
Throughout the tournament, this Combo Guard left her mark as one of the premiere 2014 Guards. Nurse has very good size that almost welcomes contact with consistently successful results when she makes her mind up to drive to the basket. She is a feisty player that is always looking to run the floor and seems to have an engine that just won’t quit. In transition, she has a very good instinct on exactly when to leak out for outlet passes then its off to the races where sÙÝhe has exceptional speed. She exhibits good ball control and on fast breaks and consistently took proper angles when headed to the basket for a completion or at least, draw a foul. When running the offense, she exhibited calm under the pressure of several double teams where her instincts led her to unselfishly make passes to find open teammates, cutting or stationary. She is a vocal leader that looks to get the best out of her team by word and deed. Her toughness shouldn’t be questioned as, she consistently played with the hustle and passion that coaches look for from their players.

Sami Hill (5’9″, G, Eastern Commerce, 2012)
Hill was really a game changer whenever she was on the floor. Whether that meant being assigned the task of covering the opposing team’s most influential player, stretching the defense with her outside shooting or turning up the tempo of the game by injecting her speed. When Hill makes up her mind and takes that first step as she drives towards the basket, there weren’t many that were able to keep up with her.

Danielle Boiago (5’8″, G, St Thomas More, 2012)
Boiago is a Point Guard that loves the open floor and completes fast breaks consistently and with ease. Her speed, that complimented her heads up style of play, was certainly an asset throughout the tournament. She has a mid range jumper that she found some success with and tended to react quickly to different looks that were presented by the defense. On the defensive end Boiago really had her hands full trying to stop a skilled opposing Guard as her lateral movement abilities came into question. Also, I was hoping that she would have taken more charge over her team during the tournament finals, when Kia Nurse was out of the lineup, to see how her teammates would respond to her and to know that she has it in her to be a take charge, team leader.

Lindsay Lessard (6’0″, F, Waterloo CI, 2012)
Lessard reads defenses well and makes smart decisions with the ball. Accurate passes and nicely completed drives to the basket demonstrate her potential for playing the guard position well. She would even occasionally exploit a size advantage and use her bigger frame to post up and take advantage using smooth finishing moves. From time to time she had her long range jumper going, using good form this weekend which further added to her overall offensive skill-set. I did notice in one game in particular that a defensive adjustment to an opposing player that was physical in nature and it practically shut down an otherwise promising start. Being able to overcome such an adversity, and being able to create her own shot in the face of more skilled competition is something that bodes well towards her playing at a high level.

Jenna Bugiardini (5’11”, F, St Mary, 2012)
Bugiardini had her long range shooting going on this weekend. Shot after shot, contested or not, time and time again, the whole of the St Mary offense was able to benefit from the way the defense had to respect her shot. Despite the occasional drives to the basket, it was quite obvious that her role was a perimeter minded shooter that would engage her teammates if a good look didn’t present itself. On defense I would like to see her leaping ability increased in order better contend shots put up by opposing Shooting Forwards that she may be guarding.

Tamara Farquhar (6’0″, F, Saint Laurent, 2015)
It isn’t too common to see a player with such a build, so young, but Farquhar possesses it and the strength one would expect that goes along with it. And much to her credit, she plays to her strength (no pun intended). In the paint this last weekend she really took ownership of the middle on both ends of the floor. She is a tough player that plays physical, which is highlighted in the rebounding portion of her game. She is more than capable of playing through contact and shows signs of a good touch when finishing around the basket. Her game is raw, and at times comes across as unpolished, but with youth very much on her side she certainly has time to refine a game that would minimize fouls through a focus on footwork and add to her post up moves for added success.

Carly Files (5’5″, G, Bishop Tonnos, 2012)
Files showed a nice looking shot from both up close and long distance. But along with her shot she is a good passer, creating looks for her teammates by virtue of some of the double teams she drew due to the success she was having. Her short quick steps were effective in gaining speed in transition, and her instincts led to wise choices with the ball. It was refreshing to see Files really take the timeout to mentor her young squad that was filled with freshmen and sophomores. During on-court huddles and bench discussions, she broke down various scenarios and appeared to have received positive responses from them.

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